Sunday, May 5, 2013

melanoma monday

before we get into melanoma monday, let's start with some fun stuff.

our weekend rocked. i was pretty much in love with this weekend and am super sad it is coming to an end. malena wanted to have one more campout night tonight, and i was tempted to say let's do it and we can all take the day off tomorrow. but one night leads to another and then pretty soon we would be camping out every night and ditching school and work. hmmmm, that does sound pretty good after all. maybe i need to reconsider my answer;)

on friday, barrett and i headed over to alderbrook, our favorite spot. we decided we would take a night to get out of town and celebrate the good scan news. it could not have been a more beautiful night. loved it. gorgeous drive down hood canal, awesome dinner. perfect friday night.

saturday morning barrett golfed with my dad, so i had a quiet solo breakfast by the water getting my fill of green tea and one of my favorite magazines (jill - this one is coming your way soon my friend;)). i followed that up with a 90 minute relaxation massage that made me so relaxed i was like a walking pile of jello.

as we always do, we took a skipping stone down to the water, made our wish, and skipped it out into the canal. i have a lot of wishes that have gone into that canal, so it brings me a lot of comfort to be there.

later on saturday i got to catch my up college girlfriends for an impromptu meet up since our superstar friend jen was in town from cali. love me some good girl time.
today was zoo day. it was a gorgeous blue sky day and the perfect day to roam around checking out all of the animals. but first we started the day off with breakfast at one of our favorite spots, and malena had her usual minnie mouse pancake;)
malena took her own pictures at the zoo, she is our little photographer who clearly gets her camera skills from her aunt denise. i love watching her take pictures, she is so focused on what she is doing and getting the exact shot that she wants.

she was also our leader carrying the map and telling us which way we should go. clearly, we all know that she gets her awesome directional skills from her mom.
we had three trips on the carousel, i don't think that we have ever been on a carousel that we haven't paid to go on at least three times. that girl loves her carousel rides.
our friend kadeena kicked it with us today and got this picture of the three of us, i think that it is one of my all time favorite pictures of the three of us. love it.

i was super hungry after the zoo and so i made my new favorite lunch. kale, cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, pine nuts, and some nutrional yeast on the top. a little guacamole on the side with some crackers. so good. every time. yum.
so the weekend comes to an end, but i am so thankful for it. it was a great one that left us with a ton of new memories. i also got caught up on our picture album for this year. i am so loving keeping current with our pictures every week, so happy i got myself to the point of following through on that promise to myself. so, so worth it.

monday is melanoma awareness day. i have seen a ton of updates on the latest statistics, stories shared of melanoma warriors, stories that are heartbreaking, terrifying, full of hope, sometimes all three combined into one story. i thought a lot about what i would write on the blog tonight on the eve of the day dedicated to melanoma. i have gone back and forth a lot on what i would post, what sites i would link to, what statistics i would focus on, etc.

but at the end of the day, i decided that my story is the best one i can share on this day focused on melanoma. i have shared my story in the 311 posts on this blog. i have shared it with all of you who read my posts via email, or your rss feed, or have been one of the 43,833 clicks on my blog since the day i started writing. i have shared it in the truths i have told you about what it is like to live with melanoma. i have shared it by telling you how scared i am, how sad i am, how guilty i am, how hopeful i am, how i wish that i could do anything to make it all go away. i have shared the physical pain, the emotional pain, and the scars that are too numerous to count. i have shared that key decisions in my life have been taken away from me, like getting to be pregnant for a second time. i have shared the countless tears that i have shed.

but on this day, i feel like it is time to share some things that i haven't shared before.

this is the very first picture i took of myself after the surgery to remove my original melanoma. it was excruciating to take this picture, i have no clue how i got that smile on my face. i knew i would never again take a picture of myself, or have a picture taken of me, that i would not see the scars around my neck reminding me every single day of the hell of living with melanoma. every single picture.

this is the first day that i started interferon treatment. i could not believe that i was at a cancer facility. i was the one hooked up to a machine dripping meds into an iv in my arm for hours. i was a cancer patient. this was my life, not anyone else's. i was in for the fight of my life and felt like i hadn't even had a chance to catch my breath since my diagnosis.

i did not realize when i started treatment that i would have the iv port in my arm for basically the entire month. that first day, when they left the port in and wrapped up my arm to send me home, you could have knocked me over. i walked around with a bandage around that port for the first month. you should see the looks on people's faces when you are out and about and they see that you have bandages around a port on your arm. most of the time it is a look of "i'm so sorry" followed by "i am so glad i am not you." i have gotten pretty use to that look now, it comes almost every time i have to tell someone i have melanoma.
this is what a biopsy on my arm looks like as it starts to bruise. the bruising gets a lot worse after this. you can probably tell, it hurts like hell.
this is what i looked like on interferon, a typical day when i felt like absolute hell. which was pretty much every single day. this picture was taken when i had lost almost all of my hair except some on the top of my head.
this is what my stitches looked like when i got the biopsy on my left arm. it also hurt like hell. this is the scar on my arm that i get to see in every single picture that shows my left arm. every single picture.

my story. i never thought this would be my story. i sometimes wonder why it has to be my story. but here is the thing, it shouldn't be anyone's story. there is no reason that it shouldn't be my story. i have been blessed with a great life. i have an amazing immediate and extended family, the best you could ask for. i am a mom to the most beautiful little girl i could have ever dreamed of who fills my days with laughter and more love that i could have ever imagined. i married the man who makes me laugh every day, and with whom i have a better life than i ever thought possible when i thought about finding the perfect one for me. i have a great job that i absolutely love, even on the toughest days. i have the best friends a girl could ever ask for. i have a lucky, lucky life - and we all know that bad things happen to good people. it happens all of the time. there is no reason why i should be an exception. don't we all want to be the cancer exception? but not everyone is, and fate deals the cards how it sees fit. i don't like the deal i got. 

so on monday i will wear black. i will wear it for those who have finished their fights. i will wear it for those that are still fighting.

i am still fighting. i plan to do it as long as it takes to kick melanoma's ass.

wear your sunscreen. make sure that you kids wear sunscreen. stay out of tanning beds. go to the dermatologist on a regular basis, go right away if you notice something changes on your skin. please. i am not fighting this fight for you to go through the same things that i have. i am going fighting this fight so that you don't have to. 

don't let me down. xoxo

1 comment:

  1. BRAVE. what a brave post. you are really living your word of 2013. hugs to you dear friend. oxoxo