Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Am Somebody.

Melanoma Awareness Month is going out with a bang for me! This has been such an exciting day that I do not even know where to begin. First of all, thank all of you for putting up with my many Facebook posts this month. Just a warning, they won't be ending just because May is over. As one melanoma friend told me, we are lifers when it comes to sharing awareness!

I rushed home during my lunch break to pick-up a box from Fed-Ex today. The box contained copies of the 2012 Skin Cancer Foundation Journal!

As I have mentioned before, I am so honored to have played a part in the Skin Cancer Foundation's journey toward raising awareness. I think the Foundation itself is incredible and the people who work for them are absolutely amazing. The folks that I met in the office in April were so kind and inspirational. They, without a doubt, are saving lives. I want to thank them again for including me in this project.

What project am I mentioning? I was a part of their article about teenagers who have used tanning beds. I was included with 2 other girls as the new Faces of Melanoma. You can read the article online here; however, I encourage you to purchase the entire Journal for $5.00!

While you are reading the Journal, I encourage you to check out their new program geared towards middle school students. Maybe you can encourage your own local teachers to use this free program to educate their students on the dangers of skin cancer. Oh, and you can check out the interview I did with them here, too! (There are two parts to the interview. One, on the page I linked above and also here.)

As if the release of the Journal was not exciting enough, I also was notified that 2 of my articles were published today on Everyday Health. I would love it if you check out these articles as well. I am proud of both of them. I would love to hear what you think.

One more bit of exciting news, I received my first paycheck for writing. As a lady with a degree in English, I never imagined I would actually accomplish the dream of making a (small) living by sharing the thoughts in my big ol' head. Today, it was shocking to look at that little sum in my bank account and know that someone valued my words enough to slip me a few dollars. I didn't think I had the ability. Heck, I still don't think I have the ability, but I am so proud of myself. I am making my dreams come true. (Oh, and I am using that expensive college degree.)

When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to read the words of people who had experienced this cancer. I wanted a campaign that would encourage me and tell me the truth. I didn't want to just read the facts, I needed to read about the experience. I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so after the advice from my mom, I started this blog. I started something that I needed.

...and I am doing things.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mental Health Week

You may be wondering why I have not posted anything in over a week. There is one reason and one reason only. I am furious at melanoma. Between the news about my sweet "Mole Matey" and hearing that one of my first melanoma friends has received bad news after being clear for over a year, I'm ticked off at this damn cancer.

I cried a lot last week. I'm not the girl who cries often. It takes quite a bit to get me to that point (romance movies and the Star Spangled Banner *don't ask* don't count) so it was an emotionally draining week for me. I was mad because there was not a gosh darn thing I could do to help those who were hurting.

I took a little break from blogging for my own sanity. I'm still on that break; however, I wanted to share this with you.

My molemate, Donna, testified today in Chicago with hopes to ban minors from using tanning salons. I am so proud of her for sharing her story and having the courage to do so in such a public way. You rock, Donna!

Read the article here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My "Mole-Matey."

Shawnda first messaged me on Facebook on June 25, 2011 after she found my blog. Shawnda was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in March 2011. Because of our similar stories, Shawnda found comfort in my blog. In June of 2011 Shawnda was finishing biochemo to treat the melanoma that had QUICKLY advanced to stage IV. She wrote to me, "As of today scanning clear and doing radiation with possibly one more round of biochemo just to make sure everything is gone." Things went downhill soon after that message.

Today, at 5:26 AM, Shawnda took her last breath. She leaves behind a supportive husband, 6 beautiful children, and many friends and family. Shawnda was only 36 years old.

For my One Year Cancer-Versary Shawnda wrote me a letter, "I hope and pray that knowing you and the hope and drive you have will inspire me to be that to someone else and to be able to give them hope." Well, Shawnda, you have already been that to so many of us. You fought a brutal battle, girlfriend, a brutal fight. I know that so many of us gained inspiration, hope, and courage by watching you approach your fight with such class, sass, and that smile.

I love you, "mole-matey."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dr. Oz Strikes Again.

We spent our gorgeous Saturday at a local wine fest covered in sunscreen and fabulous hats! While browsing the vendors prior to sipping the wine, I was stopped by a gentleman selling some pill that is supposed to be the cancer miracle drug. The man began listing all of the cancers and he mentions skin cancer. Of course, I could not stay silent.

Me: "Huh. That's interesting. I have stage III melanoma."
Him: "You did?"
Me: "I do."
Him: "Well, of course it does not cure cancer, but it decreases your chances of getting it. Dr. Oz recommends it."
Me: "Dr. Oz also recommends tanning beds."

And I went to enjoy my wine.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Choptank Trot!

I had a wonderful time last weekend. Mr. Spots, my baby sister, and I traveled to Cambridge, Maryland to meet my mom & step-dad and participate in the first Choptank Trot for Melanoma! It was a beautiful day, a gorgeous location, and a great bunch of people! 

*My mom made team shirts:
"Team Chelsea
Supporting the fighters,
Admiring the survivors,
honoring the taken,
and never, ever giving up 

I also had the true pleasure of meeting one of my Molemates for the first time in person! Lynette is a stage IV (badass) melanoma warrior. She kicked butt in the 5K! She is just as sweet and fun as I thought she would be in person. I am looking forward to meeting up with her and her (awesome) husband Mike in Chincoteague sometime in the very near future. Lynette and Mike, this time I think we should include tequila. Yes? 

Tasha is the melanoma warrior who organized this event. She deserves a lot of respect for this. It was a great run/walk and very well organized. I can't wait to see what she does next year! I imagine this will double in size next year! 400 runners/walkers? I totally see it happening! Sadly, we didn't take a picture, but I want to thank Tasha for the shout-out during her speech. Because she talked about finding my blog when she was first diagnosed, I was able to meet another blog reader. Mary Sue, thank you for coming up to me and sharing your story! I am looking forward to getting together for lunch sometime soon! Until then, take care of yourself, little lady. You've had one heck of a fight!

I really enjoyed the walk and being surrounded by others who have been touched by this disease.

Speaking of this disease....Have you seen Susan's interview with her local news?
*Did you hear about Miss Grace, the YOUNG girl with melanoma? If a 4 year old can fight this battle, you can too. Chin up.
* Perez Hilton, a famous celebrity blogger, blogged about the dangers of tanning beds here. 
* Follow my blog on!

...Must go catch up on sleep now. I hope you are all healthy and happy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Kid's Reaction

The folks in Hotel Melanoma owe Mrs. Tan Mom. Because of her ridiculousness, we are receiving all kinds of publicity! I could not be more pleased especially considering it's Melanoma Monday!

As most of you know, there is a little 5 year old boy in my life named G. He is my boyfriend's pride and joy, and of course, he holds a special place in my heart. He knew that I had "been on TV" last week and he had been asking a lot of indirect questions about it. Saturday morning, when it was just the 2 of us, G asked if he could watch the interview. We curled up on the couch and began watching.

 G was witness to my healing process last year after my surgeries, and to this day, refers to the "hole" in my neck and shoulder (damage from full lymph node dissection) as my "boo boo." He was in a full discussion with me during the interview about how my "boo boo" still hurts and that he has to be careful with me.

 Then, mid-sentence, he yelled, "AHHHHHHHHHH!"

His reaction to the New Jersey Tan Mom could not have been more perfect had I written the script myself!

After G got over the initial shock, he looked up at me with disgust and said, "She painted her face with polish!"

I could not stop laughing. Even a 5 year old understands how scary she looks.

Thanks, Tan Mom, you scared the kid. I don't think he'll forget your face--or the need for sunscreen-- anytime soon!

(Speaking of laughing, did you see the SNL skit this weekend ?_

Oh, one last thing. I have started a little part-time job writing for Everyday Health. I would love if you could check out my FIRST published article! I am so excited! I am finally making a few dollars thanks to my expensive college degree!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"What's a Sunburn?" UV Skinz!

Today I am honoring a company that I believe in: UV Skinz. I encourage you all to check out their site and order something during the month of May. When you order an item, you will receive a  swim shirt for a baby! You can choose to give it to your own child, donate it to your favorite chubby cheek niece or nephew, or find an organization that could use it. Let's protect the innocent from sunburns!   

My blog followers have been given a 15% discount. 
Use this code: BLOGS15

UV Skinz is giving away free UV Protective Baby Swim Shirts to all customers who place an order this May in honor of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. UV Skinz, your one-stop shop for UV Protective Sunwear, wants to ensure that even the youngest members of our families are given proper protection against skin cancer, which is dangerously on the rise in babies, children and teens. This is the fifth year in a row that UV Skinz has generously given away swimwear for their cause. Help them meet their goal of giving away 7,500 swim shirts for babies! Just visit to learn more!
UV Skinz was started after Rhonda Sparks lost her 32-year-old husband to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.  It was this experience and being left to raise their three young boys on her own that gave her the determination to help bring products to the market that can help families live sun safe, while never forgetting how important it is to LIVE and HAVE FUN outdoors!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Young Woman's Enemy: Skin Cancer"

I kept telling everyone yesterday that there must be a full moon because I was having a ridiculously crazy day!

Then I opened my email: "I saw your video and blog. Wow, good for you for speaking out! I work with Dr Drew on HLN’s Dr Drew. We are discussing tanning beds and melanoma tonight on our show. Any way you can join us via phone or skype or on camera? We are on at 9pm et. Thanks." She posted her phone number. Honestly, when I first read it, I thought it was a joke.

I emailed the person back, then I decided it was best to call because I wanted to see if it was a scam or not. A lady answered immediately, "Headline News!" I introduced myself and began a great conversation with the lady who had emailed me. It was legitimate. They wanted me on their show.

The show went well. Dr. Drew was very kind to me and I have nothing negative to say about him or the show itself. I knew going into it that the topic was about the crazy tan New Jersey mom who allegedly took her 5 year old daughter in the tanning booth with her. I got to toss in a few "it's not just skin cancer" remarks, but the majority of the show was dedicated to audience members calling in with their opinions. Still, I was very honored that they contacted me to put a face to Melanoma!

Today I met my baby sister for lunch and coffee to gossip about the events from last night. As I was leaving the parking garage, my phone rang. It was an unusual phone number but I decided to answer anyway. It was someone calling from Headline News! Would I be available for a phone interview at 4:05 pm? Of course!

I had no idea what to expect. I thought that we would be discussing Tan Mom again like the previous night on Dr. Drew. I had no idea that the segment would be about me and my adventure with Melanoma. 

I have not seen the actual videos. I have asked HLN to send me a link with the interview from today, but I have not heard back yet. Fingers crossed!

I want to give HLN and Dr. Drew a big THANK YOU for allowing me the opportunity to share my story nationwide. Both Dr. Drew and Christi Paul were very kind to me and I greatly appreciate it. These last 24 hours have been a whirlwind, but I could not be more honored.

Melanoma, I'm personally attacking YOU.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Happy Skin Cancer Awareness Month!

Have you scheduled your appointment with your dermatologist yet?

What are you waiting for?

Today I am asking you to read Susan's latest post. She's the mother of Ms. Jillian, a young lady in her early 20's who is battling stage IV melanoma. Grab the tissues. This one got to me.  

Now, go spread some awareness. Please.