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Alison Button-Sloan

Alison Button-Sloan

Tell us a little about yourself

I have a wonderfully supportive husband and three children in their 20s. We’re originally from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, lived there for  30+ years, then moved to Brisbane for nearly 20 and currently we’re in Melbourne which despite the weather, I’m loving.  I work as a practice nurse and diabetes educator following a long career as a tertiary based hospital midwife. My main passion in life is reading history, in particular pre-20th century English and European politics. On the sporting front, thanks to my children, I’m a tragic armchair rowing and rugby union enthusiast – every team needs a cheer squad!

When and how did you first find out you had melanoma?

I was diagnosed with an ultra-thick nodular melanoma in March 2013 following an excision of what was thought to be a BCC.

Tell us about your treatment

After the initial and then wide local excision of the melanoma, I now have regular surveillance check-ups at the Melanoma Institute Australia in Sydney. This includes 4 monthly nodal ultrasounds and an annual CT/PET scan.

What challenges did you and your family and/or friends face after your diagnosis?

It was an emotional and confronting time to be diagnosed with a high risk melanoma after being told the lesion was a BCC for 18 months prior. My family and I knew little about melanoma however we began researching as much as we could and this led us to organising a second medical opinion. This was an empowering yet daunting experience as navigating the medical system isn’t easy. It was also difficult to explain to well-meaning friends that melanoma isn’t ‘just a skin cancer’ and that it can be deadly. On a positive note, during this period we connected with MPA which has helped enormously. Today the major challenge is learning to live with the anxiety that builds up before each scan and worrying that the melanoma will return. My family, friends and doctor are very supportive and my husband always organises a celebratory dinner after my check-ups where we all breathe a big sigh of relief!

How has melanoma cancer affected your outlook on life?

It’s crystallised how important it is to make each day a winner and that all life experiences, good or bad, can have a silver lining.

Shortly after my diagnosis I realised how crucial support and accurate melanoma information is so you can make informed decisions regarding your ongoing treatment. This then led to setting up and facilitating the MPA support group in Melbourne with Adrianna Zadro.

I’ve also become involved as a consumer representative working in partnership with other consumers, health professionals, cancer organisations and researchers so that the consumer perspective is considered during all phrases of the melanoma journey.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

I have several: Happiness comes from within, you are the master of your own destiny and always get a second opinion!

I’m happiest when…

When reading a good book and being with my family including our much loved black cat Lou Lou.

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