Monday, January 28, 2013

The Skin Cancer Foundation VS MTV

I am sure you've seen clips of this (horrible) show. Maybe your teenagers watch it. Maybe you've curled up on your couch on a lazy Sunday and watched reruns of the show that promotes "Gym, Tan, Laundry." Maybe you're like me and have refused to suffer through an entire episode of a show that encourages trashy behavior.

*For the record, I'm not a prude. I just think these people act like pure scum bags.

Anyway, let me introduce you to the cast:

They have 3 priorities:

The Skin Cancer Foundation has made numerous attempts to convince MTV to include a message about the dangers of tanning before/during/after the episodes of their shows. In 2010 The Skin Cancer Foundation had an intervention with the cast of Jersey Shore on EXTRA where Snooki declared she did not want to die from skin cancer. (Sadly, Snooki must have already forgotten about the intervention because she is tanning and selling her own tanning lotion line now.) In September 2012, The Skin Cancer Foundation reached out again to executives at MTV and were unsuccessful.

If MTV thought The Skin Cancer Foundation would back down, they were very wrong.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation's official press release , "...the organization requested that MTV include a warning with each episode and in conjunction with the sale of items and activities that promote tanning. MTV refused, prompting the Foundation to file a formal complaint with the F.T.C. in the hope that the Commission would require the use of such a warning." (

While I have no idea if the F.T.C. will force MTV to include a message on the dangers of tanning, I do applaud The Skin Cancer Foundation for their determination in trying to educate viewers. I'm ashamed to admit that I've caught a few episodes of Teen Mom and have seen the "Safe Sex" ads that have been shown during the episodes. What's different about this? I realize the saying GTL brings in
a lot of money for MTV, but c'mon! 
I think it's safe to say that skin cancer and melanoma warriors around the world are so proud of The Skin Cancer Foundation for their efforts in promoting healthy skin! Way to go!

*If you feel like helping The Foundation, I encourage you to donate. These folks are great! Trust me, I know!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just A Hello!

I'm surrounded by boxes, paint brushes, and unorganized furniture.

In other words, I'm unpacking our very first house! EeeeeeKkkkk! We just got our internet hooked up today so I wanted to post a quick hello & tell you that I'm still around, I'm just putting melanoma on the back burner while we organize and decorate our house!

As if life isn't busy enough, my boyfriend's little boy goes in for surgery tomorrow morning to have his tonsils removed. We'll have a sore little boy on our hands! Please send some good juju his way!

When life calms down, just a tiny bit, I'll be back! Hope you guys are healthy and happy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Girl Talk: Skin Care Version 2.0

Y'all know I'm a fan of sunscreen.
You also know I hate tanning beds.
When given the opportunity to participate in a link-up
that will possibly open the eyes of other young women,
you know I have to do it.

Plus, I can never turn down an opportunity for girl talk!

1) What's your daily skincare routine?
     I wash my face twice a day with Clearasil Daily Face Wash. My skin is super sensitive and it's the only face wash that doesn't cause me to break out in a rash. I've me! ;-)  Depending on what my skin is doing that day--it goes from kind-of oily to dry--I apply DDF weightless defense oil-free hydrator that has SPF 45 and Ole Henrisken Total Truth eye creme. I fell in love with Ole Henrisken after the eye creme was included in the Skin Cancer Foundation's goodie bags at the gala!

2) A skin product you could never live without?
    Sunscreen. My doctors would probably personally kill me if I showed up in their offices with a sunburn! Oh, and face wash...I can't sleep until the make-up and yuckiness of the day is off my face!

3) Have you ever used a tanning bed?
   Yes, I loved being tan. I started tanning when I was 14 and continued to tan before all major events until I was 21. The last event I tanned for was my college graduation. When I met my oncologist for the first time he said I was not the typical melanoma patient. I have no family history, I have dark hair and dark eyes, and I do not have a history of bad sunburns. 

Then the convo went like this:
Oncologist: "Do/did you use tanning beds?"
Me: "Yes."
Oncologist: "Ah..."

Ironically, I stopped tanning at age 21 when I realized it wasn't worth the risks. Sadly, I had already done the damage and was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma at age 23.

The Tanning Days

The Cancer Days

4) Thoughts on spray tanning?
    It isn't for me. Having said that, I would much rather my friends go get spray tanned than step foot in a tanning bed! I feel like going to get a spray tan after everything I have been through and will continue to go through for the rest of my life totally goes against the message I'm trying to share. Plus, haven't you heard, "Simply put, paleness equals class. And it's sexy."

5) Favorite brand on sunscreen?
   I'm a big fan of Aveeno. It's great for my sensitive skin!

6) Biggest skincare splure?
    I use Bare Minerals so I do splurge on that every few months. I don't mind spending money on quality products. I've been lucky that I've been able to try a lot of high priced items firsthand before actually purchasing them! I will definitely buy Ole Henriksen's Total Truth again and again!

7) Celebrity with the most perfect skin?
     Have you seen the celebrities lately? The majority of them have stunning-PALE-skin! 

8) Feature you're most self-conscious about?
   Probably my teeth! I can tell they are shifting!

9) What do you think about botox?
     I make 1030232 facial expressions per day.  already have laugh lines. They remind me of happy moments. Ask me again in 10 more years! Ha! 

10) I feel most confident when...
    I'm wearing a tiara! Duh!
             (Thanks, Rev. Carol!)

"Melanoma Survivor...
And I plan on staying one!"

I hope you'll link-up and share your skin care routines too!


I went for the ultrasound of my left ovary yesterday and the cyst was completely gone! Gone!

Oh, happy day!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They got me through another adventure!

I have a lot I want to post about; however, I have no time to write! Our closing date got moved to this coming Thursday so I am rushing around the apartment trying to do last minute things. So much to do + a full time job! Oh, whatever...only 4 more nights of sleeping in this apartment with our annoying neighbors above us! 

The Adventures of First Time Home Owners will begin SOON! 


Sunday, January 13, 2013

2 Years

"But understand this: my commitment to living in the now means
 I'll never ever say that I've beaten cancer. 
To do so would be living in the "tomorrow," if you will, 
and melanoma is far too erratic an opponent to go around making predictions. 
But I can tell you for sure that I'll never give in to it.
 Life is too precious to give it up 
without giving everything you've got -- now." 
Dr. Jack Ramsay.

 This is how I'll pretend I spent my 2 year Cancerversary
but really.......

 If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I was pretty ill last week. Low grade fevers, horrible night sweats, and odd facial/scalp swelling. I followed up with my local oncologist who basically said my body is fighting something (duh) we just don't really know what. He mentioned the shingles virus or side effects from the latest ipi/placebo treatment.  I don't know, but it really took its toll on me last week. Needless to say, I postponed celebrating!

I was shocked when my sweet boyfriend surprised me with this:

I was just sitting on the couch, typing the blog I posted Wednesday night when Mr. Spots handed me a little black box. I said, "What's this?" He told me to open it. I was caught off guard because I had told him I wanted a quiet night, doing exactly what we had planned on doing the day when our lives changed. He said, "It's your 2 year!" Ah, I love him.

Then, the next day, I was on the couch nursing my illness when someone knocked on the door. The flower delivery girl said, "You don't look like you feel good."  Actually, I felt a lot better than I did 2 years ago after hearing those words for the first time.... Anyway, she brought some beautiful flowers from my baby sister that put a huge smile on my face.

The card reads:
"Here's to 80 more...Love you to the moon!"

I am one lucky gal to have so many great people on my side. That includes all of you! Don't think that I slept through your many messages. It was so nice to wake up from my naps to see kind words from you guys. Thank you. You helped make my day so special.

Tomorrow morning I go for the ultrasound that The Wizard, my Sloan Kettering oncologist, asked I get after my latest scan results showed that a cyst on my left ovary has grown from 3.0 to 4.1 cm in less than 3 months. I will see the gyno directly after the scan so I should know something before most of you even get to work! :-) Fingers crossed it is absolutely nothing but an annoying cyst!

Look for an update soon! Have a great week, my friends.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On the Eve...

It's the eve of my 2 year Canverversary, and damnit, I'm sentimental.

  ...I don't know whether to cry....

or to laugh...

or do both at the same exact time.

Anyway, I was tucking little Gavin, my boyfriend's little boy, into bed tonight when he asked me, "Was your check-up good or bad?" I wasn't really expecting this question, but at the same time, it wasn't totally unexpected. You see, I've been dating my boyfriend since Gavin was 2. He's now 5 and very aware of the situation. Although we try to keep serious things away from him, he seems my scars, he has seen me in true pain, and he knows why sunscreen is so important. Right before Christmas he asked me why I wouldn't be there for the big holiday. He asked, "What if check-up isn't good?" Not knowing where he got that idea, or why he was even worried about it, I simply told him everything would be just fine.

And thank God, it was.

Still, tonight, when he randomly asked about my appointment, it reminded me just how much all of this matters to everyone around me. It makes a difference to the sweet little boy in my life. It matters to my family who have helped me become who I am today. It matters to the people who read this blog...

I know that statistically I am beating the odds, but I can promise you, I will try my hardest to continue to beat them. I can't promise you that I will beat the statistics, but I will try!

....Remember, today matters.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Celebrities, Social Media & Both Sides of Tanning

Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and online blogs, we tend to learn more about our favorite celebrities than any US Weekly magazine could ever hope to tell us. The best part? We learn a lot of things from the celebrities themselves!

Case in point...

It appears as though Miranda feels she needs to be tan in order to be tour ready. I fully believe that Miranda Lambert was not surprised at the 1,086 people to comment on one of her latest posts on Facebook. However, I doubt that she expected that out of those 1,086 people, the majority of them explained to Miranda why she should stay clear of the coffin-like beds. Although she hasn't responded, I'm hoping she at least saw one of the many comments and will consider the damage she's doing to herself. At the very least, I hope her fans who believe tanning is safe saw the many comments!

On the flip side...

Last night I was browsing my Facebook feed and saw a post from my favorite author Emily Giffin. Did you read Something Borrowed, Something Blue, or Heart of the Matter? She's a great author! If you follow her on Facebook and Twitter, you know how hilarious she is as well. What caught my attention last night was her tan so I decided to post on her page and ask if she tans or uses spray tans. I was pleasantly surprised--and super excited--to see that she actually responded to my question!

My favorite author only spray tans.
She doesn't even tan in the sunshine without sunscreen!

Oh, and she thinks our awareness campaign is great:

....and then my day was complete.

My favorite author tweeted me, retweeted me and responded to my Facebook question!

EeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeKKKKKK!!! (Yes, I give you permission to make fun of me now.)

Anyway, in the last few days I have seen 2 celebrities take totally different stands on tanning. 

I think I know which side I'm on! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Busy Living!

It's a new year for new beginnings! Who are you going to be in 2013? I was browsing Pinterest tonight during a quick break from packing & received the best advice...

I mean, who doesn't want to be Batman?

OK, sorry. I'm sleepy and distracted. I just wanted to post a quick hello to thank you for your support last week and your well wishes. It is truly a blessing that I went one full year of no evidence of disease. Gotta admit I didn't expect it! 

January 10, 2013 I will celebrate my 2 year cancer-versary. Last year my friend Rayna gave me a handmade book that consisted of letters from my molemates. I started reading the book again tonight and one letter in particular caught my attention. My friend Becca wrote, "My hope, my dream and my prayer for you (us) is that our friendship will expand beyond this horrible disease. That one day, all of this will be an after thought to our loves, our lives, and our babies." Well, Becca, I think it's happening...

Melanoma doesn't consume me anymore. While it is--and always will be--a priority of mine, I am enjoying life. I am taking the gift I have been given and appreciating it. There are certain friends of mine--even some who wrote me letters just a year ago--who are no longer with us. How selfish would I be if I constantly sat around feeling sorry for myself? My friends wanted to live. They wanted to see their kids grow up, they dreamed of being a mother, they just wanted a few more years...I've been given the gift of a little more time. None of us know how much time we have, but we can't let that question consume our every day. I can't control my time. Why sit and obsess when that time will come? Now, please don't get me wrong. I am still a scared little girl. I still have days where I worry. I still cry when I learn of my friends suffering. I still have a mild panic attack when I have a swollen lymph node, and you can bet your money that I stop sleeping & become quite the B word around scan time. Then I move on with my day. That's what has changed in the last year...I've stopped obsessing.

I am going to take a little break from blogging. I still plan on posting, but I may be scatter brained about it. I don't want you to think I've stopped my melanoma awareness campaign, I just have to let it sit on the back burner for a little bit. We are scheduled to close on our house January 11, 2013 and have to be completely out of our apartment on January 15th, so this little girl is going to be busy!

And really, we all know I can only last a few days from my favorite past-time....

Plus, I have a 2 year cancerversary in just a few days that I will definitely have to reflect on. Sometimes it feels like it has been so much longer than 2 years, other times it still feels like it was yesterday when I was sitting on that cold table...........

OK, enough! Have a great week! I'll be back soon. XOXO!