Monday, February 6, 2012

Melanoma Doesn't Discriminate

Today would have been Bob Marley's 67th birthday.  He passed away on May 11, 1981 at age 36 due to METASTATIC MELANOMA.  I found this out when I was first diagnosed.  Most people don't know how he died, but they know he made great music.  He still is the biggest selling Reggae artist today.  The melanoma was on his toe, under the nail.  After several injuries to his toe, he finally saw a doctor. They wanted to amputate, but he didn't believe in it.  Eventually it spread to his lungs and brain.   He didn't believe in Western medicine and delayed treatment for 4 years before it took his life. RIP Bob.

We don't hear much about melanoma in famous people.  There have been several celebrities that have had it including President Ronald Regan's daughter Maureen, who died from metastatic melanoma.  President Regan had several skin cancers removed himself.  Actress Cybil Sheppard had melanoma removed from her back.  Senator John McCain also had melanoma.  Burgess Meredith, the actor know for his role as the trainer, Micky, in the Rocky movies and the father of Jack Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men, died from a combination of melanoma and Alzheimer's.  

Melanoma doesn't discriminate.  Protect your skin by using sunscreen every day, avoid sun exposure, and see your dermatologist.  Doing monthly skin exams in addition to having regular skin screenings by a dermatologist are key in early detection.  Teach your children to take care of their skin.  And most of all...never, ever use a tanning bed, or tan outdoors, EVER!  Tanning beds increase your risk of developing melanoma by 75%!  It only takes one visit to do irreversible damage.  

Today, at work,  someone said they NEEDED to go tanning.  (yes they used the word "needed"!)  I was shocked and said, "Please don't do that!"  I was very upset!  She said it before thinking about me and my melanoma.  She didn't mean anything bad towards ME when she said it, but I took it personally.  I was kinda shocked at how quick I reacted and how I didn't hold back my feelings.  She immediately said she was sorry and looked kinda embarrassed.   I told her that if she ever decided to tan again I would show her the scar on my leg and that would change her mind real quick!   I told her to get a spray tan instead if she wanted some color.  Baby steps....I will never stop educating.  This beast needs to stop killing and destroying lives and families.  I am so sick of it. 

My daughter is in Florida right now on a trip with her dance mates.  We packed a ton of sunscreen and I reminded her to reapply every 2 hours.  I was worried that she would get burned, she is very fair skinned.  She texted me tonight, very proud of herself, that she had lots of fun and didn't get burnt!  Makes my heart full knowing that by my experience, she has leaned to care for her skin and that will be passed down to her kids, and on and on.  Maybe some day melanoma caused by sun exposure,  will be a thing of the past.  I can only hope. 


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