When you’re young, many people are obsessed with how they look, and deem their looks as their top priority. Many people go through all sorts of exercises to look their best, and they stick to strict regiments that will allow them to look the way they want. One woman became obsessed with having perfectly tan skin, even though she was born with a very fair skin tone. Now, at 42 years old, she has had to have more surgeries than she ever would have cared to imagine, due to her teenage obsession.
A Teenage Lisa Pace
During her teen years, Lisa Pace was a beautiful fair skinned teen with freckles. When she turned 18, she couldn’t resist the almost magnetic pull of the tanning bed. She was obsessed with how her skin looked after a few sessions, and she fell in love with the compliments that flowed after seeing her golden skin. Unfortunately, as she got older, Lisa learned that being tan wasn’t all that great.
During early adulthood, Lisa began spending her free time in tanning beds. She recalls, “I started tanning every day, or every other day. It was addictive. People would say, ‘You look so good, you look tan,’ and it just encouraged me.” Due to all the compliments she was receiving, the bronzed beauty started not to care about the health hazards associated with tanning. As the years went on, alarming occurrences started to change her perspective.
First Round of Melanoma
At the young age of 23, Lisa was diagnosed with her first round of melanoma, which is considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer. The growths that result from melanoma, “develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
Lisa’s Wake Up Call
Normally, this diagnosis would have served as a wake-up call for more informed patients, but Lisa brushed it off thinking it was no big deal. She believed that the doctors were able to “just scrape it off.” Lisa ended up avoiding the uncomfortable conversation with her physicians, and decided to just blow it off. She said, “I blew it off for weeks. They just kept calling me and eventually, they said: ‘You need to get in here now.'”
Her First Treatment
Lisa received her first treatment for skin cancer in her 20s, but unfortunately, this would not be her last. After she had recovered from the treatment, she decided to head right back to the tanning salon. Soon after, she fought another round of cancer, but this time it was on her face. Now faced with a surgery scar across her face, Lisa then realized the dangers of her obsession. She was full of regret as she faced her new reality.
The Dangers Become Clear For Lisa
During an interview with TODAY, Lisa recalls that “It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. This whole time I had been worried about how I looked, and now I have a huge scar on my face. It was a huge chunk out of my face.” At this point, all the horror stories about skin cancer that Lisa had deemed as no big deal, were now a harsh reality. By the time she reached her mid-30s, she had already undergone 50 surgeries. Unfortunately though, her story was nowhere near complete.
The Damage Had Been Done
The effects of her past obsession could now be found all over her body. Eventually, the woman didn’t even need a doctor to spot the concerning areas on her skin. She explains, “by this point, I started finding the spots myself…I had a high success rate of spotting them, I’d get it right about eight out of ten times. They were all over my arms, legs, back, chest, face and my nose.
Lisa began to go through surgery after surgery, suffering through a life she had never wanted for herself. She has now suffered through over 86 surgeries, and one can only hope she doesn’t have to endure any more in her future. Her physician states, “I’ve never seen anyone with no genetic disorder, who had the number of skin cancers that Lisa had at her age. The most important thing about Lisa’s story is that in her case, this was likely a result of indoor tanning.”
Lisa Now Wishes She Could Go Back In Time
With the information Lisa has now, she wishes she could go back in time to prevent this devastation from ever occurring. She says, “If I could go back and talk to my 17-year-old self, I would tell her that skin cancer is avoidable. I’d say don’t get in that tanning bed. Wear sunscreen. Wear protective clothing. People are going to love you for what you look like on the inside, not on the outside.”