Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stages I &II 6 months out- letter to editor

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  • #20551
    BigRed1984
    Participant

    I just wanted to check in since I haven’t posted in a while/I changed my user name. I am nearing my 6 month cancerversary. My dx was in-situ but it still scared the S**T out of me. I am in my early late twenties and have a small child so I’d like to be around for a few more decades. This melanoma has caused such emotional turmoil I pray I don’t get another. I have most of the risk factors, red hair, blistering sunburns, tanning bed use, lots of moles… But I am trying to think of the positive. Hence, me not being on the cancer forums 24/7 anymore.

    I want to do something positive. I would like to write a letter to the editor in my local paper to spread awareness. I became educated on melanoma after reading an obituary for a local man my age who died of this disease leaving a wife and four very young children behind. Before this I thought melanoma was “just” skin cancer. Something that killed old people. If I hadn’t seen his obit I don’t think I would have familiarized myself with my skin and I wouldn’t have thought it was a big deal when a mole on my arm began to change. He helped save my life.

    Is it weird to want to write a thank you letter to this deceased young man, even though I don’t remember his name? I just want to thank him and give a few tips on detecting melanoma. If I can help one person it would be amazing.

    #55906
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    I would tell your own story and definitely do it. Here are some talking points from our website and do send them to our site for trustworthy info:

    TALKING POINTS ABOUT MELANOMA/SKIN CANCER

    PREVALENCE:

    • Over one million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year, outnumbering the total number of other cancers combined

    • 2000% increase in melanoma incidences since 1930 with 1 in 50 being affected

    • Most common cancer killer of young women, more common than breast cancer in ages 29-34

    MORTALITY RATE:

    • More than one person dies each hour from melanoma

    • Advanced melanoma has no effective treatment

    THE COST OF SKIN CANCER

    • Cost of treating newly diagnosed skin cancer is 1 billion dollars annually

    • Cost to medicare for treatment of melanoma is $495 million and projected to exceed $5 billion by 2010

    • The emotional and physical costs are incalculable

    THE FORGOTTEN CANCER

    • Melanoma/skin cancer is the most underfunded of all cancers by federal and private agencies

    • Early detection makes melanoma highly curable, but it is the least screened for cancer

    • People find their own melanomas more frequently than doctors do and melanoma detection is not a training requirement for most medical disciplines

    TO AVOID MELANOMA

    • Seek shade and avoid direct sun during the peak hours of 10-4

    • Cover up with protective clothing and use sunscreen lotion

    • Protect your children and role model sun safe behaviors

    • Examine your skin and that of your loved ones each season for any changes that should be checked by a dermatologist

    • Avoid tanning salons: 15 minutes is equal to a whole day’s exposure at the beach

    #55907
    Jenni
    Participant

    Hi Big Red!

    We have missed you but GOOD for you for getting out there and LIVING and not worrying and stressing and obsessing on melanoma. I try to do the same, checking in here and there, but not reading EVERYTHING I can all the time. It helps in the mental healing process to force yourself NOT to search melanoma and taking breaks from this site.

    I think it sounds great to write a letter to the editor. The more correct info out there on melanoma the better! It helps to hear from others in our shoes….and you and I are about the same….I am 32, 20 month old daughter, in situ diagnosis and all those risk factors, as you may remember!

    Best to you and your family! Enjoy your week!

    Jenni

    #55908
    BigRed1984
    Participant

    Thank you Catherine for the excellent information to use in my letter. I am really excited to change this difficult experience into something positive. Jenni, it is good to hear from you again! I remember when I was “fresh” and you told me it gets easier, I had a hard time believing you, but now I realize It does get better. Melanoma will always be in the shadows of my mind, but I am not going to let it consume me. I will post when/if the letter gets in the paper. I am concerned that it will be left out due to the constant political arguing going on in that part of the paper. But I will be persistent and keep submitting!

    #55909
    Jenni
    Participant

    I was talking to a good friend right after my diagnosis…I was telling him that I was afraid I was dying, that this was my last year on earth and he answered at the time, “IF this is your last year on earth would you want to spend it fretting and stressing about it or would you rather make it your BEST year and live and enjoy yourself?” At the time, I was like, yea you are right, but I was still in freak out mode. NOW, 2.5 years later, I try to live by this statement, always making each day count and making sure I enjoy even the most “boring” moments in life.

    Keep us posted on the letter! And keep on pushing forward, you sound as if you are doing much better. It will keep getting better with time :)

    I have my appt at Stanford beginning of Sept, by the way. Are you still going there?

    Best

    Jenni

    #55910
    cohanja
    Participant

    Brings a whole new perspective to the Tim McGraw song, “Live like you were dying”

    #55911
    Jenni
    Participant

    That song has brought me close to tears ;-)

    But overall now, I enjoy life more. Not that I am happy to have a cancer scare but it opened up new things to me. It took away my innocence in a way and made me realize I won’t live forever, I guess…but in some ways, that is good!

    #55912
    cohanja
    Participant

    It’s definitely made me more aware of my mortality, it’s also made me start wondering what happens to us when we die – what’s after death, anything? nothing? something? Are we just bags of cells and water that, when we die, just go underground and deteriorate and that’s it, all of who we were, all of what we were, all of our being. . is just gone? Or, is there something after death? I never thought about those things before this diagnosis. But I guess that’s natural.

    #55913
    BigRed1984
    Participant

    Jenni, Yes I am still going to Stanford. I don’t have another appointment until DECEMBER! It will be hard to wait that long but after 6 months I know which weird moles are just weird and everything seems to be stable. I did mole mapping but I still have to pick up my CD, it’s a 2 hour journey each way to Stanford so I have been taking my time.

    I really try to enjoy each day and stay present in the moment, not letting my mind obsess over the what if’s and why’s. It’s a very difficult process. I am starting to think about having another child. Right after my diagnosis I had decided I was done, that it was too risky but now I’m not so sure.

    Cohanga, I agree about trying to figure out life’s mysteries. I have become MORE spiritual now, experiences in my life have made me feel that there is SOMETHING, a force that connects everything. I’m not sure about reincarnation and all that Jazz but I’m not convinced that there isn’t something wonderful awaiting us.

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