News & Press
End of Year Patient Story: Teddi Mellencamp
“The mole on my back had been there for years.
Did I notice it had changed? Yes. And did part of my brain try to tell me I should probably get it checked out? Also, yes. But with anxiety like mine, you’ll make any excuse to avoid the doctor.
And then one afternoon while working out with my friend, Kyle Richards, she insisted I go get it looked at. Immediately. Like, right then. And so I was ushered into her car and driven to a dermatologist, where a biopsy was immediately taken.
It was melanoma.
As somebody who isn’t shy to admit that sun bathing was a frequent thing as a teen, I was still in shock. Skin cancer wasn’t something that ran in my family. And it wasn’t like I was constantly tanning anymore. I was a healthy adult who took care of myself and my skin — how was this possible?
Soon you learn that the damage we do to our skin when we’re younger can catch up to us. After that, I thought, “Okay, great. That’s over.” A three-month checkup had me looking good. So, of course, my brain told me, “There’s no need to get any more checkups. You don’t need them.” It’s a strange battle, the one where we want to avoid something that could be potentially life-saving.
I finally went for my next checkup and… more melanomas. This time some of them were white. Another surprise; another lesson. One that through sharing my stories on social media I’ve come to realize not many of us know: Melanomas. Can. Be. White.
All-in-all, I had 11 total on my shoulder; After a small lymph node scare (it was benign), I’m now in the mode of getting my regular checkups every six weeks and feeling very blessed; currently there’s no sign of any disease. I’m grateful to my doctors, my nurses, my family, my friends, and all of the people on social media who have sent their love and support.
The positive in all of this: hearing the stories from people who wouldn’t have gone to get their skin checked if I hadn’t shared my journey. That is why it’s so important for me to work with the MRF as the 2023 #GetNaked spokesperson: I want to spread the message as far as possible. Together, I hope to continue to use this platform to educate the public on melanoma awareness and encourage everyone to be more proactive in sun safety and early detection.”