Friday, November 11, 2011

You Never Let Go

I had this song on my mind this morning.  I haven't heard it in a while, so after 2 hours of singing the chorus in my head, I had to come find a video.  I have now listened to it and sang along at least 5 times.

Hearing that you have melanoma is like leaving the station on a roller coaster ride.  No matter where you are in your journey, it has it's ups and downs.  You feel fear with your diagnosis. Hope with your treatment. Anger and love towards your scars. Anxiety before scans, relief at good reports, tested patience as you wait for biopsy results.  Periods of numbness and exhilaration. You feel loved. You feel alone. You feel stupid and exiled in the shade. You feel comfort. You seek wisdom.  It is all over the place, up and down and around and around.

Isn't it such a wonderful and comforting feeling to know that no matter what, God never lets go?   He is there through the calm and through the storm.  Through every high and every low.  So thankful that no matter what, we aren't alone. God never lets go, no matter what or where we are on this journey called life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

UV Free Tanning

Before melanoma, I didn't seek out a tan, but I did like for my freckles to pop a little more, and for the dark circles under my eyes to blend a little more than they do now.  Unfortunately, once I was a teenager, the tan was harder to achieve, but the freckles were not.  I would turn a little pink, then freckle.  My face would show a little, faint, color, and really freckle.  It was never bronze, or tan, just a little pink.  I learned to use powder bronzers on my face to help with the color so it looked less pink and more golden.  Then for my arms and legs, I would use either a sunless tanner cream or one of those moisturizing lotions that would help take me from the pink/red tint to the golden tint I preferred.

Since my melanoma diagnosis, I have had no desire to look tan.  I really don't.  I find myself even getting annoyed if I am outside for a few minutes, with sunscreen, and my freckles multiply.  My sunless tanner and moisturizer are collecting dust (probably should throw out due to age) and my bronzer is now used as blush.  Tip, if you have freckles and cant find a blush that doesn't look too pink or orange because of them, try a powder bronzer. I also use it sometimes as eye shadow (use a brush), when I want some subtle color.

So the other day, I drove by a sign advertising UV FREE TANNING.  I was happy to see this sign, but then it became bitter sweet, because I looked back at the building and it was a regular old tanning salon. Glad because I think if you feel the need to look tan, spray tan is the way to go, but then the only place I know of to get a spray tan is a tanning salon.  I came home and did a quick search online for local places that do spray tans and the primary service for all of them was tanning beds, not the spray tans.  I don't know anyone who owns their own spray tan kit, but would love for a couple to trade in their in-home tanning beds for them.

My personal opinion, and I'm sure some would say I am being overly sensitive, but I don't think I could ever step foot in a tanning salon again.  Not for the urge to tan.  I don't think I could do so without saying anything, and right now that would probably come out more emotional than it would productive.  Someday maybe.  Right now though, no.

In my local search, I did not find a single place that offered only sunless or UV free tanning.  Or one that offered it, but without a tanning bed too.  This was very disappointing to me.  It has me wondering why.  Is this a business that would not survive?  I wonder if it is a business to look into.  I wonder if one of the local spas would consider offering it.  I want to look into this more, find out if there is a location that offers sunless tanning without the UV beds.  There has to be a market for it, even if you don't market it as being exclusively UV free, it just happens to be that way.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall Festival Season

I mentioned recently that I was inspired after attending a fall festival and my daughters reaction to seeing me bringing the sunscreen from the car.  Since then I really have felt that this is the right thing to do.  I have been to several more fall festivals.  In the south, we are still wavering between short sleeves and thin long sleeves or hoodies.  Thankful that I don't live in a colder climate.

This past Saturday, I took my daughter to a local church festival.  It was a cooler day, very windy, but sunny.  After a couple of hours, I was noticing lots of pink cheeks.  Now, some of that may have been from the wind, my lips definitely got chapped, but I think it was mostly from the sun.

Monday, Halloween, there were two festivals.  The first is the one that I really want to talk about.  It was at my daughters school, just for the two Pre-K classes, and I was a volunteer.  I was assigned to do face painting.  Not what I signed up for, I actually told them that I would do anything but face painting.  At the Saturday festival, I ran into one of the teachers and she told me what I would be doing.  So I had plenty of time to mentally prepare myself.

I got there early and was helping a teacher set up. It was chilly in the shade, but warm in the sun.  I asked her if I could be positioned in the shade, but as we set up that did not happen.  I understand trying to keep the kids out of the shade, since it was also a little damp, the shade was cool, but I was really panicking.  Yes, I had on sunscreen and my spf moisturizer and make up.  When another parent came in costume, I actually considered the possibility of using my hood as added protection.

I wonder if some day the thought of spending an hour in the sun, mid-day, is not going to put me in panic-mode.  I know that other than my daughter, most of my family thinks I am overreacting when I scramble for sunscreen for short bursts of outside time.  I don't like that, but the sun is the reason I have this scar on my arm and all these biopsy spots that look like cigarette burns or eraser sized divots.  I get so frustrated sometimes that they don't get it, or want to get it.  I wish I could be more relaxed when I know I have on sun protection, but SEEK SHADE is not something to ignore either.  I know that it isn't going to happen, although I pray for the ability to relax and maintain my composure and embrace the moment, it will never leave the back of my head.

In that hour that passed very quickly, I painted about 20 faces or hands.  I couldn't help but notice all the pink cheeks.  I also noticed that my snow white daughter did not turn pink, even though she did not leave my side in the spotlight of the sun. It wasn't a big ordeal for her, she got her sunscreen as she got dressed in the morning. I really cant wait for the opportunity to speak with parents about the importance of sun protection.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Long Overdue Update

I was just opening two more letters from my insurance/doctors when I realized that I did not update about following up with them after my mammogram and ultrasound.  I seem to always be on the go lately.  You know the life of a stay at home mom, always on the go, but when someone asks what you have been up to "not much".  

I talked to my doctor on Thursday when she called to tell me that my results were fine.  I asked her if the lymph nodes are supposed to show up on the scans and explained that I was concerned since I have had melanoma already.  She basically said it isn't abnormal so she isn't concerned, but that if I am still feeling the pain to come see her again before Christmas.  I felt a lot better after talking to her, and each of these emails and letters I get (email and letter each from the doctor and radiologist, for both the mammogram and ultrasound), I feel less blown off.  

I haven't been assigned an appointment yet, but I go back in December for my 3 month skin check with my dermatologist, so I will be sure that she knows that this was going on, and if it is still bothering me, find out what her thoughts are too.