Wednesday, October 16, 2013
It took a little while for me to get the courage to do it. That's surprising since at the time, I would have stood on my rooftoop and shouted my story to the world. The only reason I didn't, was because on my one-street subdivision, I am the only non-spanish speaking Latina and we are the only family that does not pop out to the neighbor's driveway to celebrate every holiday, including Fridays.(That is totally Mr. LSM's fault. With a sitter, I would SO be out there dancing and drinking it up with the best of them. ) So, the neighbors already think I'm weird enough.
I reached out to Chelsea from Adventures with my Enemy Melanoma a few times before starting,and she encouraged me to share my story, even if I never inteded for anyone to read it. Then one night, I read a post from Timna at Respect the Rays. I sat in my bathroom crying and feeling angry because I identified SO much with her story. That's when I went to my computer, tears still in my eyes, and wrote my first post.
Within a month, I had made so many new friends through Facebook and my blog. These new friends understood me. They "got" me. So I became more confident in sharing my experiences and my honest feelings, no matter how ugly they may have seemed.
I've ben all over the place emotionally since my diagnosis in June of 2012. Life, as good as it is, continues to put me wherever it wants, and I am learning to appreciate that.
- At times, I am terrified of being in the sun. Other times, I dare to expose my SPF-covered arms and legs, refusing to let melanoma be in control.
- At times I love how beautiful my pale face is. Other times I hate how white and shiny my legs are, and I am tempted to reach out for some self-tanner.
- At times I try to keep my kids inside as much as possible to protect them. Other times, I do my best not to obsess and allow them to be the children they deserve to be.
- At times I feel guilty for being a big, whiny baby when SO many of my new friends have been to Hell and back while fighting this disease, and I only had to experience a surgery. Other times, I am pissed that I even know what mlanoma is and I cry at the most random moments and places when I am reminded that this beast will always be my enemy, and I am no more special than any of the angels who were taken by this monster.
These crazy, mixed up feelings remind me that I am still alive. That I am still here to feel, to love, to hate, to be happy, to be sad, to be angry. I am learning to appreciate them and every opportunity I am given to learn more.
My original goals of changing the world and erasing melanoma as LSM are still there. I just haven't been able to do as much as I would like, because life can get in the way. And I am SO happy for that. So right now, I am still trying to educate. Still trying to spread the word whenever I can. Though a day doesn't go by when I don't look at my fellow melanoma fighters and am TRULY AMAZED at their efforts to raise money, raise awareness, and make CHANGES in laws and behavior. Sometimes, it can make me feel like what I am doing is not much of anything. But I've realized, we all do what we are good at and what we can. Maybe right now, my constant talking and harping is making a difference. I know for a fact in the last year I have heard from many friends who went to the dermatologist for the first time EVER and from friends who had suspicious moles checked out on their children's skin as well. That, my friends, makes me truly happy.
I thank you all for being a part of my journey. I thank you for your love, your encouragement, your prayers, and your understanding. I couldn't have made it this far without you. I plan on sticking around for a long, long time, and keeping you all right here with me.
As always, thank you for reading and practice safe sun!
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Hey there everyone! How would you like to receive daily updates via email on all the new posts from your favorite bloggers? I am super excited, because so often prior to using Bloglovin, I would miss many of my favorite bloggers' posts. Then I'd feel awful when I commented on how AWESOME it was - 10 days later! Now I can keep up with them daily and stay in the loop. You can follow me and all your other favorite bloggers by clicking the link to the right above my picture and signing up!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
My dad was livid.
He was yelling. I was yelling.
I had just broken the antenna on our brand new cordless phone. I couldn’t believe this was happening, not on this night, not over a stupid phone. I stormed into my bedroom.
Later, my dad knocked on the door. I expected it. My dad always apologized and said, “I love you” after arguing with one of us. But on this night, the night of my thirteenth birthday, my dad began to cry as he spoke to me. He said, “I’m sorry I yelled at you. It’s just that you’re thirteen now, and I am having a hard time dealing with it.” He paused, and then added, “I’m sad that my little girl is growing up.”
My high school graduation
Friday, June 14, 2013
- I was tired (because I was up late grading the night before AND because, even though my kids start out sleeping in their own beds, they always end up sleeping next to or on top of me.)
- I had coffee (at least 2 cups, but most likely 3).
- I was stressed because of all the work I had to do (summer is busiest for my job).
- I was angry several times during the day because of how hot it gets in June.
- I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t spending as much time as I would like with my kids.
- I was feeling guilty because I hadn’t exercised...in weeks most likely.
- I was going to start eating healthier and exercising more come Monday.
- I was looking forward to the weekend and rushing the day away.
- The only time I had spoken to God that day was to yell “Oh Lord!” or ask “Lord help me,” when I was surprised or stressed.
I was not worried about death or cancer. I was not thinking about death or cancer. And I had very little idea what melanoma was...just that it didn't sound like a good thing to have.
Ah. The difference a day makes.
ALWAYS thinking about my daddy.
(That one makes sense, just a few days before Father's Day and missing him.)
I did have a lot of fun that night!! I went to a cooking class held by Mr. LSM's company for team building. A friend of ours brought in some alcohol soaked gummy bears as a snack while we were cooking. I also wore a pair of shoes that I had been saving for some time. Within 30 minutes of them getting wet from the Central Florida afternoon showers, the heels fell entirely off. Yes, while I was at the class. I ended up wearing just the tops around. They were barely slippers. I laughed a lot that night. I was glad to be reminded.
- I was thankful for waking up and expressed that.
- I exercised and stayed as active as possible because I wanted to enjoy all that my body is capable of doing.
- My kids saw in my eyes and knew from my actions, how much I loved them and how happy I am to be with them.
- I danced at least once that day.
- I laughed every chance I got…and made people laugh just as often.
- Everyone I love KNOWS that I love him/her.
- I did my best to smile at everyone I saw that day, even if I didn’t feel like it.
- I treated my body like the temple it is and not a garbage receptacle. I used food for my for fuel and to keep my body beautiful.
- I didn’t stress about my looks. I just smiled if I wasn't feeling pretty.
So from now until July 13th, I am going to read this list to myself every morning and do my best to follow it.I expect you to hold me accountable. :)
What do you want to change? When do you want to change? I encourage you to make a list and share it with me.
As always, thank you for reading and practice safe sun.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
As always, thank you for reading and practice safe sun!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
"No. I want the Cars toothpaste.""No, this is your toothpaste.""No. '(whining commences)"Don’t you want Pony toothpaste? Aw look, pony is sad. Don't make pony sad.""No. I want Cars." (she's got a cold heart, like her dad. )"But you aren’t ready for Cars toothpaste and mommy bought the Pony one for you.""I want Cars."
Maybe one day we will read something like this, but with the words I've added.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Hello all. :)
Long time no write. It appears that I am a GREAT seasonal blogger, though I am not sure those truly exist. :) Fall and Winter are great for me. Spring and Summer I can't seem to get a minute to myself that doesn't involve the bathroom or falling asleep. Unfortunately, I have this irresistible urge to take care of my children and make sure I contribute to the financial situation in my home. Just wait until I win that Power Ball. You guys will hear from me all the time.
Today, the Friday before Memorial Day is known as Don't Fry Day. (One of the things you can go through life NOT knowing until you are diagnosed with skin cancer.) It's a day to remind everyone to protect their skin while outdoors and to not go out and fry yourself while enjoying your Memorial Day weekend. Therefore, I figured this would be the perfect time to finally share something with you that I've been withholding for a while.
Oh I got lots of "stuff." I am just not sure you can handle it all, so I share it wisely.
What I've been keeping to myself is the picture of me below. Well the double picture of me. It was taken in my early 20's to show me the underlying skin damage that had already occurred, but was not yet visible. It was also done for free during a promotion for a skin care line at a former dermatologist's office. The picture on the left is what I looked like to the naked eye. The picture on the right showed all of the lovely damage done to my skin from the wonderful Florida sun.
It's not so much the sun damage that I am embarrassed of, it's more of my expression. I mean, you stick your head in this dark box and cover the back with a black curtain. It's not exactly the situation I would smile for. It's like having your driver's license picture taken. You want to smile, but you know if you do, you will just look like a doofus. (If you don't believe me, watch this smiling girl go inside the UV box.) So you give the camera that mug shot look instead. There really should be some facial expression protocol for things like this.
But back to the purpose of the photo, to reveal sun damage that was not visible to the naked eye. Remember, this was taken in my early 20's. Also remember, from my Tanning Come Full Circle post, that I would usually cover my face when laying out or wear hats while out on the boat because I didn't want more freckles. So most of this damage occurred during my normal, everyday activities.
At the time this picture was taken, my biggest concern was getting rid of my childhood acne which was making it's way into my new found adulthood and resulting in kids drawing pictures of their math teacher with spots all over her face. (Naturally, this happened when they were upset with me.) I had no idea that ten years later, after the birth of my children, some of those "hidden" dark spots would be visible. Today, my bare face is somewhere in the middle of those two pics. And let me tell you, ladies (and men), no matter what you pay for products that promise to erase your dark marks, those mofos aren't going anywhere. Sure, they'll fade a tad and as soon as a single ray of sunshine ricochets off the gear shift in your car, onto your face, the color will come right back.
So today, I am taking a break from telling you how awful it is to get melanoma, how you don't ever want it, and how it is something that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Ok, I am sort of taking a break. Today, I am appealing to your vanity.
Let's be honest. Until something happens to us, it is VERY hard to think seriously that it will happen to us. But we all want to look good, and if we are lucky, none of us will escape the aging process. What most of us think as "natural aging" is actually a result of sun damage from our daily lives. Protecting your skin when outdoors and refraining from burning or tanning can make all the difference between looking old for your age and looking good for your age.
So this Memorial Day weekend (and the rest of your life) while you are enjoying the official kick-off of summer, have fun in the sun, but please follow the following tips on sun safety from WebMD.