A woman who was diagnosed with melanoma after ‘dreaming’ that she needed a skin check-up claims that her boyfriend dumped her when he found out that she had cancer – because it made her ‘too much to handle’.
Sarah Southern, 30, says that a ‘terrible’ dream back in September 2019 told her she had cancer and despite a doctor soon assuring her that her moles didn’t look suspicious, the nightmare prompted her to demand that they be tested anyway.
One week later, Sarah – from Winston-Salem, North Carolina – was given the ‘core shattering’ news that she had melanoma – a diagnosis that left her both devastated and terrified, so she turned to her boyfriend of six months for support.
However, far from offering her a shoulder to cry on, Sarah claims that her partner walked out on her – claiming that her diagnosis was too much for him to deal with.
‘Crushed’ Sarah maintains the breakup was one of the ‘worst days of her life’ but following three procedures in December 2019, she was given a glimmer of hope after receiving the all clear.
Terrifying: Sarah Southern, 30, claims she was diagnosed with skin cancer after ‘dreaming’ that she was sick and needed to see a doctor
Bold: The North Carolina resident woke up from her nightmare convinced that she had skin cancer, so she asked her doctor to check her moles
Warning signs: Although Sarah’s doctor insisted that her moles did not look suspicious, tests revealed that two of them (pictured) were cancerous
She also chose to use her ex-boyfriend’s cruel words as ‘motivation’ to change her life – explaining that she now feels ‘stronger than ever’ after enduring the heartbreak while coping with cancer.
In the months since getting the all clear, Sarah has shed 30lbs, finished her degree after ten years, earned a promotion, and expanded her own company.
‘I think I’m the person I am today because of those words, that was my ground zero,’ she said.
‘Being hurt that bad could have gone one of two ways. I could have let his words hinder me and let this experience hold me back or I could pick up the pieces, stand back up, dust my boots off and be better, and that power was raised.
‘I think that whole experience was a good kick that I needed to get my life together because I felt how low, hurt and crushed that I was and I never ever want to go back to that point.
‘His words 110 per cent motivated me to be the best version of myself. I could have let this continue to hold me back but I used the pain to push through to become better. It’s been my biggest motivator in life so far.
Treatment: Sarah underwent three procedures to cut out the cancerous tissue from her body
Bravery: Before she underwent the procedures, she told her boyfriend that she had skin cancer – and says he broke up with her as soon as he heard about the diagnosis
Heartache: Sarah claims that her unnamed partner looked at her like she was the ‘most inconvenient, most disgusting person he has ever met’ when he heard about her cancer
‘I needed to learn to love myself because I don’t think I truly did and that’s why he was able to hurt me as badly as he did.
‘So in the past two years I’ve done a lot of exploring, soul searching and I am the happiest, healthiest and the most mentally stable person I have ever been in my whole life. I’m stronger than ever now.’
Bar manager Sarah, who keeps herself busy by also being a bookkeeping company owner and accounts manager, said she first noticed two moles on her abdomen in September 2019.
One was about the size of a pea, while the other was slightly smaller.
Sarah said: ‘I had this terrible dream and I woke up and I remember putting my feet on the floor and I said out loud, “I have cancer.”
‘I don’t remember much but someone in my dream told me that I needed to go to the doctor and that I was sick and if I didn’t take care of this I’d be in trouble.
‘It was terrifying waking up that morning. I don’t even know if there’s a word to describe how scared I was. Cancer is scary, it’s terrifying.
‘Without that dream the outcome might have been very different. I would have never suspected I had anything wrong but my gut feeling is what pushed me to go to the doctor and that dream is what caused it.
‘That dream could have saved my life.’
Moving on up: Although the break-up left her devastated, Sarah says she now sees it as an important turning point in her life, revealing it taught her how to ‘love herself’
Celebration: After the split, Sarah earned her degree, got a promotion and work, and expanded her own business – as well as losing 30lbs
Fighter: ‘The past two years I’ve done a lot of exploring, soul searching and I am the happiest, healthiest and the most mentally stable person I have ever been in my whole life,’ she said
The 30-year-old said that following her ‘surreal’ dream before she even got out of bed she called her doctor to book an appointment and saw him a few days later.
Sarah said: ‘I told the doctor the places that I thought were cancerous and he sat there and kind of looked at me funny and said they don’t look like spots that should be a cause for concern and I should basically just go home.
‘That didn’t sit well with me and I told him to cut them out and get them sampled anyway.
‘He kind of sat there and went back and forth a little bit because they didn’t look suspicious, and that’s what’s so terrifying. But something in my gut told me this wasn’t ok.
‘[While waiting for the results] I didn’t tell a single person that I was going through this as it’s not something that I wanted to burden anybody with in case it turned out to be nothing.
‘A week later when the results came back and they were positive for melanoma it was core shattering.’
After the longest seven days of her life Sarah discovered she had stage one melanoma and believes she was very fortunate to have caught it when she did.
The business owner said that during that anxious week her behavior did a ‘complete 360’ as she became more withdrawn.
She was coincidentally volunteering at a cancer fundraiser that day and afterwards she told her boyfriend of six months the bad news.
Sarah said: ‘He came over to my place. I was like, “I need to tell you something.”
‘I told him I didn’t know how to say it because I didn’t even know how to handle it yet, but I had just found out that I had stage one melanoma. From what my doctor had just told me, I was not going to need any chemo, I wouldn’t lose my hair, I wasn’t going to get super sick and hopefully surgery would take care of everything.
‘He just looked at me and I’ve never in my entire life had someone look at me like that. He looked at me like I was the most inconvenient, most disgusting person he has ever met.
Helping hand: Sarah is now sharing her story with others in the hopes that she can inspire anyone else who feels that they have hit rock bottom to pick themselves back up
Support system: She credits the people in her life with helping her through the difficult time, saying she is proud to have ‘caring, compassionate’ loved ones
‘There was some silence for a little bit and he said, “This is too much to deal with. You’re too much to handle.”
‘We didn’t even finish the conversation. He literally just turned around and left. I think it was just got too real for him and he didn’t know what to do so he walked out of my life.’
The former finance student claims she received a text a few days later from her ex-partner asking if she was ok to which she responded ‘yes’, but never received an apology.
However, she’s now doing better than ever and claims she posted her story online to inspire other women – and urges anyone going through a tough time not to give up.
Sarah said: ‘I felt crushed, I crumbled. He completely broke me and I will say that was one of the worst days in my entire life.
‘I gave myself three days to be sad over him so I told myself in 72 hours I have to forget about him and move on because he was able to forget about me.
‘I am very thankful to be here and to have the support system that I have now. I have the most genuine, true, caring, compassionate people in my life now and that experience is what opened my eyes to stop wasting time on those people who didn’t care about me.
‘He did me a huge favor and showed me his true colors and I was able to get out of that situation much sooner. I didn’t see [his true colors] until I needed him.
‘At the time it was terrible but looking back it’s the best thing that could have happened because I got my life together. It gave me the push I needed to finish my degree, expand my company and to take a little more risk in my life and quit playing it safe.
‘In the beginning I did that to pretty much show him that I didn’t need him and that I was better without him. That lasted a couple months and then I found that I started to love who I am, and then I did it for me.’