Note: This article contains graphic content and coarse language that may be offensive to some readers.
In 2014, Bethany Greenway, a native of Austin, Texas, became pregnant with her second child.
During her pregnancy, Greenway noticed a dark spot developing on her forehead. Her dermatologist chalked it up to a side effect of her being pregnant.
Greenway told Dearly:
“I just assumed it was for the pregnancy. So many other moms get discoloration on their faces from pregnancy.”
It is so common during pregnancy that melasma is sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.” Hormones seem to trigger melasma.
Greenway welcomed baby number two into the world and didn’t give her dark spot a second thought.
Then a mole appeared where the dark spot used to be and the mom of two began experiencing pain in the same area. Given the fact that both her mom and her grandma were once diagnosed with skin cancer, she decided to get the mole checked out.Facebook
Sure enough, Greenway had melanoma, stage 3a Desmoplastic melanoma to be exact. She explained to Dearly that the diagnosis wasn’t all that surprising:
“I went to the dermatologist and she referred me to a plastic surgeon for a biopsy after my liver spot developed a mole. My mother was diagnosed with early stage melanoma at my age. Also, I have red hair and freckles. I’m genetically predisposed to grow melanoma. Growing up, I had a bunch of nasty sunburns, at least one or two every summer.”
Thankfully, the cancer had no effect on her second pregnancy.
Since her diagnosis, Greenway has used her Facebook to document her battle with cancer, calling it “ugly.”Facebook
Over the past year and a half, Greenway had the mole removed and had to endure the long recovery that comes after getting a skin graft.
n October 2016, she began six infusions of immunotherapy called Yervoy and further endured 30 rounds of radiation over a six week period.Facebook
Although the radiation and other procedures she underwent left her one saliva gland permanently damaged, her hairline altered, and without the muscle and eyebrow on the left side of her face, Greenway is now considered NED (no evidence of disease.)
As My San Antonio reports, despite being NED, Greenway isn’t technically in remission and won’t be for the next 10 years.Facebook
According to SkinCancer.org, melanoma kills one person every 54 minutes. An estimated 87,000 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in America this year.
The website suggests:
[The] regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
Greenway’s relationship with the sun has changed, and she is hoping that by sharing her story, others won’t have to suffer the same fate she did.Facebook
She explained to Dearly:
“I’ve become more aware of the sun. As an adult, I’ve always been careful about my sun exposure. It’s harder going to the pool and seeing people tan and kids with sunburns.”
The mom of two has since set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for her medical expenses.
(Warning: Offensive language)
Skin cancer is ugly. Fuck the sun, fuck my delicate skin. Fuck sunscreen.Yes you heard me, sunscreen works yah, it does…
As Greenway told the Daily Mail, her struggle wasn’t all for nothing — it was all worth it if her story helps just one person take better care of themselves while exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.
Even more, her battle was a “small price to pay to see [her] girls grow up.”
Editor’s Note: This article was updated after publication.