Ulrike was born in South Africa and moved to Canada in her teens. She resides in Calgary next to the mountains. Being close to nature had a great impact on her life and helped her greatly dealing with anxiety and stress when she faced melanoma.
Ulrike had a family history of skin cancer but wasn’t really conscious about it. Things changed when she found out that one of her moles changed size and color. Something was wrong and she followed the advice to visit a dermatologist for a check-up.
Even though the doctor recommended waiting and watching if the mole returned to its normal state, Ulrike insisted on surgery. A week later it was confirmed that the mole was cancerous. She was lucky to identify melanoma before it spreads to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
“People have to trust themselves if they feel that something is wrong”
The time before surgery was extremely stressful for Ulrike, and googling melanoma made things even worse. That was when the other melanoma warriors came to help. She found a community of melanoma warriors on Instagram and got the much-needed support and advice.
“Don’t be alone. Reaching out to the people in the community makes much more sense than just looking for information randomly”.
After defeating melanoma, Ulrike started an Instagram blog to share her story and help others to cope with the fear of skin cancer. One of the things she tells people is that cancer is not like a sentence and shouldn’t take over their lives.
“It’s important to live your life the best you can. Because that stress affects your immune system holistically”.
Ulrike promotes mole tracking, self-checks, and recommends other people to see a dermatologist. She admits that many of her acquaintances never had a body check. Same as other melanoma warriors she tells people that cancer can happen to anyone, but a little is needed to find it in time.
After facing melanoma Ulrike was looking for a way to monitor her moles without going to the doctor for a full scan. That was when we met her and offered to become a Nota Mole Tracker early adopter.
“I was so glad that I found you. It’s almost one of those things I was researching, and I was thinking if only there was something I could scan my moles to keep track of it. This is why your device is so important. Because that can teach people that they should pay attention to their skin.”
I asked Ulrike to give advice to others. She answered that one shouldn’t be scared about the sun, but take preventive measures instead: use sunscreen, wear a hat when going outside, avoid tanning beds, and have regular skin checks.
Ulrike and her fellow warriors believe that just a little self-care already means a lot in reducing the risks of cancer and getting timely treatment.