beauty

The remarkable photos that show what fighting skin cancer really looks like.

A US woman has shown the reality of skin cancer through an incredible photo diary capturing her changing face as she recovers from surgery.

In August 2016 Bethany Gambardella-Greenway learned a mole that had appeared on her forehead during her last pregnancy was actually a melanoma that needed to be removed.

What followed was two intense surgeries and months of recovery, which she documented with a series of more than 350 photos and accompanying posts on Facebook from her home in Brushy Creek, Texas.

Listen: Before Emma Betts passed away, she wanted to alert the world about the dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer.

“Skin cancer is ugly. F**k the sun, f**k my delicate skin. F**k sunscreen,” she writes in the introduction.

“I don’t blame my faith in sunscreen for my cancer. This is what it is, I cannot be angry at genetics, the sun, and my body’s reaction to it. Things happen and this is what is happening to me now.”

During surgery, a muscle in Bethany’s forehead along with the skin containing her left eyebrow was removed, leaving a visible indentation along with a missing eyebrow.

The mum-of-two shared that her self-esteem first took a hit when she found a compression bandage designed to help the skin graft adhere to her head – which she dubbed “Sponge Bob Square Pants” scared a child.

Bethany post-surgery.(Image via Facebook.)

"In this super awesome... Nickelodeon state I scared the crap out of the neighbour kid. After seeing the look on her face I decided I seeing anyone outside my close inner circle would not be a good idea for my already waning mental health."

Giving updates on how her wound was healing, Bethany also shared her struggles to cope as a recovery cancer patient and a parent to two girls.

"It's frustrating to be injured and parenting. Your cope cup is already at 80% full and the smallest sh*t that wouldn't even bug you before is now a giant ridiculous f**king evil challenge that totally ruins your day," she wrote next to an image of her swollen face.

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"Don't get me wrong they are good kids. I just have less patience to deal with the ridiculous process of shifting gears. I am also realising how much I did and how much time that took up plus how much energy it takes to do."

As Bethany's wounds healed and became a gradually fading scar, she wrote of how she embraced her post-skin-cancer face.

"Nobody is perfectly symmetrical. I certainly am not. Why not celebrate my own imperfections?"

The mum said she was "thanking the fashion gods" that her post-surgery 'buzz-cut on one side, long on the other' haircut was in style at the moment.

"I feel doubly blessed because at the time I need the most help with my eyebrows makeup trends are all about a full fluffy sculpted brow. At least all the changes happening to my face are fixed by fashion. Healing."

For Bethany, there have been many ups and downs. (Post continues after gallery.)

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This week on GoFundMe, Bethany shared that she was awaiting facial reconstruction surgery to fill the indentation left by her surgery with fat and restore her eyebrows - something she hoped would return her face closer to its pre-cancer state.

Bethany said she never thought of her story as "inspirational", but if she's inspiring people to wear sunscreen and get yearly skin checks, "I'm glad."

You can follow Bethany Gambardella-Greenway's journey through her melanoma photo diary here.

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