So, I guess you can see why I have a problem with someone arguing with me about how healthy tanning beds are for you. (She actually said, " EVERYTHING is dangerous days, even fruits and vegetables you have to be realistic!") You know, because they clear your skin, give you a nice glow, and give you a great source of vitamin D. Instead of arguing back with her, I sent her to my blog. Let's bet she didn't click the link....
This interaction got me thinking about my past...back when I thought skin cancer was "just" skin cancer. I was the girl who believed everyone looked prettier with a tan. Oh, how that makes me cringe now. Last week the lovely woman from The Skin Cancer Foundation requested pictures of me during my tanning bed days. I thought I would show them and compare them to my new life....
Here I am in 2008 in St. John, USVI.
This is a pretty typical picture for me
prior to melanoma.
Relaxing on the beach
Relaxing before my full lymph node dissection
on the right side of neck & under left arm.
I'd much rather be on the beach, covered in sunscreen, under an umbrella,
and be SAFE.
Nothing like a white shirt to make a tan look darker.
I'm cringing as I look at this.
Wearing a similar white shirt while
hanging out during my 4th session
in the chemo suite
Before I worried about people staring at
the sides of my neck...
Crying in a Food Lion parking lot
when I was asked by a stranger
about the scars on my neck.
From feeding my baby niece...
finding out that the little mole located
on the left side of my back
will be the thing
that could possibly
prevent me from watching her grow up.
(Pssh. I am going to continue to kick melanoma's ass
but STILL! We're sharing fears here.)
So, yeah...Please excuse me for thinking that tanning beds are the opposite of healthy for you. I learned the hard way, I truly realize that. In fact, I will be the first to admit that I learned the hard way. That is why I try like hell to educate others. I share my pictures so people can see just how tough melanoma can be if not detected early. Lance Armstrong writes in his book It's Not About the Bike, "I wanted this picture so that when I got better, I would never forget how sick I've been, You have to fight." Good ol' Lance is right. Now that I am currently showing No Evidence of Disease, these pictures are reminders that melanoma wasn't some fluke thing I had to tackle. It changed every aspect of my life. Every. Aspect. Of. My. Life.
Don't learn the hard way...If you can at least try to prevent something that can ruin your life, shouldn't you take advantage of that?
And my goodness, if you can't get over the "ugliness" of being pale, at least use spray tans.
Try to avoid this place: Hotel Melanoma.