It has been over 2 years since my diagnosis. I have spent over 2 years trying to spread awareness of this horrible cancer. I have seen so much pain and suffering. I have cried, and I have laughed. I have changed since my journey began over 2 years ago. I celebrated quietly with my family (and a cute, yummy, little cake!), my 2 year cancerversary on April 27th.
I reflected a lot on the last 2 years. I realized that I have really gone through a lot of changes since I was first diagnosed. About 3 years ago, I was not indoor tanning, but getting ready for summer to start and that meant laying out on my lounge chair all weekend, "soaking up the rays". Getting dark was the plan and I knew how to get my tan just right. I would spend hours laying out. I would love the feeling and the time I could "get away" and relax. Funny, I don't miss it at all.
I have spent the last 2 years trying to figure out how to spread awareness and stop people from doing the very thing that has caused me so much fear, pain and sadness. I still haven't figured out how to stop people from doing it. I have witnessed a lot of people continue to do it and not really care what it can do to them. Some have even said that they don't care if they get it, because at least they will know what they are dying from, or they will look good when they are dead.
I have seen a lot of ignorance. I can't change it. I can only put the info out there and hope that they will learn from it before it is too late for them. I can keep spreading awareness and one way is by telling my story and the stories of my friends. I have not passed up an opportunity to share my story, and my photos and I never will. I still want to help change the world's views on tanning.
So, as I count my blessings at my 2 year mark, I will reflect and I will continue to go forward and spread the word that melanoma is called the beast for a reason. It has taken my friends from me and I have the fear every day that it will take me away from my family.
Trust me. It is not a great feeling to know what you may die from. When you are diagnosed with melanoma, there is so much fear. There is no sure cure. Cutting it out is painful and leaves scars that run deep.
But, the emotional scars are much worse.