I have not posted in so long! I have totally missed all of Melanoma Awareness Month, which is celebrated in May. I also missed posting about Melanoma Monday. The first Monday is May is dedicated to Melanoma Awareness. I wore black almost every day and I spread as much awareness as I could.
I have not been posting very much lately because I have been very busy. Busy living. Something so easy, but something that I hadn't really been doing.
When I hit my 2 year cancerversary in April, I realized that on my first cancerversary, I was so happy to make the one year and I wanted to scream it from the roof tops, along with "Wear sunscreen!" "Don't tan!" and "Protect your skin!" I also wanted to celebrate BIG and we did. I was fighting melanoma the only way I knew how. By spending hours researching and educating. I wanted everyone to know how bad melanoma is. My world revolved around melanoma. I was scared of it coming back. I didn't want it to happen to anyone else.
As my 2 year cancerversary approached, I realized that I had changed. I had seen and experienced some very painful losses and I had grown in many ways. My family wanted to know what I wanted to do to celebrate. I wanted something simple. To spend a quiet night with them. They got me a cute cake and we spent the best evening together. I was celebrating just being alive, by living.
I realized that with everything that I had been doing to raise awareness, I was really forgetting the most important thing. To live my life I was so blessed to have. I was so busy working all day and night and in any free time (haha), I was educating about melanoma. My kids were growing before my eyes and I was a little preoccupied. My family had really jumped on board too and were also educating and were very proud to tell me what they had done to do so. It had consumed me in the beginning, and slowly over the next 2 years, I relaxed a little and I started becoming a part of my life again.
Losing my dear friend, Brianna, and before her, Jillian, made me realize how precious life it. And that melanoma really does suck. All Brianna ever did was live her life. She didn't spend hours dwelling on her diagnosis. She just lived her life and fought. She never let melanoma control her. She always had such a positive attitude and a huge smile. If you asked her about her melanoma, she would respond with, "Oh it is just a stupid tumor. No biggie." Her nickname was Breezy, and it suited her. Jillian, I imagine just wanted to be a normal girl. She tried not to be the girl with melanoma. She lived her life to the fullest, even though there were laced with doctor appointments.
I looked at my kids and realized how precious every single moment we have together really is. Once it is gone, you can't get it back. I had not been spending enough time with them. I had always spent time with them. They are the most important people in my world. They need me. (They are 22 and 18 now. Adults, technically, but still my babies!) I was a single Mom for years and we were a team. I had drifted into the world of melanoma and I had stopped living. I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility of my normal world and had a hard time making decisions after my diagnosis. My fiance and I hardly spent any time together. I didn't do anything with friends. I decided that I needed to make a huge change back to being myself and I have not been happier! I am their Mom again and it is my first priority.
I also have really spent some quality time on my photography business and it has made a huge difference! Anyone that knows me, knows that my passion is photography. When I was diagnosed, I went out and bought my camera I had always wanted, and started my photography business. I am happy to say that I am devoting more time to my business and it has really paid off! Some day I want to make it my full time job. Working hard to make it happen has made me extremely happy!
I am still passionate about melanoma awareness. I will never stop educating about melanoma and I will never stop sharing my story. It is definitely something that is very close to my heart. I have just decided that I need to take a lot more time to live my life. I am still around and I am not planning on leaving. I just might be a little harder to find.