Monday, April 30, 2012


I get a lot of joy when I read articles in magazines regarding the dangers of skin cancer. A lot of the information that is out there is only shared within the Melanoma community, so it is a nice change when I see an article in a magazine that caters to every day women.

Self posted a good article for those not yet residents of Hotel Melanoma. The article discusses how the rise in melanoma is an epidemic. They interviewed Marina Peredo, M.D., F.A.A.D, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and founder of Marina I. Peredo, M.D., P.C. Dermatology and Spatique Medical Spa in Smithtown, N.Y, who believes tanning beds are as dangerous as smoking and unprotected sex.

The article goes on to list ways to protect yourself from skin cancer. Read list here.

My favorite quote from the entire article is this, "With melanoma, the difference between life and death is early detection," she says. "A lot of people think, 'Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.'" No. "If something looks unusual or different -- get it checked. A lot of the time it's nothing, but that's OK! Don't be scared of the unknown," says Dr. Peredo. "But if you do find that something is wrong, get it off your body."

That is advice we need to share, folks.

Share it.

Remember, May begins Skin Cancer Awareness month. How are you going to raise awareness?

Don't forget to find me on Facebook:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kidding, but Not Kidding.

Just read this on Twitter (Follow me-- Melanoma_Diva--I'm still learning!)

"Half the girls in this school won't even be at the high school reunion in 20 years because they'll have died of skin cancer. #kiddingbutnotkidding."

Now, let me ask you, if your teenager is not allowed to smoke, why should they be able to tan?

Let's fix this before more young folks join us in Hotel Melanoma.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It was brought to my attention that I need a quick and safe way to update people about Melanoma outside of my blog. Introducing my new Facebook page. 

Please "Like" my page & share it! Let's get the message out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rash Pathology Report

I received a call from the very sweet--I will be scheduling to see her from now on--dermatologist at Sloan Kettering today. The pathology report of my rash came back supporting the two things Dr. Lee mentioned. Basically, the pathology report was not definitive, except that I have no need to stress.

1) It could be eczema brought on by the drug I am (possibly) receiving. According to the pathology report, it could be possible. She mentioned eczema but then quickly jumped into what she really thinks is causing the rash

2) She believes the rash is caused by the inflammation of capillaries that have ruptured which allows small amounts of blood to accumulate in the surrounding tissues. This is usually seen in children. She said it is usually located on the belly, booty, and legs, but can also been seen on the upper parts on your body. It can also cause joint pain a few weeks before the rash appears. (HELLO, Y'ALL REMEMBER THE PAIN/SWELLING I HAD IN MY HANDS FOR A FEW WEEKS?!! It is completely gone now!) She believes it could be a new response from the drug.

Dr. Lee said I am quite an unusual case so she is going to present it to her group of colleagues on Thursday to hear their opinion. She repeated again that it is usually seen in children so this is unique. She said we may have to do some further testing; however, it is VERY possible we will just let my body heal on its own. She feels certain that it is nothing serious. That is the most important part.

I would post updated pictures of my rash, but quite frankly, I did not feel like shaving my legs today. ;-) The rash IS healing--without medication--but it is still covering my legs. Dr. Lee said that the vessels in legs heal the slowest so she believes it will just take time. I will find out on Thursday/Friday if further testing and treatment is needed.

It will be interesting to see if this happens again closer to my next treatment date!

This is not the first time a doctor has told me my case is unusual. I never do like the sound of that, but at least I make for a non-boring patient, right?

There is always a positive.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Realization

I found out today that one of my (very supportive) sorority sisters is still using the tanning bed. She said that she knows the dangers, she sees what is happening with me, but once or twice won't kill her. I have not seen her or talked to her about her (addictive?) tanning habits, I assumed that based on how supportive she has been with me, she began to value her skin and quit visiting Home of Melanoma--AKA the tanning salon. It makes me sad to know that a tan still exceeds the risks for her.

What can ya do though? She has to make the decision that is best for her. I know that. I support that. I just hope she learns before melanoma happens to her or someone she loves. I know that for this one girl who is still tanning there are SO MANY others who have stopped. I am so proud of them. These people have realized that the risks just aren't worth the "healthy glow." Sure, people may tease them about their "pale" skin, but so what? Not only are they taking out a risk factor for melanoma, they are going to have far prettier skin than their friends. Hello, what's attractive about  looking wrinkled and leather-ish?

See what the Today Show had to say this past week about skin cancer:

My heart sank a bit when I heard about this sorority sister. But like Ms. Lovato said, the only person who can save you is yourself. All I can do is put the information out there and hope that she will "get it" before she actually gets it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shout Out

I was browsing my News Feed on Facebook tonight and I realized that although I am celebrating my good news, some of my friends are struggling. This message is for them.

My Cancer Friends inspire me so much more than any celebrity. These folks are the real rock stars.

Special love goes out to Jennifer & Ron tonight. You know you have prayers coming from Virginia.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Red Shoe Problems

My oncologist, The Wizard, when he saw my red shoes:
"Red shoes? How appropriate."

Do you think he reads my blog?!

Now that I have accepted the fact that my oncologist knows he is The Wizard and my Sloan Kettering surgeon knows she is Glinda, I can tell you about my latest visit to MSK. My appointment was on Friday at 9 am, and after the vampires took 16 tubes of blood from me, I headed in to see The Wizard. He did not even get through the exam room door before he said "Hi. Your scans are fine." He remembered! Again! I hate making small talk until he tells me the results of my latest scans. I mean, what's the point? I am not listening to the small talk, I am analyzing his behavior. Is he being cheerful because he has something bad to tell me? Is he being quiet because he has something bad to tell me? When is he going to tell me?! Ever since I told him he could not keep me waiting to hear the results, he jumps right into our appointments. Then we laugh.

Unlike a normal clear scan visit, we actually had to chit chat because of the rash that is covering my body. He told me that he has not seen anything like it. He insisted I get seen by a dermatologist that day. The Wizard and the nurse Mary openly questioned if I should receive treatment, but he said that even if the rash is a side effect of Yervoy, it is a mild side effect. Sure, it is covering both legs almost entirely, both upper arms, my right wrist, my stomach, and my hips, the rash is not itching or causing me any pain. He said the Yervoy rash is typically tiny red dots. Mine is red/orange splotches with dots mixed in together. We said our "See you in 3 months" parting words and off to the 10th floor I went.

I saw Dr. Lee at MSK. I am actually using her real name because she is so sweet. I would refer any of my friends or family to her. Plus, I loved her Tony Burch shoes. I was first seen by the resident dermatologist. She examined me closely then Dr. Lee came in. She did not sugarcoat things. She flat out said she was not sure what the rash was. She had two ideas: Eczema brought on by the drug (I totally disagree because there's no texture AT ALL.) However, I understand that eczema is sometimes just a discoloration of skin. Her second--and the one that the resident believed too--was something that even though I asked her 3 different times what it was called, I do not have the slightest idea. It's something that is common in children, the blood vessels have become inflamed. Why does she believe the blood vessels are inflamed? The drug! She did a punch biopsy (on my tush!!!!) and I should be hearing the results in the next few days.

Oddly, since I received my treatment on Friday, the rash is starting to go away. Maybe my body was craving the drug/placebo? It seems odd, that is all.

Your thoughts and prayers got me through another scary experience. I say this often, but I don't think people know how much it means to me to have so many people on my side. It really does make this less scary.

I have some exciting news to share with you about the Skin Cancer Foundation. Must sleep first!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcake

with a red velvet cupcake 
in the chemo suite!

Your thoughts & prayers worked yet again. THANK YOU.

More to come later...I am exhausted!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sleepless in Manhattan

I had an amazing day today that I cannot wait to blog about, but tonight I am full of anxiety and fear. My scans went fine, I will receive the results tomorrow morning at 9 am. I am SO ready to see The Wizard not only because I want to hear my scan results, but I want him to see this rash. My legs are COVERED. It is now on my right wrist, both arms, tush, hips, stomach, and COVERING my legs. There still is not a texture to the rash, it's a discoloration of skin. I really want him to tell me what's wrong. I need to know so that I can fix it.

My friend Nick that I asked you to pray for? He received good news today. I'll let him be the one to share his news, but I wanted you all to know that he DID have a good day today. I am so happy for him.

It is 11:00 pm and I have a very long day ahead of me so I guess I should attempt to get some shut eye. Please let sleep come soon...

Prayers, good juju, and love are all greatly appreciated right now. There is one nervous girl in NYC tonight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's Time!

The time has come again for my 3 month scans and treatment session in NYC. This time I am READY to see The Wizard. I want him to look at the rash covering my arms, legs, and belly, and tush. Rash update:

I called my dermatologist at Sloan yesterday and tried to schedule an appointment with him. I was told his first available appointment is in August. Obviously, that will not work for me. I called The Wizard and asked to speak to my favorite nurse. She called me back about 30 minutes later and asked that I email her updated rash pictures. I sent them to her last evening and another nurse called back today saying they would definitely get me in with someone on Friday. Yes! It is needed! 

Here is my schedule for the next few days:

*I fly out of Roanoke tomorrow morning. I will meet Mom & head into the city. 
*Thursday I have a special meeting with my friends at The Skin Cancer Foundation. (More to come on that later!)
*Thursday at 3 pm I have my scans. Woo! Scan juice! (Gag.)
*Thursday night I have a dinner with 2 special ladies--We are members of a group called Cancer Chicks. I am looking forward to meeting up with them in person!
*Friday morning I meet with The Wizard at 9 am for a check-up and scan results. *Prayers please.*
*Depending on results, I will head to the Chemo suite for my next treatment session.

I have a fellow Molemate who is also receiving scan results this week. Please pray that Nick hears that his drug is shrinking his tumors. He's a great guy. Check out his blog:

If you could send some prayers our way, I know we both would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Share This!

"Here’s a generally good rule of thumb: when doctors, dermatologists, and scientists link a purely recreational, easy-to-avoid behavior like tanning to cancer, and the people who are making money off that purely recreational, easy-to-avoid behavior try desperately to refute them, it’s best to err on the side of science and safety."
~Hanna Brooks Olsen

OK, stop reading my blog and go read this article! Share it! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

25 Candles.

I never knew how thankful I would be to turn a year older until the possibility of not aging became real. Today I add another candle to my birthday cake, and in all honesty, I could not be more grateful. I wish to add as many candles to my cake as I possibly can. This girl does not fear old age!

As today is Easter, we celebrated my birthday last night. Mr. Spots gave me the most beautiful ring to help remember this special day.

My mom visited last weekend and insisted I wear one of my presents from her on my actual birthday:
After all, a special birthday deserves a special Lilly Pulitzer.

Both of my sisters and their significant others joined us for a night on the town:

I am so grateful for the love that I am shown every single day, but especially thankful for the extra love today. I am an incredibly lucky and thankful 25 year old. (25! Where did time go?!!! I still feel like I should be 15...) As always, when it comes down to it, I am just thankful to be alive. It is that simple.

I think I will start planning my 50th birthday party tomorrow!  ;-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another Reason

...why you should warn your friends, daughters, brothers, and children about the dangers of melanoma.

Amy was only 29 years old.

Prayers and thoughts are with her family tonight.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rash Update

I am still splotchy.
 My legs (both of them!) are not pretty anymore.
It's a non-textured rash randomly on my legs
and belly.

It is weird.

I sure hope it is still there on April 13th so I can show
 The Wizard (AKA my oncologist) in person.

At least it doesn't hurt or itch! And at least the little area on my face can be covered with make-up!

There is a plus side, I guess! ;-)

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Aim at Melanoma -

Aim at Melanoma -

Please consider supporting me in November 2012's AIM at Melanoma walk in North Carolina. Last year was such a special opportunity and I really cannot wait to participste again.

Thank you for your continued support in my fight against this ugly cancer.




Melanoma is in the news today! Did you all see it? If not, check out the links below! 
       *Oh, the dangers of tanning beds....
 **Notice how he says that the rise of melanoma in young women is almost an epidemic.

Share these with your friends. We need to educate!