Friday, December 20, 2013

This is JUST Skin Cancer

This is "JUST Skin Cancer".
This is JUST over 20+ stitches.
This is from JUST Stage 1B melanoma.
This is JUST from tanning.

Still think it is "JUST skin cancer"?

#geteducated #stoptanning #melanomasucks #notjustskincancer #besunsmart

Balancing Act

It has been awhile since I have written!  I have missed it,  but at the same time, I have not.  I have been very busy with my photography business and have literally no free time, which is good!  I work during the day as a medical assistant in a doctor's office and that takes about 50 hours of my time a week. So, I have very limited time during the evenings and weekends.  I have been feeling rather "normal" finally! Trying to figure out how to balance it all has been kinda hard though.

I did have to admit that I have felt so "normal" that I have sorta kinda put off my responsibilities as a melanoma patient.  I have sorta kinda not been going to the dermatologist. Or doing skin checks. Or wearing SPF.  Or posting anything on Facebook melanoma related. Or blogging.  I guess I kinda sorta took a melanoma vacation.  Why? Because, I could.  It was something I could control. I am always looking for control of things since my diagnosis.  It took me awhile to figure that out.  When I feel I have lost control of something, I shut down.  I can hardly function.

 I was told by everyone of my docs that I am fine.  And I have seen a few.  Even got a second opnion and even though I felt better, I still felt like I was getting lost in the shuffle somehow. So, I dangerously started telling myself that I am fine. Why waste the money and the time on appointments. Why waste the time STRESSING all the time! I had better things to do than let melanoma have control.  Besides, I was tired.  Tired of thinking about melanoma.  Tired of it all.  So I took control back and ignored melanoma.  Take that melanoma!

I know.  What an idiot.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks one day last week that I was being pretty stupid.  My fiance says it was probably my friend Briana whacking me upside the head.  He is probably right!  So, I put on my big girl pants, and just to make sure I fessed up to it, put the whole dirty secret on Facebook for all of my Facebook friends to see.  I figured I would get a lot of people telling me I should practice what I preach, and I was wrong.  I got the most outpouring of love and concern and understanding ever.  I had people tell me that they could relate and understand that it was much more fun to ignore going for biopsies, and cutting and stress of melanoma.  But, they also reminded me that early detection is what saved my butt the first time. My friends are the best.  They of course understand my fears and needs.  But, I knew what I needed to do before hearing it.  I guess I really wanted people to know that I am not perfect.  I don't always listen to my own advice.  I felt it is important to continue to be honest about everything with this journey.  Even to myself. 

So I called my PCP and got a referral to a dermatologist the next day, and it happened to be one I had heard of years ago, and my sister had seen.  She liked him a lot.  I made the call and they got me in fairly quickly.  I felt so good afterward.  I had an appointment  and I was getting back on the horse! 

I met Dr. K yesterday and I was very nervous, but excited at the same time.  I really was hoping that nothing would look odd enough to warrant a biopsy, but as he said, I am a 'very mole-y girl".  There was one spot on my arm that he didn't like.  I had never liked it either.  He called it "smudgey" looking.  I pointed out the itchy mole that I had on my tummy.  The one that used to itch like crazy when I was a tanaholic.  But, none of my other dermatologist's, or doctors ever thought anything of it.  Even the U of M doc didn't think it was anything.  Dr. K simply said, "If it has EVER itched, it is gone."  I like him! 

He said he really isn't worried about either of them, but I know that looks can be deceiving and he was probably just trying to not make me worry.  I am just going to pray on it.  A lot.  I don't really have time for melanoma.  But I DO have time for my check ups and my skin checks.  I made a promise to myself that I will never slack off again.

I just need to find the balance in the journey.  I can't let it run my life, but I can't turn my back on it either.  I need to live my life, but I need to be here to do it.  I will figure it out!  Life is my new journey.  I will keep you posted on the results!