Friday, July 30, 2010

Vandy Visit

I leave on Sunday evening for my appts at Vanderbilt. I have labs, EKG, CT scan, and an appt with my oncologist. Before most CTs I am a nervous wreck, but I am feeling quite at peace with this one. My husband is too, so that is a good sign.

Why, you ask? Well, my husband is a very wise, intiative man. Back in February, I had every intention of going to my appt at MD Anderson by myself, however about a week before I left, my husband insisted on going with me. Odd, but I didn't argue. I was so grateful that he was there. We received the news that my cancer was back. I needed someone strong and he was. Not once did he shed a tear (in front of me).n I bawled the whole way home. A 12 hour drive, I might add! And finally, he convinced me to take a sleeping pill so that I could sleep instead of cry! He's a great man, I tell ya!!

So, anyway, my point being....I think this CT scan will be fine. I think the meds are still working. I am a little nervous about how they will distingish the lipomas from cancer on the scans, but that's why they get paid the big bucks, right? :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do u know me?

If you know me then you know that I am a very up front person. I don't beat around the bush and I don't sugarcoat my opinions. It is what it is. I am real. Take it or leave it.

I have noticed that a lot of young women with Melanoma don't want to talk about it. I have struggled with this. Mainly because I am an open book. Yes, this happened to me. Yes, this is my fault. However, why not try to spread awareness and hopefully save some other people at the same time. I know that all of my dear friends and the people that love me would not even CONSIDER stepping a foot into a tanning bed. No if ands or buts. But, I have noticed that even people that love me and care about me still don't take the necessary precautions when they are out in the sun. This drives me wild!!

Yes, tanning beds are way more dangerous than the sun, but the sun is still dangerous. You still need to protect your skin. Anyone can get skin cancer. Anyone. They don't "think" it is genetic, however, I think I would beg to differ! If you are out in the sun, please, please make sure you are wearing sunscreen. I prefer sun BLOCK. I wear SPF 100, but that is simply because the RO5 makes me VERY sun sensitive. My kiddos wear SPF 50 or higher.

Please don't feed me the bullshit that we need the Vitamin D. They make supplements for that. I take the supplement every day, as well as my children and my husband. A supplement is WAY safer than the sun. Trust me!!

I know some of you are soooo sick of me preaching. I know that. I guess I just want to make sure you are all safe. You all mean a lot to me. I would never want someone else to go through this. I certainly wish I didn't have to.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Still Kicking

Not much to update, just didn't want some of you to worry about me:) I'm doing quite well actually. Still having some joint pain and fatigue, but I've been through worse. The kids and I are keeping quite busy. We have been swimming, museum trips, playdates, Mommy and Me playgroup, open gym, and the children's theatre. There hasn't been much time for anything else! Including worrying!

I head back to Nashville the first week of August. On Monday I have labs, EKG, repeat CT scans, and a Dr appt. On Wednesday I have an appt with the Dermatologist and then I can head home. I have NO IDEA what I will do on Tuesday. I am quite annoyed that I have a day in between like that, however, no matter how much I bitched and moaned, they wouldn't change it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It Came and Went

This year July 8th came and went. Honestly, I didn't even realize that it was July 8th until that evening. Hey, it's summer. All the days run together for me!

The minute I realized it was July 8th I got butterflies in my stomach. Two years ago, on July 8th, was when my Dermatologist told me that I had melanoma and it didn't look good. I relive that day constantly. I am always thinking about that day and how it could have been different. But, it can't be different. It is what it is.

I won't lie, cancer sucks! Majorly! But, I have a wonderful support system and I have a great outlook on life. There is absolutely no reason that I would ever consider giving up. It's really not even an option. Sometimes this fight gets old, but the alternative really isn't all that appealing to me! I truly feel like I am one of the lucky ones. Many people with Stage IV Melanoma don't make it this long. And look at me! Here I am. Two years later, spreading awareness about the dangers of tanning and the sun, taking care of two beautiful children, and kicking cancer's ass! I'm pretty much a rock star:)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

News Story

Check out the following link to see the local news story on my family and the dangers of tanning. I am hoping and praying that my story has made a difference in the lives of others.

News Story Here

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back It Up A Bit

When I was pregnant with my daughtjer, which would have been the summer of 2007, my husband and I were on a walk with the little man when he noticed a spot on the back of my calf. At first he thought it was a bug or some dirt and tried to wipe it off.

When I realized what he was doing, I remember telling him, oh yeah, it's just some spot that showed up one day. It doesn't hurt, but I'm not sure what it is. I didn't worry about it the rest of the summer. He wanted me to see a dermatologist.

I didn't. I was busy.

E was born in January 2008, and I remember showing it to my obgyn at my 6 week post baby appt. She wasn't sure what it was but recommended a dermatologist for me to see.

I didn't. I was busy.

At Easter in 2008, my mom noticed the spot on the back of my leg. My mother is a nurse. She recommended that I see a dermatologist right away.

I didn't. I was busy.

On July 8, 2008, the day my baby girl turned 6 months, I finally went to the dermatologist. A full year after my husband noticed the spot. A full year since he encouraged me to see the Dr. A full year for the cancer to make itself at home in my body. A full half year since I had my Princess.

The odd thing is, I'm really not a procrastionator. Not sure what made me wait for this appt. What an awful time to become a procrastionator.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The How And Why...

Some people don't understand how someone "gets" Melanoma.There are lots of cancers out there with no reason for the cause. Melanoma is not one of them. We know the cause.

When I was in High School, I was a tanner. I loved tanning. Was probably even addicted to it at some point. I tanned for proms, dances, weddings, graduation, etc. I liked being tan. It made me feel skinner and gave me more confidence. I tanned easily, so in theory, I really didn't need to tan in a tanning bed all that often. But, I did. Once I had reached my "plateau" with the regular tanning beds I switched to the high powered tanning beds. I remember a couple times in high school I tanned at one place in the morning and another in the evening. Like I said, I was addicted.

During the summer months in High School I babysat. We went to the pool most days. I always put the sunscreen on them, but I never put the sunscreen on myself. Why? Because I wanted to be tan! Duh!

I wish I could say that after high school I quit tanning and became wiser. But, unfortunately that is not the case. I tanned maybe once or twice a month in college (all my money went to beer!) But, a couple months before I was diagnosed I purchased a tanning package. I actually HAD MELANOMA at the time! I had no idea, of course, but still. How stupid. I am a smart, well educated woman, I should have known better. At this point, I wasn't addicted, I just wanted to be tan. I tried the spray tan, but quite honestly, it was expensive. Tanning in a tanning bed was much "cheaper." Ha! I laugh as I type that!

We know what causes Melanoma. UVB rays. UVB rays come from the sun and tanning beds. Even sunscreens don't block all the rays. Of course they help, but they are not 100%. If you are going to use sunscreens please make sure they are at least 50 SPF. I use 85 or 100SPF on my family. I figure the higher SPF the better.

I am hoping that through my story I have opened the eyes of some people. Hopefully some of you have started using sunscreen religiously. Hopefully ALL of you have STOPPED using tanning beds. Hopefully some of you have visited your dermatologist at least ONCE this year. I would love to hear how my story has opened your eyes.