Tuesday, November 13, 2012


"Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. 
Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter."

I have a love/hate relationship with my high school memories. Sure, I loved when I had lunch period with my two best friends and we got to catch up on gossip. I loved getting dressed up for prom and having my best guy friend pick me up on my doorstep. However,  I could have done without the cheerleader putting gum in my hair all because her ex-boyfriend asked me to prom... And I'm pretty positive I wouldn't have minded my picture remaining on the wall since I worked hard for that award. High school was brutal which is saying a lot because I wasn't unpopular. Kids are mean. Even I had my moments I am most definitely not proud of.

"There are a million things you have to do to get through each day. High school has things that can trip you up, ruin you, people say one thing and mean another, and you have to know all the rules, you have to know what you can and can't do.” 

I'm here to warn ya, the cancer network isn't all that different than high school. There are high emotions, overly sensitive souls, rules you must silently follow, and sometimes there are games you have to play. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just a part of it. The majority of the people I have encountered have been wonderful, truly inspiring people. These honest people who make up the majority of the group are the ones who need you as much as you need them, who sincerely cheer you on from their computer monitors, who talk and listen. 

When discussing the amazing people we meet in the cancer network, Hillary Fogelson explains it best in Pale Girl Speaks, "It may seem morbid that I like going and hearing patients' stories. But as horribly shocking and painfully sad as most of the stories are, I still enjoy hearing people talk about their illness: their cancer, their side effects, their recovery, and sometimes even their death. I'm meeting people in the most vulnerable time of their lives. Many of them are confronting their own mortality--a few are still trying to accept their illness, some are struggling to make peace with it, others are looking to make peace with themselves, but all of them are willing to share. Share all of it with me. And it's truly amazing. It's inspiring. These people! I can't believe these goddamned sick people! I am constantly amazed by their strength. They are so strong, so powerful. They've dealt with more pain and hurt and fear than they probably ever imagined they would" (285-286).

Then there's the other side. You meet the people you are unsure of, the people who make you feel like the treatment you are doing isn't just right, the folks who don't bring you down with their cancer, but instead, with their attitude.

And that, my friends, is the topic of tonight's post: Attitudes.

I feel like I have been very open with the world about my experience with melanoma. In return, I have been adored and criticized. When I am happy and enjoying my life outside of melanoma, I share it. When I am feeling bitchy and just freaking ticked off at the things that are happening, I blog about it. When a stranger questions my scars I confide in all of you about the tears that were shed secretly in my car. When a fellow melanoma warrior tells me I don't have brain cells because I used the tanning bed, I take to this very public blog and write about it with hopes that you all have advice on how to handle the situation. I tell you things about my personal relationship during its darkest hour simply because I don't want to sugarcoat things. Shit is hard sometimes and I made a promise in the very beginning to be as honest as I possibly could be. Sometimes you like what I have to say, sometimes you don't. It's something I knew would happen when this blog started becoming a bit more popular.

Blogging about my life and my cancer isn't the only thing I try to do. I make a huge effort to support fellow cancer patients. I may not respond to every status update, it may take me a few days to get back to your email, but when you all take the time to email me with your deepest fears and concerns, I try my hardest to address every single one of you. I try to be available, honest, and respectful of you as I wish for you to be of me.

With that being said, I will not support negativity. Ever.

In the last 2 months I have witnessed an increase of bullying within our loving melanoma community. A group where I used to frequent often to check on my "Mole Mates" and to ask my own questions is now a place I am no longer a part of. I have deleted fellow melanoma warriors from my personal Facebook page due to negativity and unfriendliness.  I hate that I feel like I need to remind people of this, but cancer doesn't give you an excuse to act like an asshole.

Because of the decisions I made to unfriend certain folks, and because of my opinion of Bruce Jenner, I have been accused of being "two-faced" and not supportive of fellow melanoma warriors. This opinion has lead people to send letters to a certain Foundation I hold dear to my heart. Apparently they do not believe I am a good role model because of my two-faces and the lack of support I give to fellow warriors.

I made a personal decision to remove myself from negativity. It was a decision I made on my own. While I hate that these people have to battle melanoma, I will not excuse them from their poor behavior nor will I tolerate it. Because of this decision, 3 women have decided to verbally attack me via letters to THE Foundation that means a lot to me.

I am not OK with this.

These women want me to be more real than I have been? Here it is:

Cyber bullying is not OK and I refuse to tolerate it. If that means I'm an unsupportive 2-faced diva, so be it. My decision remains the same. I'm keeping the negativity out.


Carol Taylor said...

Great job, Chelsea! It is HIGH TIME to out an end to this sorry behavior. I'm sorry you've been attacked and I hope that "certain Foundation" pays no attention to it. Blessings on you, and I'm more than proud to call you "Friend."

Joanna @ BabyGatorsDen.com said...

Right on Chelsea! I'm sorry you have to deal with women like that. They certainly run in all circles and I have unfriended other bloggers who lead lives filled with negativity. Keep your chin up, you're an awesome role model! xo

britney adams said...

You go girl!

Anonymous said...

Chelsea I love you!! You are an inspiration and one of my dearest molemates. Three unsupportive ladies out of hundreds of friends and family who adore you isn't too shabby. Keep doing what you do and putting yourself out there. It means something positive to me and many many more. Love you girl!!
Becca DeBee

Melissa S. said...

Wow, I cannot believe people can be so rude and insensitive! It's YOUR blog, your stories, your opinions, NOT THEIRS. Who do they think they are?! I am so sorry that they have chosen to be babies about it and try to drag you down to their level. Stay classy, fabulous, and a warrior/role model :)

Unknown said...

As someone who has personally been cyber bullied, kudos to you for sticking up for yourself and what you believe in.

Sorry you had to experience this :(

Anonymous said...

You go girl! Keep on being positive. You are touching lives. You are making a difference!

When I was diagnosed Stage III and IV in 2004, I found a lot of friends and comfort on an online melanoma bulletin board before there was a Facebook. Most people were helpful and supportive, but every once in a while, you'd run into some folks who just wanted to make others miserable.

I still recommend that bulletin board to people, but I always include a disclaimer that people will treat you like family... but sometimes they're a dysfunctional family!

Now, with FB, it's not as easy to distance ourselves from people, and not always easy to know who these other melanoma warriors are when we welcome them to our FB world. Sometimes we find out the hard way, as I did a few years ago. Since then, I don't friend melanoma folks unless I've personally met them. Sad, but we have to do what's best for our own health and wellbeing.

As melanoma patients, stress isn't good for us!! So we have to guard ourselves from excess drama. It's not easy.

Thank you for talking about this topic. I'm sure there are many who will benefit from reading it. We have a big enemy in common. And we CAN help and support one another, despite those who try to bring us down.

Chelsea said...

Thank you all for the comments. I was a little nervous about posting this one! Once again, you understand!

Strong Steph said...

Chelsea, I think your comments about bullying are so right on! You are bringing light to a very scary cancer and I think you should be proud of yourself. I am sorry someone bullied you & I think bullies basically have low self esteem. Ultimately , all of us melanoma survivors need to spread the word. You have my support!

Strong Steph said...

keep it up Chelsea! You're a rock star in the world of melanoma survivor ship!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer and I(Steven) are with you 100% Chelsea. You rock!

Maybe you should post your opinion of the Kardashian sisters so you can start a real firestorm! lol

Anonymous said...

Melanoma_Diva saves lives - nuff said

Your friend,

Mark said...

Rock it girl! Stick to your guns!You speak from the heart, that's all you can ask. Don' Stop Believin :)

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Chelsea, never be nervous about doing a particular post, you express yourself as firmly and respectfully and truthfully as you do as an ambassador for so many melanoma warriors and this awful disease.
Stay true to your own belief system.
As long as you write, I'll stay tuned in!

Martha Hokenson said...

WTF Chelsea? I'm sorry you have to put up with this. People say things over the internet that they wouldn't say to your face, and then they say things to your face that you'd think they'd never dare...stay strong. You are doing wonderful work and these people should not drag you down.

Have a great week, and don't give up the fight!

Unknown said...

Chelsea great posting:) I am proud of you for standing up to the bully:) I felt this is one of your best postings:)Hang in there my melanoma friend or as you say mole mates. Stay strong and keep fighting:) Fellow melanoma warrior, Donna Piunt

Melissa said...

What this tells me is, you are making a difference! When you start having "haters" that's when you know you're doing something right :) There's no rule that once someone is in your life, or your Facebook life, you have to keep them there. I'm all for loving others, even when they are difficult, but I am NOT all for keeping consistently negative people in your life. I don't even understand the two-faced stuff, how is it wrong to be upset that a skin cancer survivor is supporting the tanning industry? Being supportive of your fellow melanoma warriors doesn't mean clapping and cheering for everything they do. Actually, sometimes being supportive means calling people out on BS! Keep on being yourself, you're entitled to your own opinion, and the last I checked, you weren't forcing anyone to read your blog. Unfortunately, some people are just miserable and put way too much energy into trying to bring others down. PS - I'm pretty sure you could get plenty of positive reference letters written to this Foundation, if for some reason they took the negative letters seriously at all :)

Christine Pettijohn said...

I hate reading things like this and how people are.It is sad that you have to deal with peoples immaturity and deal with being sick at the same time. People should grow up. I hope things get better for you. Good luck!

Brian Perry said...

I have don't know about the three women that you're talking about, but you apparently unfriended me a couple of months or so ago and I had been nothing but supportive.

I thought it was odd, but I never said anything because really, I have other more important things to worry about than that trying to be part of someone's clique or whatever.

I've been out if high school for 27 years and I didn't play those games then and am not about to start now.

I wish the best for you and all of the rest of us who are in this fight, but just am not into the bs.

I also don't think people should get butt hurt because someone unfriends them and chooses to go slander that person or otherwise make trouble for them. Everybody should just grow up.

Paul said...

Chelsea I am sad to hear that you have been a target of such antics. Keep being you. You do amazing work and are making a difference.