Friday, March 29, 2013

Jillian Hayes

I shared this on Facebook, but also wanted to share here for anyone who might read my blog that isn't on Facebook. This is a news segment featuring a family very dear to my heart, the Hayes Family, who lost their daughter, sister, and wife in December to melanoma. The video is 4 minutes long and is well worth watching.

Daughter's Death Sparks Cancer Campaign

You can visit Jillian's mom's blog here: Jillian's Journey with Melanoma

Jillian's brother's blog here: The Melanoma Ripple Effect

And the Facebook page for Jilly's Jems here: Jilly's Jems on Facebook

I can't say it enough - protect your skin and visit the dermatologist! It could literally save your life. 

Happy Good Friday & Easter!

I have no melanoma news to share, which is great! I just want to say Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter! 

It always seems odd to call this day "Good Friday" when it signifies the day that Jesus died on the cross - but the "Good" part is, He sacrificed himself on the cross to save US, and He rose again 3 days later. I grew up in church and the crucifixion is a story I've heard my entire life, many times, but I still don't entirely comprehend it. The other night I started thinking about how we execute prisoners today, with lethal injection, or maybe the electric chair - is that even still around? And I was thinking how quickly death comes from those 2 methods, and how Jesus was on that cross for hours, in agony, and even though he is God's son, he was in human form, and still felt pain. No matter what I go through in this life, I will never fully understand what he went through - for you and me and everyone else, those who love and believe in him as their savior, for those who don't believe, for those who mock believers, for the murderers, the thieves, everyone. Jesus died on the cross for the worst person you know, and the best person you know. 

So remember, this Easter, it's not about this:

or this:

Side Note: Reese's Eggs are my favorite!!

The true meaning of Easter is this:

We all have this to be thankful for, no matter what else is going on in life!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sunscreen and Updates

For reasons I hesitate to admit to the melanoma world, I thought I'd talk about sunscreen today. Guess what? You need sunscreen when you're outside, even if you're not at the pool or beach. I should know this, but apparently I need a reminder. I'm really good about putting sunscreen on my face, but not everywhere else, unless I'm in a bathing suit. Well, when you're outside for part of the day wearing a tank top, not only can you get burned, but you can get some really hideous tan lines. According to my dermatologist, if you're fair skinned like me, you need an SPF 50. For those less subject to burning, an SPF 30 is okay. You also need to put a ton of it on, you're not just applying a light layer, because the SPF is even lower if you don't put enough on. An ounce, or a shot glass full, is about what you need for your entire body. Then you need to reapply every 2 hours, more often if you're swimming or sweating. When I'm going to the pool, I usually apply my first layer of sunscreen before I put on my bathing suit to avoid those weird burn areas right along the bathing suit line, where you didn't get close enough. So anyway, the moral of the story is, wear sunscreen when you're going to be outside, whether you're at the beach, doing yard work, or running in the River Run and hanging around outside grilling and having some beverages!

Melanoma Update: I had some routine blood work done last Friday, and my blood is apparently pretty awesome! I saw G, the Nurse Practitioner, instead of Dr. J, and she went on and on about how great all my blood work was. I've only seen her twice and she is just so sweet and amazing. She was very encouraging about everything, I just can't get over how nice she is. I'm sure in the oncology department, they don't get a lot of great news, or have a lot of healthy patients, so I'm extremely happy to be that star patient! I'll go for scans and another ipi treatment next month, and I really don't want to think about it yet because I don't want to get the "scanxiety". 

I'm having some issues with range of motion, and a little bit of lymph-edema is setting in, so I'll go see a specialist about that in a few weeks. This is from my surgery last August to remove the lymph nodes, and subsequent radiation therapy. Removing the lymph nodes can mess with the lymph fluid, and cause that limb to swell. Right now, it's not bad, but it needs to be controlled before it gets out of hand. 

I also saw my dermatologist yesterday for my 3 month checkup, and there was nothing questionable there, so no news = good news!

So all in all, things have been pretty good. I ran the River Run 15K last weekend and had a great time (except for not putting sunscreen on my arms!). I hadn't been running because of a knee injury, but I ran the whole 9.3 miles without stopping, and it was slow, but I'm okay with that! The girls always wear tutus and we always have shirts made for races, and this one was dedicated to our friend Allen, who has throat cancer and is currently in treatment and could not run with us. The back of our shirts said "Getta Bike" because that's what he had been saying for a while, even before cancer stopped him from running. He came to our carb up dinner and our post run party, and he's doing so great, but definitely send some prayers his way. He's undergoing chemo and will start radiation soon, but he has a very positive attitude and we know he will be just fine! 

Here are some pics of the race:

At the starting line 

Getta Bike!! 

Well, Hello Beaker..... (One of my favorite things
about the River Run is the costumes!) 

The girls before the race - it was COLD, but 
once we started running, it was perfect weather!

Remember, the word of the day is: SUNSCREEN. Wear it. All the time. The least of your worries is ugly tan lines, and an uncomfortable sunburn. The worst is the irreversible damage you are doing to your skin. Never let yourself get burned, and for those of you with kids, keep them covered with sunscreen! Make them come out of the water, dry off, and re-apply. I remember hating that when I was a kid, but even before we knew what skin cancer was, my mom was sure not to let us get burned.