Saturday, February 11, 2012

Well....Maybe?

Recently i was asked if I would of listened to me if I was a teenager. Well, I would like to say of course! But, truth be told I simply dont know.

I tanned because I was obsessed with being tan. Look back at pictures of me in High school. I was obsessed with being tan. Being tan made me feel thinner and feel better about myself. I liked that feeling.

If I would of known then what I know now, knowing that I would in fact get Melanoma and fight for my life, then yes, of course I would of listened to myself. However, given a shot, say 50/50 of getting melanoma or not getting it, I dont know. I do know that melanoma sucks. I know that melanoma is awful. Simply awful. I know that melanoma is life threatening and with Stage IV your chance of surviving past 5 years is slim. Very few do. Now granted, I WILL be one of them, because thats just how I roll:) But, unforunately many wont.

I also know that I cant change the past. When I was first diagnosed I really dwelled on the fact that all those times I tanned I was actually causing my cancer. When i was first diagnosed I didnt understand it. I had no idea that the tanning beds and the sun had caused my cancer. It was only after I had some time to digest what was going on that I realized all that time in the tanning bed was now trying to kill me. Being tan and feeling better about myself is what is killing me now.

Clearly its not worth it. And I know that my friends that love me with all their heart and soul wouldnt even consider stepping in to a tanning bed. They have seen what I have gone thru. They have heard me vent. They have seen me suffer. They have felt my pain.

So looking back, I would like to say that yes, my past self would most definitely listen to my future self. Being tan is not worth it. My life is worth more.

21 comments:

  1. Love u Heather!!! You are a true insperation. I will do everything in my power to keep my girls out of those death beds and teach them that they are beautiful just the way they are. You go girl.....rock on :)

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  2. Just keep fighting! I and the world need you to tell it like it is!

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  3. As always, so very blessed by you, so blessed that you are a fighter and part of our family! Continuing to have conversations with our Lord regarding you and all who are battling this terrible disease! Keep on, Keepin On!!! Prayers going up!!!

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  4. Because of you, and your blog... This is the first spring/summer I am doing an airbrush tan instead of a tanning bed :) I am soooo thankful you are doing sooo fabulous!!! Praise God :)

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Karen- You are an insenstive BITCH!! I noticed u didnt leave an email or even a blog to be contacted thru. Clearly its because u are an IDIOT!! Go to hell!! How dare u even TRY to belitte what I have gone thru! U have no fucking clue what my life has been like! My cancer WAS caused by tanning beds and the sun. While I may have gone overboard, I have many melanoma friends who have not. Dont be a wuss, please please post an email address for yourself. I would just love to share that with out melanoma warriors!!

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  7. The sad part Heather is that she may come looking for support from us when she finds out just how wrong she is. I just hope her kids don't have to pay the price for her stupidity. I wonder if she knows that little kids can get melanoma too???

    Stick to your guns. I know you're right.

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  8. The sun causes cancer.
    Sugar causes diabetes.
    Alcohol causes DUI's (not the car) as you so irrationally wrote above, Karen.

    Have a vitamin D deficiency? Eat some veggies. You don't HAVE to go out in sunlight. You sound very convoluted in your explanation as to why things are the way they are, and why you just KNOW they are that way. Karen, perhaps you should do a little more research yourself as to how the world works.

    Heather... live strong!

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    Replies
    1. Rachel,
      The reason I believe what I do is BECAUSE of the extensive research I've done for both sides. I have come to my conclusions because I was fooled for many years into thinking that I should avoid tanning and use lots of SPF- but then after getting the proper education and tanning for vitamin D, a lot of my health issues decreased and I stopped getting yearly colds/flu, etc.

      Karen

      And Alcohol is a factor in car crashes, but ultimately a person makes the decision to do the things that they do, and that's why people get punished for drunk driving, not the alcohol or the car.

      Delete
    2. Karen,

      Would you tell a person with lung cancer to smoke a cigarette? Would you tell a person with liver cancer to have a shot of whiskey? Why in the world would you think it a good idea to tell a woman with skin cancer to go get some sun?

      Delete
  9. Wow, that is your reply?

    Coming from someone who used that kind of tone, I don't expect you to even be the least bit objective.

    And I don't normally blog so I didn't choose the first six options in the drop-down menu for "reply as", and the last two didn't have any "email" option.

    I know that internet arguing is frowned upon but you really don't need to "shout" or call names.

    I give you my sympathy- I don't mean to hurt your feelings or touch any nerves- like I said- I am not trying to fight you. But I believe that spreading the lies only makes things worse. As a person fighting with Melanoma, I know you are passionate about helping others with awareness. Well, I think you are counteracting what your intention is by continuing to spread the misunderstanding about skin cancer. For me to state that I disagree with you doesn't call for you to accuse me of being a bitch, or swear at me. Whether or not you have melanoma, you don't need to use that language.
    I am not a mean person- I am passionate about fitness and nutrition as well. When you went on Mommypotomus's forum to disagree with her, she didn't call you a bitch or curse at you. She was mature and collected. You were essentially trying to encourage her to do something that SHE believes would endanger the health of her children. Just like you think what I'm saying is not right for you. You can choose to be vulgar if you like- but that's your game and if that's how you are going to speak to/treat people, then I don't know what else to say since this is the internet and people tend to say things they wouldn't normally say.

    Karen

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    Replies
    1. Karen,
      I am a childhood friend of Heather's, and have known her since we were both teenagers. I am also a Registered Nurse, with a BSN, a BSEd in Clinical Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, and an MSEd in Clinical Exercise Physiology. In my current job, I work closely every day with the top Oncologists in the country, at Mayo Clinic & Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, & Cancer Treatment Centers of America, just to name a few. I see melanoma patients every day of all ages & backgrounds. Many of them have actually never used tanning beds, which means they likely got their exposure from the sun. Many of these patients are pale in ethnicity, meaning that they likely never "tried" to get a tan, yet developed melanoma anyway after being repeatedly exposed to the sun in small doses. The data published by the American Dermatology Association states that even ONE sunburn in childhood can result in melanoma later in life. Who has not had a sunburn as a child?
      I missed the part of your posts where you identified what clinical/medical degrees you possess? I would actually love the opportunity for you to meet with the hundreds of MD's that I work with on a daily basis. From the content of your comments, you must know more than they do about melanoma and for that matter cancer & carcinogens! On a personal note, I used the same tanning beds as Heather did as a teenager. In my early 20's, I began developing dysplatic nevi (pre-cancerous growths) and to date I have had 9 biopsies in the past 5 years. Thankfully, none were melanoma....yet. I have to be diligent about sunscreen, and because I live in a sunny climate, I wear it every day. Also, being a nurse, I have thorough physicals every year including blood work. Guess what? My Vitamin D levels are perfect. I get my skin mapped & checked every 6 months minimum. My dermatologist is one of the most regarded in his field, and he assures me that direct exposure to sunlight puts you at risk for developing melanoma. It may not happen for YEARS, but you are putting yourself at risk. Just as people who eat bacon every morning don't all develop high cholesterol and heart disease, all people who have sun exposure don't develop melanoma. But cancer treatment is largely about PREVENTION. Sure we have advanced treatments for cancer nowdays but as with ANY disease process, we strive for prevention before cure. Have you heard the saying "An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure?". In my line of work that cannot prove more true. Sure, we all make mistakes, and no one can live a carcinogen-free life. But, in my opinion, we should all try. Just as obesity puts people at risk for other types of cancer & diseases, sun exposure puts people at risk for melanoma. Period.
      I really wish you could come to work with me, and meet the patients I work with who are dying of this horrible, PREVENTABLE, disease. They would do anything to go back in time. Many of them don't have any idea where their sun exposure came from. As I said before, many of them are PALE and not habitual tanners of any sort.
      We are all human and have the right to live however we choose. My friend Heather has been dealt the melanoma hand, and personally, I think she is handling it beautifully. She is using her illness as a platform for education to HELP educate others. Your comments are not helpful. We all know that cigarettes cause cancer. And I can tell you from experience that not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. In fact, many people who get lung cancer NEVER SMOKED. Ever. I could go on and on with examples, but my philosophy remains the same. We should all try to live a healthy life and prevent all types of cancer. And when, as a medical community, we identify KNOW CARCINOGENS, it is our DUTY to make them widely known to the public. The medical oath we take says "First do no harm."
      I sure wish you luck. Karma sucks, Ignorance is bliss, and Denial is a beautiful place to live.

      Delete
  10. By the way, I was going to give you my email address since you requested it, but seeing how you threatened me and seem to be vengeful, I politely decline. I would rather not have that drama. Have a nice day.

    And good luck; hopefully you become less defensive and vulgar. It will enlighten you as a person.
    Karen

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    1. Last I checked this was a personal page, with personal thoughts and expressions. How dare you! How dare you judge! How dare you degrade! How dare you preach! How dare you! I hope you never have to fight this battle, because you will lose! This is awareness!!! Heather can stop the cycle! Tanning beds are to blame and blame I will!! Young girls are the victims of this market! Their children, their families and their friends are the victims of this shallow beast!

      Delete
  11. Sorry but have to add my two cents worth. 15 minutes of sun per day is all we need to get our vitamin D. Not hours in the sun. Tanning beds, don't think they offer much but skin cancer. That said ladies we need to do all we can to prevent cancer

    As for being defensive, try living with puking your guts up, hurting so bad you want to die, watching your hair fall out and wondering if you will be alive in six months you bet you can get vulgar and defensive. I sure did and still during my treatment for lung cancer. And no Karen I did not smoke

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  12. There is plenty of research that proves tanning causes cancer. I think Karen will learn that the hard way.

    Keep on keepin' on, Heather. LOVE YOU!

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  13. Karen,
    I am a childhood friend of Heather's, and have known her since we were both teenagers. I am also a Registered Nurse, with a BSN, a BSEd in Clinical Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, and an MSEd in Clinical Exercise Physiology. In my current job, I work closely every day with the top Oncologists in the country, at Mayo Clinic & Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, & Cancer Treatment Centers of America, just to name a few. I see melanoma patients every day of all ages & backgrounds. Many of them have actually never used tanning beds, which means they likely got their exposure from the sun. Many of these patients are pale in ethnicity, meaning that they likely never "tried" to get a tan, yet developed melanoma anyway after being repeatedly exposed to the sun in small doses. The data published by the American Dermatology Association states that even ONE sunburn in childhood can result in melanoma later in life. Who has not had a sunburn as a child?
    I missed the part of your posts where you identified what clinical/medical degrees you possess? I would actually love the opportunity for you to meet with the hundreds of MD's that I work with on a daily basis. From the content of your comments, you must know more than they do about melanoma and for that matter cancer & carcinogens! On a personal note, I used the same tanning beds as Heather did as a teenager. In my early 20's, I began developing dysplatic nevi (pre-cancerous growths) and to date I have had 9 biopsies in the past 5 years. Thankfully, none were melanoma....yet. I have to be diligent about sunscreen, and because I live in a sunny climate, I wear it every day. Also, being a nurse, I have thorough physicals every year including blood work. Guess what? My Vitamin D levels are perfect. I get my skin mapped & checked every 6 months minimum. My dermatologist is one of the most regarded in his field, and he assures me that direct exposure to sunlight puts you at risk for developing melanoma. It may not happen for YEARS, but you are putting yourself at risk. Just as people who eat bacon every morning don't all develop high cholesterol and heart disease, all people who have sun exposure don't develop melanoma. But cancer treatment is largely about PREVENTION. Sure we have advanced treatments for cancer nowdays but as with ANY disease process, we strive for prevention before cure. Have you heard the saying "An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure?". In my line of work that cannot prove more true. Sure, we all make mistakes, and no one can live a carcinogen-free life. But, in my opinion, we should all try. Just as obesity puts people at risk for other types of cancer & diseases, sun exposure puts people at risk for melanoma. Period.
    I really wish you could come to work with me, and meet the patients I work with who are dying of this horrible, PREVENTABLE, disease. They would do anything to go back in time. Many of them don't have any idea where their sun exposure came from. As I said before, many of them are PALE and not habitual tanners of any sort.
    We are all human and have the right to live however we choose. My friend Heather has been dealt the melanoma hand, and personally, I think she is handling it beautifully. She is using her illness as a platform for education to HELP educate others. Your comments are not helpful. We all know that cigarettes cause cancer. And I can tell you from experience that not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. In fact, many people who get lung cancer NEVER SMOKED. Ever. I could go on and on with examples, but my philosophy remains the same. We should all try to live a healthy life and prevent all types of cancer. And when, as a medical community, we identify KNOW CARCINOGENS, it is our DUTY to make them widely known to the public. The medical oath we take says "First do no harm."
    I sure wish you luck. Karma sucks, Ignorance is bliss, and Denial is a beautiful place to live.

    ReplyDelete