Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Day Off...

i just finished my first week of work in about 9yrs... it went well... but i am having a really hard time keeping my mouth shut about melanoma... customers and coworkers need to be warned to check their skin... but i am afraid to expose myself as a survivor... if i do, they could use any excuse to let me go before i pass the probation period... and i was originally hoping to keep quiet until i make full time, but doubt i will make that goal... it is just too difficult to not say something when you see a mole that needs to be looked at... since may 2011 i have been very vocal about sharing my experience in hopes of saving others from experiencing something similar... but with the new job i am trying to keep it to myself... very difficult... in a little over a week i go back to the new derm to get 3 biospies... still only worried about the one on my foot... can handle the 2 on my back... but not looking forward to a foot biopsy then work at 7:30 the next morning... also, my appt is wednesday and i know i work thursday - sunday... won't know when the next day off after biopsy is until this week is over and the new schedule goes up... also, i need to find a new oncologist... i thought i found one... but then my derm told me there is one that works with them that he highly recommends... hubby thinks i need to see that guy... i am torn... i can see the benefits that having 2 of my drs in same building- they might actually better communicate about how best to help me... but, i am huge on instincts also- not that the guy derm recommends give me heeby jeebies or anything... but the oncologist i initially chose gave me a warm fuzzy feel when i was researching her... so should i continue with my gut, and original pick from before i had an ally in tx? or do i go with the dr that my other dr recommends? i have no idea- any feedback is welcome... in the meantime, i procrastinate until i return to derm for biopsies... i am hoping it makes it an easier choice when i know the derm better...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Work...

we are all settled in to TX... trying to make the best of it... it is definitely not southern california... i found a new primary dr here... not so sure i like her, but for now she gave me the referrals i needed... and the derm's office got me in quickly... was the first time in a long time i did not get cut visiting the derm... i was super excited... until he stated it was bc he needed insurance approval first... so i am scheduled to return july 16th for 3 biopsies... normally this would not bother me, i am way too used to being cut on... but i just got my first job in 9 yrs, i start on the 2nd... i figure if i can handle 2 kids with all the previous cuts i should be good... but one of my moles is on my foot between the big toe and the one next to it... so as i am getting used to being on my feet all day again i am also going to let my foot get cut... i feel like such a baby... whining... but this is so important to me... i haven't worked in forever... and when i got my initial diagnosis and treatment it was really hard on us financially... i didn't qualify for state disability bc i hadn't worked in so long... and social security said i "handled treatment too well" to qualify... so i am trying to learn to keep my mouth shut about melanoma for awhile... i am being started as a part time employee, but hoping to work it into a full time gig with benefits... but i fear that if i mention melanoma too early they will find any excuse to not give me full time... so now i need to figure out a logical, non cancer related explanation for always being covered up in 90-100 degree days... wish me luck... oh yeah, and for the dr appts that have started again...

Friday, May 9, 2014

tanning police...

the laws are rapidly changing across the US... states are determining that tanning beds CAN be deadly... one of the statistics i see a lot is that indoor tanning before age 35 increases your risk of melanoma by 75%... so it is a good thing that regulations are being put into place for kids' safety... i know some people think it isn't necessary... but it really is. i heard a story about a girl whose mom took her to a local tanning salon on the same saturday i was participating in the dallas AIM at Melanoma Walk... the girl was 14 yrs old, her mom signed permission to fry her child... which is actually illegal here in TX. you are not supposed to be allowed to tan until you are 18 yrs of age, like smoking cigarettes... would you buy your child smokes at 14 yrs old? wake up people- it is the same thing!!! my dad was 3 yrs old when he started smoking cigarettes... and drinking black coffee with truckers (grandparents owned a truck stop)... why? because back then cigarettes didn't come with warning labels... no one knew how bad they were for you... the warning labels came out when my dad was 5 yrs old... but he had already smoked for 2 yrs at that point... his parents still tried to make him quit, he didn't... he finally quit about 20 yrs ago... after he lost his father to lung cancer, and mother to emphysema... my point is we are educating people on the dangers of indoor tanning- or tanning period, but it is still relatively new... we need to continue educating... we also need to do whatever we can to stop the businesses that are profiting on our health... cigarettes now have so many taxes it is ridiculous... but it worked to cause many former smokers to quit. maybe we should tax tanning salons like cigarettes... then use that money to police them. i reported the salon i heard about allowing a 14 yr old to tan with parental consent... i was kinda sad to find out the only punishment will be a strong worded letter and threat of a fine if they continue. the gentleman i spoke with was very nice and understanding why i was so upset... but that does not save anyone... he did say that if upon investigation they find the salon has been serving many minors the punishment could be more severe... well, that is a start... but it leads me to believe that the only way these businesses will ever learn is if we act as the tanning police... which quite frankly sucks. i have never been the type to snitch... but under these circumstances i felt it was justified, even necessary. if i had known all of my outdoor time, spent worshiping the sun in as little clothing as possible (cut offs and tank tops), would lead to a melanoma diagnosis than i would have been more cautious... i will be 35 yrs old in less than a month... and my journey with melanoma started 3yrs ago... i would not wish anyone to have to live with the constant anxiety and fear i do... or to have to endure any treatment- whether it is the interferon i did... or one of the many other treatments currently approved or being tested...

Monday, May 5, 2014

frustration...

today is melanoma monday... lots of awareness efforts focus on today... last year there was a battle over color... someone was using an orange ribbon to promote awareness... but in the melanoma community the black ribbon represents us... i think the color war might have clouded some important efforts... with my kids i am a helicopter parent- meaning i am always hovering over them waiting for teachable moments... i used to get very upset with my hubby for not doing things the way i would do them... then my sis in law gave me some advice- allow the help, even if its not done the way you would choose to do it... that is what i think happened with the color war- instead of joining forces we split the message... does that make sense? saturday i participated in the AIM at Melanoma 5k... it was my second year... last year was just in october, but that was before we left CA... i was pleased to meet one of the women i have made friends with online... sad, i missed one of the others... i was amazed that i was able to complete the walk in less than an hour this year (not much less, but still)... in october of last year it took me almost 3 hrs to complete the 5k- i think that has a lot to do with the fact i finished treatment in february of last year... my body was still tired when october rolled around... but this year, with a possible broken toe and my kids walking, my time was more where i felt it should be... here in texas the weather is far different than this southern california girl is use to... the day of the walk was high 80's- 90's... my new melahomie saw i was wearing long sleeves under my survivor shirt and asked "girl, aren't you hot?" well, yes i was more than hot... i thought i might have been melting... but i am still scared... of everything and anything outdoors- especially between the hours of 10am-4pm... i know i was one of the most dressed people there... but i don't know when i will ever be able to be comfortable in tank tops and shorts again... i haven't exposed my legs in almost 3yrs... i was proud of myself for wearing a skirt around the house with no leggings- and that was just last week... also this week, i went without an overshirt for the first time... i know i have come a lot farther than i make it sound... but wish i could feel normal again... the first pic was my original tumor site... the second was my picc line, i had for the 1st 6 weeks of treatment- the insurance only covered it for high dose when i was at the cancer center daily... after that i just got poked and proded a lot... but after having these experiences i have a hard time holding onto hope that someday i will fell normal again...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Texas...

i finally have home internet again... let's hope that means i actually remember to write on this thing... we have relocated to TX from sunny San Diego, CA... i miss home... but, at the same time, this was a really good choice for our family... the little people seem to really like it here... they miss so cal too, but more bc of the people than anything... it is hard to stay strong for them when they cry bc they miss things, especially when sometimes i just wanna cry with them... i just keep reminding myself this is for the greater good... last year in october i participated in the AIM at Melanoma walk in escondido, CA... we really enjoyed it. this year i am in TX- the walk closest to me is on may 3rd... so again i signed us up... i'm not sure how my fundraising will go since i don't really know anyone here yet... but i didn't want to skip a year either... wish me luck... i haven't been to a dr since leaving san diego... i know, not good... but it's been nice to kinda get a break. my hubby is worried bc one of my many scars is getting some weird pigmentation... and we never got answers to what caused my breathing issues, or PET scan to light up last time... i am finding myself using that dreaded inhaler i hate more and more often... i am hoping its just bc of the weather change and allergies... bc in san diego it was almost always sunny & mild... not the case here... i am learning that in TX the temperature high doesn't mean it's during the daytime... and the lows aren't always at night... making new friends when you move is never easy... fortunately, the kids haven't been having too hard a time. even tho princess tells me "i only have 7 friends here... in CA i had hundreds!" i, on the other hand, have been having a harder time than usual... i've moved alot in my life... but that was all before melanoma... before i cared if anyone was or wasn't a sun worshipper... before, when i could look at strangers and not just see their moles... or sunburns/tans... i am just hoping the walk will introduce me to some new friends... that, unfortunately, understand... well, i just wanted to post a quick update... and plan to be doing so more often...