The best part of blogging is meeting all the wonderful people I’ve connected with in the last two years. There’s a certain anonymity about writing a blog that I think allows us to open up in ways we might not feel comfortable doing face to face. Through that, we gain friends and support. Friends we may never meet but who we care deeply about just the same.
A few days ago I wrote a post about skin cancer, a cautionary piece about this serious disease. Through it I’ve been reminded of one former co-worker who lost her eight-year-old son to that disease. It was an extremely rare case, and they had the best doctors in the nation caring for him. As happens so often in someone that young and otherwise healthy, it was also a very aggressive case.
She’s doing well now, has re-married a fantastic man, but never had any more children.
I also have a new follower, Jo, who is in her twenties and has been living with melanoma for 11 years now. Please check out her blog, Melanoma Jo, to learn her story. I understand from one of her posts that she is part of an upcoming BBC documentary. I’m looking forward to seeing it!
Thank you to all of my followers, new and “old.” I try to check out everyone’s blog from time to time, and I apologize if I don’t get to yours right away. I will see it soon! If you leave comments on my blog, I’m certain to get back to you more quickly. That is, if I can link to your blog through your gravatar. That’s often the only way I have of finding you, so I encourage you to list your blog(s) there.
One of my blogging buddies, loisajay (I know many of you are already acquainted with her blog, …on pets and prisoners…) has been fighting skin cancer since the beginning of the year. Or longer. She’s had multiple surgeries, tons of chemo, and a few other treatments I don’t know enough about to describe. It’s been icky.
If you’ve spent any time in the sun, you need to know about skin cancer. Here’s why: skin cancer can grow inside you without developing too much evidence on your skin. If you’ve had any sort of procedure for skin cancer, even if you didn’t require additional treatment, such as chemotherapy, you are at risk for that cancer spreading anywhere in your body.
I am not a medical expert, so I went to a few well-established medical sites to get some solid information, such as the Mayo Clinic site and the American Cancer Society site. I encourage you to take a look (for both sites I looked up and linked to the information on melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.)
Here’s a direct quote from the Mayo Clinic site:
The first melanoma signs and symptoms often are:
A change in an existing mole
The development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth on your skin
Melanoma doesn’t always begin as a mole. It can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin.
Why is this important? Because women and men my age grew up in an era where worshipping the sun, and getting as tan as possible, ruled. Today, many are paying the price. It’s high, especially if it’s melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is a less common, but more serious cancer than most skin cancers.
Apparently, the risk is increasing in people under 40 as well, especially women. Tanning isn’t the only culprit, but that does greatly increase your chances of getting skin cancer.
I don’t want to scare you unnecessarily, but I do want you to be aware of this risk. If you spent hours cultivating a tan as a teenager (or any other time in your life), check with your doctor about your risk factor and what you should be doing now to stay ahead of this disease.
I’m thrilled to say Lois had made remarkable progress in her battle against melanoma. I just wish she’d never had to face it in the first place.