Thursday, September 27, 2012


The Big C's lead actress Laura Linney is featured in a new PSA meant to raise melanoma awareness.

Awesome and overdue!

Have a great day, friends! It's almost Friday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Break Room Chat

SELF, June 2012
Today in the break room at my new job this picture caused a great conversation. Y'all know I don't normally discuss melanoma in my place of employment. It makes me feel uncomfortable and unprofessional. What you don't know is that I am really shy if I am around new people. I become a silent observer until I feel comfortable again. Today, I had to break out of my bubble.
Co-worker 1 to other co-workers: "Look at her scar! Her doctor told her it was nothing, it was melanoma."
Co-worker 2: "Wow. Her scar is horrible."
Co-Worker 1: "Melanoma is scary. I tan like once a year but I can't do it anymore."
Co-worker 2: "I tan. That's what this is from, a tanning bed." (Points to face.)
Co-worker 4: "I tan too."
Me--can't keep quiet any longer: "I have melanoma."
...and a huge conversation involving 4 other co-workers takes place. (I even share a dermatologist with one of the co-workers!)

I don't know that my story will make a difference; however, I feel certain that this article in an old edition of SELF forced a conversation that needed to take place. It was obvious that co-worker 1 wanted to get the point across to fellow co-workers that tanning isn't the brightest idea. I'm just grateful I was in the break room when it happened.

Word is getting out there, friends. 

  ............IT MAKES ME HAPPY!

*Must log off computer. I have a speech to write for The Skin Cancer Foundation's Gala which is in TWO weeks! Ah!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pardon Me

...but I am far too exhausted to blog.

I only had one cup of coffee at 5:45 am this morning.  5:45 in the morning! YAWN.

Oh, I started my new job today. I'm officially an employee of The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Time to give back to those who have given so much!

Perfect excuse not to blog tonight, right? I'm pooped!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Race For Susan

Today my mom, my baby sister, and I participated in a local 5K to raise money for The American Cancer Society and Every Woman's Life, Fired Up For A Cure. We ran in honor of a woman we just adore who is beginning her battle with breast cancer. 

We Run For Susan.

The event was a success. While the overall goal was to raise awareness and money for breast cancer, all cancers were honored thanks to this awesome firetruck from Chesapeake, VA.

(And Melanoma was represented!)

Besides my minor annoyance over the tanning sessions that were included in a raffle prize, the event was great. Seriously, why raffle off an item that leads to cancer at a cancer event? *Rolling eyes.*  One day people will get it that tanning is dangerous.

(Hopefully they will get it before they actually get it!)

Crossing the Finish Line
(Oh, I took off 4 minutes from my first 5K!
I finished in 37 minutes.
Not bad for my 2nd time...)

My mom is a rock star
and placed 3rd in her age group!
Go Mom! So proud!

 Mom won a prize, just like Susan will!

 Racing for my Canadian friend
who has been such a support system
to my mom throughout my journey with melanoma.
Now, it's our time to support her.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Moon Shooting With 3 Billion Dollars

Did you hear that news?

Did you hear the amazing news?

Well, did you?!?!

MD Anderson announced today that they will begin a new program targeting 8 cancers with hopes of decreasing the amount of deaths brought on by said cancers. Melanoma is included in that group.

Do you know what this means for us?

Money to develop prevention screenings.
Money to develop other treatments. (Remember, options are limited for advanced melanoma.)
Money to work towards a cure.

I suggest you visit this site and learn more about this amazing news for cancer patients around the world. 

MD Anderson is aiming to change lives dramatically, all with 3 billion dollars, dedicated researchers, and patients who will sometimes feel like lab rats.

This is another reason to believe that one day there will be a cure for my friends and I.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Believe...

Linking up with Erin at Living In Yellow to let you know the thing I believe
 in most on  this Friday Eve!

 *Life before Melanoma

*I believe that hanging with my mom is far more important
than blogging tonight.

...and that you should stop tanning!



Tanning While Pregnant?

I'm confused, you guys. Now I know I'm not a mom, nor will I be for quite a few years, but didn't you moms worry about more important things during your pregnancy than tanning your skin? I already know the answer from most of you! Maybe you worried about things like the need for doing everything you could do to make sure your child is as healthy as possible. Maybe you worried about the need for vitamin D.

Did you turn to a tanning bed--especially while pregnant--to get it?

Thanks to the author of Hotel Melanoma, it was brought to my attention that the Indoor Tanning Association is indirectly implying that tanning while pregnant may not be such a bad idea. While the ITA DOES NOT SUGGEST pregnant women use tanning beds, they did share this article discussing the need for vitamin D for brain development of unborn babies on their website.

Do you think people will see this and assume tanning is safe for pregnant ladies? Although the article is on their website, do you believe people would care more about the safety of their unborn baby than a tan? I used to think so. 

Then this happened. 

So needless to say, my faith in the sanity of some future mothers was challenged. 

Instead of falling in the trap, I hope those pregnant ladies seek other options for their source of vitamin D.  While considering options, I encourage you to check out this interesting article about indoor tanning and vitamin D.

Hell, even Snooki stopped tanning while pregnant.

(Sorry, Snooki. You are my go-to for the tanning crap. You're far more beautiful without the fake and bake tan!)

Other articles:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oops, I Offended You?

I have an occasional issue of saying things that tick people off. 
Sometimes I do it by accident,
sometimes--I feel-- they asked for it.

It happened again today.

Let's introduce today's victim.
She is a brunette who wants to color her hair.
While discussing this,
I happened to notice her fake and bake tan,
so clearly, I had to say something.

Me: "I'm sure it will look lovely. You spray tan, right?!"
Victim: "No, I go in the tanning beds actually."
Me: "Boo. How unfortunate."

Then she made the mistake...
she asked why.

So, I told her.
And there was silence...

I know, I know.
It's none of my business what this stranger does to her skin
--or how old I think it makes her look--
and I promise,
I would have left it alone had she not asked that question,

But she asked.

And you know I'm going to tell.

Protect the skin you're in!

^Besides the health issue,
who really thinks this is a good look?

I'll try to behave...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Let's Refresh.

Hey y'all!
 It looks like I have a lot of new followers
 & I could not be more excited to have you!

Since many of you are stopping by from other blogs, 
I thought I better do a repeat introduction of myself.

*Having a beer in honor of my melanoma friend
who received good news!

I'm Chelsea, 25, 
and sometimes, I truly wish I could be Carrie Bradshaw.
Minus the fact that I don't have any of her fashion sense,
and I live in a small town in Virginia,
I like to pretend I'm close to Ms. Carrie.
I mean, hell, can I at least have her shoes?


After tanning while I was between the ages 14-21,
I was diagnosed with stage III malignant melanoma at age 23.
...and it sucked.

But I'm a fighter,
and I have an amazing team of doctors and supporters
who keep me on my toes,
and a smile on my face.

Or maybe that was the morphine...

Instead of letting this experience go unnoticed,
and because I will always be a cancer patient,
I am determined to share my story with 
just about anyone who will listen.


Even Headline News.

So, while I blog about many different topics on this site,
one thing remains true:
I want you to realize--and share--
melanoma is not just skin cancer,
and we can prevent it.

Help me.

Thanks for stopping by! 


Me, Myself, And I!

One thing I absolutely love about linking-up with fabulous bloggers is that sometimes it forces me to answer questions about myself that I would not have otherwise addressed. Today's post is another example of this insight into the real me, not just the Chelsea-with-Melanoma me.

A few weeks ago I submitted a question that I thought was ideal to be asked during a link-up. We all have seen the wonderful Dear 16-Year-Old Me video, right?

However, how many of us have asked ourselves what we would really tell our 16 year-old self? I submitted my question to a group of ladies, and they agreed--it's a question that needs to be asked.  Let's get on with the link-up!

1) When you're feeling down, what do you do to pick yourself up?
* I am all about a bubble bath, a good book, and some comfortable pajamas. Seriously, when I've had a bad work day (boy, today sure was a rough one!) I don't need a night on the town or a warn delicious brownie. Nope, I'd much rather have a hot bath, a great story, and something comfy to put on afterwards. Ah, relaxation...
And if that fails? I call my mom.  


2)  If you had to live in a different time period which would you prefer?
* Thanks to my mild obsession with Downton Abbey, I would have loved to live during 1912-1920's, the Progressive Era. If you have seen the show--and yeah, yeah, I know it's not totally accurate--I don't think you need me to explain why. 

3)  What is the most creative Halloween costume you've ever worn?
* I was once a dead bride. Not gonna lie, the costume was awesome. (Thanks, mom!) The allergic reaction I had to the face paint? Not so cool, not cool at all...

4)  Five weird things about you we wouldn't know without being told?
* I am kind of OCD about my bedtime routine.
* I once had a bird fly into my bedroom and I hid under my covers until my step dad came to save me.
* The thing that saved our relationship was headphones for Mr. Spots to use while playing XBOX. (Joking...sort of.)
* I still think of what I would tell my literature teachers after I finish an awesome book.
* My real dad is a waterman and he's a harder worker than most folks I know.
Dad and I on the morning of my college graduation, 2009

5)  What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
* I actually wrote a whole post on this topic and I think you should read it.
 Bottom line, take care of your body. You, stubborn self, are not immortal,

Don't forget to join us in this link-up! Stop by and say hi. I'll return the hello! :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Write It On Your Heart

 “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
That was your pep talk from me (thanks to this sweet blogger) tonight. I'm exhausted, had a sucky work day, and this was exactly what I needed to read tonight.
It makes you think twice, doesn't it? 

C'mon, just smile!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cinderella Did!

Hayes, 4: "Are you married?"
Me, 25: "No, not yet!"
Hayes, "Are you going to get married after the ball? 
Cinderella did."

That, my friends, is just one example of the hilarious conversations I had this weekend. Like I said in my previous post, I headed to Charlotte, NC, this weekend to stay with a fellow melanoma warrior and shop for the perfect dress for the big event in October. You know you have a special friendship with someone when you arrive at their house and their kids--who you have only briefly met for a few moments a year ago--run up to you and say, "Miss Chelsea! I want to be your prince!"  

Yes, my heart melted.

As a way to describe the need for a beautiful dress for The Skin Cancer Foundation's Gala, Anne told her children that I am going to a ball. They, ages 2 1/2 and 4, decided that Thomas would be my prince, their dogs would pull my carriage, and life would be fabulous. I loved them and their active imaginations!

Not only did we have success shopping, it was so great to have a full day to gossip and bond.  Seriously, I know I say it all the time, but it's so true: I hate this disease; however, I am so thankful for the beautiful people it has allowed me to meet. 

As for the's f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g fabulous.

Speaking of the event--NYC people, I need suggestions for an AWESOME hairstylist and make-up artist! HELP!
Sunday Social

Now on to something playful: Sunday Social

1)  5 items you can't live without on a daily basis(water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count) 
         * my phone. (I probably should be ashamed to admit that, but I'm not!) 
         * sunscreen. I start to feel really, really nervous in the sun without it.
         * toothpaste. I hate (and will focus on it) when my teeth feel dirty!
         * coffee. It's just better for everyone if I drink it.
         * comfy pajamas. Is a reason needed?

2) All time favorite book? Why?
      * I can't pick just one; however, Elizabeth Gilbert's books always cause me to think and question things in my life. I appreciate that. 

"So now I have started living my own life. 
Imperfect & clumsy as it may look,
 it is resembling me now, thoroughly." 
~Eat, Pray, Love.

3) Something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012
      * I would like to find a way to work with the school systems on promoting   sun safety. If only I knew someone... Oh, and I would like to tone my arms. Haha!

4) If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?
     * I am at a good place in my life right now. 2012 has been very good to me.

5) What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
     * No, I don't need a tan.

Happy Monday Eve, friends. I'm off to begin my last week of work at my current job! Big changes in the next week! 

*Side note, I'm sending love and so many thoughts and prayers to a lot of special people tonight...especially to a beautiful lady in Canada who is extremely special to our family. We're all behind you!

 "Every little thing gonna be all right."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Take 8 Minutes of Your Life to Watch THIS!

Last years Charlotte, NC, AIM at Melanoma walk
You can register for this year here:

I am about to walk out the door to travel to North Carolina to spend the day with that beautiful girl in the picture above! That's Anne. Anne is one of my most special melanoma friends and I'm ridiculously excited to hang out with her. It's another plus that we are going dress shopping today, too!

So, I'm in a rush this morning but I wanted you to see Caroline's speech (read post below) that her mom posted on YouTube. I seriously adore this family and I've never even met them before! Isn't it funny how life works?

Anyway, listen to Caroline's elegant and educated speech, share it with everyone you know, and let's hope that it causes another teen to rethink their tan.

Watch speech here:

*Caroline, I listed to the speech on my way to work yesterday morning. Needless to say, my eye make-up was smudged when I got there. I know it sounds weird because I don't know you, but I am so proud of your courage! You, my friend, rock! :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meet Caroline.

I was going to write a non-important blog post tonight linking up with Neely from A Complete Waste of Makeup discussing all the things I'm forgiving myself for this week including my refusal to fold laundry tonight (I totally just started the dryer again...). Then I logged onto my blog Facebook page and read an awesome message from a proud mom in Norfolk, Virginia. I knew I had to write about it.

Its Ok Thursdays

So, on this Thursday evening, I think it is OK to...

-admire someone I don't know.

I don't know about y'all, but I remember high school as being intimidating. I felt like I was in a constant battle to fit in and stand out all at the same very time. I--without sacrificing my morals (often)-- did what I needed to do to keep the mean girls away. I tried to survive and enjoy.

What I didn't do:

I did not pick a controversial issue and discuss it in front of 350 of my peers. 

The Grell Family
Meet Caroline.

This beauty is a senior at a private school in Norfolk, Virginia, and was required to stand in front of her peers and give a persuasive speech to the members of the Upper School. On Monday of this week, Caroline stood in front of about 350 people and discussed the need for a ban that would prevent minors from using public tanning beds. Caroline, someone I had never heard of before tonight, shared my experience with melanoma during her speech. Afterwards, Caroline told her mom that girls walked up to her and said they would never go to a tanning salon again. Teachers even asked Ms. Caroline for copies of her speech so that they could forward it on to their own young daughters who still seek that dangerous tan.

Caroline's mom, Debbie, sent me a message tonight to share her daughter's speech with me and to say, " I just thought you might like to know that your story helped spread the word about tanning salons and the dangers of skin cancer." As soon as I read the message, I quickly read it to Mr. Spots, and then I responded with a sincere thank you for Caroline's brave efforts and for contacting me. Through our chit chat, I learned that Caroline received an A on her paper and also has created quite the "buzz" among the students. Thinking back to my own high school days, I truly believe Caroline was brave to speak against something that teenagers love: their tans.

Debbie wrote to me that she reminds Caroline, "Never pass up the opportunity to let someone know they have inspired you!"

Tonight, Caroline, you have inspired me. 

From melanoma warriors all over the world, thank you

*A special thanks to Debbie for contacting me and allowing me to share this with my readers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's A Small World After All.

According to many reports, Melanoma is on the rise. 

You're doubting me?

Today, since 10:00 am, I have learned of 3 cases of melanoma.

First: As you all know, I am leaving my current job next Friday to go work at the local VA. I have been training my new co-worker to replace me and she admitted today (without knowing about me! All she saw was a melanoma coffee cup!) that she had stage I Melanoma. (My response: "And you still tan?" That's a post for another day.) She goes back once a year for follow-up appointments.

Second: I received an email from my previous (awesome) boss informing me that her 18 year-old son was diagnosed with melanoma. The are being referred to a surgeon for a wide excision and lymph node biopsy.

Third: A patient called today to cancel an appointment. His wife said, "Honey, he had some areas come back as skin cancer, melanoma, and he has to have surgery."

All 3 things happened today.

Don't tell me that melanoma shouldn't be a major concern of ours. It's happening to people of all ages. Remember, it was only a year and a half ago when I thought melanoma was an old white man disease. Now, it isn't. 

It's happening to the golfer, the college freshman, the mother of 3, the lawyer, the party girl, and the reverend. 

Help me put a stop to it.

Educate yourself, encourage your friends to stop tanning, insist on having that mole removed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Few Friendly Reminders

Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001 when you heard the news?

I was in my 8th grade Latin class. The vice principal came in, whispered to our teacher, all while another teacher was rolling a TV into the classroom. Then we closed our textbooks and waited to see if it was really true. Then fear set in. Now, 11 years later, we remember those who gave all.

Both were taken on my most recent trip to the 9/11 Memorial

 I have a few things I need to mention before I crawl into bed tonight:

*Did you miss the melanoma patient featured on Stand Up To Cancer? Please watch her portion of the show here:

*Have you signed up to join me in Charlotte, North Carolina in November for the AIM at Melanoma walk? Please consider joining me! There will be a get together at a local bar that evening where all melanoma warriors and their friends are invited to socialize! Quite a few bloggers will be there including Rich from Hotel Melanoma, Carol from Attitude of Gratitude, and Al from Black is the New Pink. I would love to meet some of my blog readers in NC!

*In 4 weeks from tonight I will be in New York City at The Plaza Hotel for The Skin Cancer Foundation's Gala! I am really starting to become excited. I had a phone conference with the lovely Carla from The Foundation and I'm anxious to start really working on my speech. How intimidating it will be to stand in front of so many people and speak, but we are all there for one reason: We want to put an end to skin cancer.

*I'm going to visit one of my all-time favorite melanoma warriors this weekend and absolutely cannot wait to hug her! It's going to be such a lovely weekend.

Now, I must get some sleep. For some reason I could not sleep well last night. I highly doubt it had anything to do with the crazy episode of Breaking Bad I watched right before bedtime....

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Finish Line

I ran in my first 5K yesterday to raise money for a local war hero, 22, who lost 3 limbs during his third tour in Afghanistan. I have to admit, running isn't as easy for me as it used to be many moons ago. Thanks to my sister's encouragement and that-day-training, I made it...even if it did take me 41 minutes and 7 seconds.

Before the race

I have walked 2 other 5K's, but I never actually ran in one before yesterday. Let me tell you, when I saw that finish line, when I heard those cheers, when I crossed that line, I had to hold back a sob. It was one of the proudest moments I've experienced. I didn't think my body could do that anymore. Thanks to the assistance of my baby sister and my boyfriend, we did it. All of us.

After the race

Once my brain started functioning again, I started thinking that we all have that one finish line we desperately want to cross: We want to be survivors.  We want the treatment, we want that special cure, and we want to return to our normal lives. Sadly, melanoma is not like that. There is no true finish line. There is no cure. We tackle, we treat, and we live. We live with our new type of normal, MelaANormal, Life with Melanoma.

And we win the best prize:


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Passion Foundation

Tara Simantel Parla
Beautiful, isn't she? 
Tara was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2010. This week, Tara peacefully passed away.
After being diagnosed, Tara was determined to save children from the risks of skin cancer. Since prevention is key, she began The Passion Foundation. Tara raised money in order to provide a shady spot on the playground of elementary schools in Florida!  
I didn't know Tara personally. We, unfortunately, only spoke a handful of times; however, I wanted to share her foundation with my readers in hope that we can continue her desire. Let's protect the kiddos in honor of this beautiful woman.
Thoughts are with Tara's family and friends. 
Protect the skin you're in. <3 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stand UP.

"In my world, the hero always defeats the villain, 
the boy always gets the girl, 
and cancer is no more." -Laura Ziskin

"I don't even think about me passing away. 
But if I do, I'm taking my Legos with me!"
-Justin Miller

My inspiration tonight came from every single person honored on that show; but I have to admit, I kind of jumped up and down, and then immediately started crying when the beautiful Hillary Quinn Kind was introduced.
"I'll join that trial, I will take that risk."
        -Hillary Quinn Kind, 
Stage 4 Melanoma.
When Hillary asked how long she would have if she stopped treatment, the oncologist asked, "How much time would you want?" Hillary said she would like a year. There was silence.
Hillary said, "So, not that long?" The oncologist admitted she did not believe beautiful Hilary would have another year.
  And then I started sobbing.
  "I just keep going,  
keep fighting, 
something good will come of it."
 Donate. Kiss your loved ones. Go to the darn doctor. 
Stand Up To Cancer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

If You Really Knew Me

If you really knew me... would know that peanut butter is my real enemy. Like, I won't even kiss Mr. Spots if he eats it'd know that I am ridiculously close to my family and talk to them numerous times a week (day!) would know that I still miss carefree days on the beach.'d know that Jimmy Buffett placed his hat on my head during his performance of "Fins" and all I could do was smile at him, wait a few seconds, and then start screaming. would know that I am always reading something. would know better than to climb into bed next to me wearing socks. Ah!'d know that I am a celebrity gossip whore.
       ----but I don't watch TV. (Minus the season of American Idol that included Phillip Phillips!) would know that I am really indecisive about major decisions--including what to eat for dinner.'d know that I say I am indecisive but it tends to tick me off when things don't go how I think they are going to go in my head. (I'm a woman, what do you expect?!) would know that I once wanted to move to St. John, USVI, and I actually thought it would happen. would know that my family calls me their little monkey.  (Apparently I look/looked like one?)
   and I have been given a picture of a monkey in a beautiful frame by my sissy.
   You know, a self-portrait.'d know that I used to be madly in love with Kenny Chesney, but now his tan just turns me off. would know that I joke (or not joke?) about wanting to get married in Las Vegas.'d know that I cry when friends who have died from melanoma pop up on my Facebook feed. would know that I think the show Honey Boo Boo is sad and embarrassing. would know that I secretly want to be a nurse; however, the idea of sticking someone with a needle freaks me the heck out. would know that I used to say I would never join a sorority, then I did, and I loved it.'d know that I absolutely loved my years being a waitress and it taught me more than many of the college classes I took. (And---I miss that $$$!) Tip your servers! would know that I get asked "Chelsea, like Chelsea Clinton?" at least twice a week. would know that I once said "If I have to get cancer, let it be skin cancer." (And this, my friends, is why I am here to educate all the other young uneducated girls.)'d know that I once almost burned my apartment down all due to a damn taco shell. would know that I think The Skin Cancer Foundation rocks and if they ever open an office in VA, I'm applying.'d know that when I get shy or uncomfortable, I stop talking. would know that I'm a sucker for a man and a guitar.'d know that Snooki is my example of what is wrong with our country. would know that if you slam the door in my face, I'm going to loudly say, "THANK YOU!" would know that my boyfriend brings out the silly girl in me.'d know that I have the smallest bladder and get out of bed a minimum of once per night. would know I have a habit of hanging on to things (and people!) that are bad for me.'d know that I seriously adore people I have never met in person and consider some of them my closest friends. (Hi, Mole Mates!) would know it's 9:30 and it's my bedtime.

Happy Friday Eve! XOXO

(Thanks Aly for the inspiration for tonight's blog!)