It is my zodiac sign but that isn’t what I want to talk about today.
We all know someone that had or has cancer. My Meme has been diagnosed with cancer more than once. I have in the past few years lost a great-aunt, the child of a family friend, and most recently another family friend to the cancer that I was diagnosed with. That’s why this is so heavy on my heart today.
I am a survivor. In 2008, we found Melanoma in my leg. Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer there is. It’s a vertical growing cancer, a silent killer.
Here is my story:
I have always been fair-skinned with red hair. No one has ever described me as “tan”. My mom has slathered sunscreen on me since I was a small child. I have moles. One particular mole changed colors and became raised in the spring of 2008. I finally made an appointment to have it removed. The doctor told me that it was nothing and proceeded to remove it. (Me passing out on him is another story in itself, ask me one day, it’s funny.) That was on a Wednesday. The following Tuesday I received a phone call from the doctor himself. He wanted me to come in and talk to him about what he found. Long story short, I had an appointment with a surgeon the next day, pre-op on Friday and surgery on Monday. My cancer was reaching Stage 4 and it is by a miracle that it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes. I have a 5 in scar on my left leg that reminds me that I need to stay in the shade and wear SPF 3000. I also get checked head-to-toe at least once a year. This July I will be cancer-free for 5 years! My request to you, GET CHECKED!! Every year. Do it.
We all know about Relay for Life and we watch all of our favorite teams wear pink in October, but what are we really doing about it? I don’t have an answer. Wear a ribbon, whichever color you’d like. Melanom is black, childhood cancer is gold and breast cancer is pink. Purchase items that proceeds will go to cancer research, or donate directly. From what I read, some cancers can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. But please support cancer research or donate to organizations that help families with cancer. Cancer is scary but knowing you have people that support you is a comforting feeling.
I recently helped (through my job) a few kids raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. They were adorable and raised over twice their goal! Check out alexslemonade.org for more info.
Hugs of Hope is a local organization that helps families with children with cancer in many ways. Find them at https://www.facebook.com/hugsofhope
And Relay for Life Lowndes County is usually in April/May.