MELANOMA MONDAY ~

Here comes the Fierce part of  the Wear Your Crowns blog…..Fun, yes.  Feisty, sure. Fabulous, always.  Today, Fierce…You’ve been warned!

The first Monday in May is designated “Melanoma Monday.”

This melanoma survivor would like you to know a few things…

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I am lucky to be alive.  In 2004, I went to my derm with a small, strange-looking mole on my chest.  He sent me home.  “Nothing to worry about”, and I am here to tell  you that when a doctor says that to me, I say “great, no problem..move on…next issue!”

Fast forward one year later.  At my annual GYN check up  the doctor asks, “What’s that on your chest?”  I reply, “I know they are tiny…but they’re my breasts!!” She, “No, that other tiny thing”….. “Oh that.  I had it checked a year ago.  Derm said it’s nothing and I’ve been watching it and it hasn’t changed..”  She..”Get it checked again,….immediately.”

So back to the Dismissive Derm Doc, presenting with the same mole from a year prior, and now it’s  “OH, that needs to come off RIGHT AWAY!”

Long story short, two surgeries, lots of scarring and pain….stage one melanoma.  Considering how fast melanoma spreads, and that fact that it sat on my chest for over a year, I am truly lucky to still be here. All it takes is for one tiny cell to break away and enter your bloodstream, and it’s game over. Now I must be checked every six months, and have had more biopsies than I care to count. But it is what it is, so I stay in the shade, and count my blessings.

Melanoma is referred to in the cancer community as “The Beast”, as it is tremendously difficult to treat, and can pretty much attack anywhere.  Think about it.  The skin is your largest organ, covering your entire body.  Unlike breast cancer, which grows in your breasts, melanoma grows on  your skin, which means it can strike anywhere, INCLUDING your eyes, under your nails, inside  your mouth or nose, your scalp, your vagina, and other places you don’t generally examine.  And when it spreads, it spreads quickly to the heart, brain, lungs and then it’s game over.

The GOOD news, is that if you are vigilant, you can catch it before that one tiny cell breaks off and enters your bloodstream, and have a 95% cure rate.

Just think ABCDE…

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Danger to our health notwithstanding, as we get older, the sun really does a number on us.  Is there ANYTHING as unattractive and aging as sun spots on our skin, or that leathery look that comes from mature skin marinated by years in the sun?  Does anything age us faster than laying by the pool or beach with no hat, no sunscreen….no brain?? At twenty it may be a “look”, at 50 it’s sad and maybe a little desperate. Invest in a good bronzer, ladies, and spare you skin and possibly your health.

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We wonder why British and French women look better as they get older? They don’t fry and sizzle under the sun, trying to look “healthy” like we American women do. I would hardly call skin the color of my living room couch “healthy looking”, but that’s just me.

Finally, and I’m sorry if this offends some, but I am saying it anyway because it is my blog…..To all you mothers who take your daughters to tanning salons for prom, graduation, vacation, etc…..”WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??!!!  WOULD YOU LIGHT HER CIGARETTE, TOO???  DO YOU KNOW THAT TANNING SALONS ARE FAR MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE SUN EVER COULD BE?  HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF SPRAY TANS??  DOES YOUR DAUGHTER’S LIFE MEAN MUCH TO YOU?? Your risk of melanoma increases 70% with exposure to tanning beds.  Grow a spine, set an example and just say NO!”

OK, I’m done, but that had to be said.  It’s long overdue.

Check your skin, wear loads of sunscreen to avoid looking like an aging spotted owl, and stay the #*$%& out of tanning salons! Your body and health will thank you.

That is all.

Have a lovely, glowing, spray tanned week~

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