Cancer is a disease which has touched virtually each and every one of us. But being so ever present doesn’t make it any less scary. Just ask Claire Martin, former meteorologist for CBC The National.
Claire has just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and when she told me she wanted to blog about the experience to take the fear and power out of the disease, I suggested she might want to share her experience battling this rare melanoma on my show – as a way to fight the fear and to raise awareness. She generously agreed.
Listen: Former CBC Meteorologist Claire Martin talks about getting skin cancer
The form of cancer Claire has developed is one that usually only manifests in people of African or Asian descent. It turned up in a melanoma about the size of a fingernail on the heel of her foot.
She’s British and extremely fair, and says she was shocked when she found out. So were the doctors. Claire says they wanted to run extra tests because it didn’t make sense that she had it.
In fact, she says she would have never even known it was there if she wasn’t warned while getting a pedicure.
She says that motivated her to speak out.
“We’re doing this partly because I want people to go home and check themselves. When was the last time that you looked at the bottom of your foot?”
Claire says the experience has been scary, and has reduced her to tears at least once.
But she says she’s been motivated to write and speak about it for just that reason.
“It is part of my defense mechanism, I’m British so I’ve got gallows humour, but I’m finding it easier to almost constantly joke about it. And make it something I have to do and get through it with a smile on my face.”
Tomorrow, Claire will go in for surgery to have the melanoma removed, after which she’ll have a skin graft, which should keep her off her feet for a little while.
We’ll be checking back with her afterwards to see how she’s doing.