Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack from my wedding & honeymoon, friends!

And it was fabulous.

 Before I share too much with you, I need a huge favor.

Do you know anyone who lives in Virginia? If so, I need you to pass along this information.

The Joint Commission released information regarding indoor tanning and minors. They presented the most recent research, including the fact that melanoma is the second most common cancer in women between the ages of 20-29, and the third most common cancer in men between the ages of 20-29.

Now they have given us 3 options asking us how they should handle this new information:

Option 1: Take no action

Option 2: Introduce legislation prohibiting persons under the age of 15 years from using tanning devices at tanning facilities; and requiring a parent or legal guardian of unemancipated persons 15-17 years of age to provide written consent prior to allowing the minor to use a tanning device at a tanning facility.

Option 3: Introduce legislation prohibiting unemancipated persons under the age of 18 years from using a tanning device at a tanning facility.

Y'all know that option 1 is just not acceptable for me. We have too much research that proves the dangers of indoor tanning for teens to simply ignore it. I find that doing nothing with this information is lazy & irresponsible.

Option 2 still isn't good enough for me. Why? My mom loves my sisters and me more than anything in this world. That being said, back when we were kids, she signed those consent papers that allowed us to tan because none of us knew any better. We were not fully educated on the damage those coffin-like beds do to our young skin! Would she willingly approve something so harmful? No. And I know that she will always regret signing those consent papers. (Sadly, she's not the only parent with those same regrets.)

Option 3 is my pick. Virginia doesn't allow our teens to smoke. If tobacco is classified as the same carcinogen as UV rays, why is one outlawed, and the other is not?

I am BEGGING you to take the time to review this research and send in your opinion to sreid@jchc.virginia.gov.

Please, please, please don't miss out on an opportunity to let your voice be heard. I'm begging you.

Comments must be submitted by November 12th.

Please don't allow future teens, and their parents, to make the same poor decisions that we did.

Lots of love,

Mrs. Dawson!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Dawson's

Heading out for the honeymoon, but I wanted to introduce you to my husband.

See you next week!
The Dawson's

Monday, October 14, 2013

Written By A Single Woman

This is probably the last post I will write as Miss Chelsea! 
It's hard to believe that the day is finally here. I've been asked by folks how Mr. Spots and I survived our relationship after being diagnosed with melanoma. The truth is, it wasn't easy. In fact, we broke up when I moved the 7 hours back home to my family while I went through the 3 months of treatment in New York. Despite the distance, despite the emotional roller coaster we were both on, we found our way back to each other. In fact, I would say we found the relationship we were both looking for.
Savannah, Georgia 2011
Our first vacation together following my first surgery

We were sitting in the living room last week when Mr. Spots randomly said, "We have come a long way." He's completely right. Almost 4 years ago we were just two strangers at the same wedding. Now we're the bride and groom! 
St. Patrick's Day 2012

I thought I would take this time to thank you for your love and support throughout this journey. You all felt for me when we were going through the trying times, you cheered when I posted those pictures of us together on my 6 month Cancerversary, you sent your love when he popped the question. We've appreciated all of your thoughts and prayers not just for my health, but for our life together. Thank you.

As I walk down the aisle, I promise, I will know just how lucky I am. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Isn't It Ironic?

 "Chelsea, having met you and followed you, I have no question that you would accomplish many things. But isn't it ironic that the one thing that threatened your very existence (melanoma) and continues to haunt you in many ways has also played a part in guiding you to the most incredible experiences? The Gala last year...being featured on Headline News...and now meeting two celebrities because melanoma guided you to New York. I think karma is really blessing you...rewarding you for taking your scary cancer experiences and helping others deal with it, fight it, and hopefully avoid it."
-My Friend, the author of http://blackispink.blogspot.com/

Al's message keeps repeating in my head.

We all look at our cancer as such a horrible thing--and it is--but it has given me the best years of my life!

This trip to NY was no exception: NO EVIDENCE of Melanoma! I immediately felt so much relief when my oncologist gave me the news. Melanoma has played such a role in our relationship that I really didn't want her to show her ugly face during our special wedding day. I feel especially thankful. 2 weeks and 2 days!!!

Wednesday night after my scans, we headed to America's Got Talent to catch the show! It was so cool to see how live TV is filmed. What was really cool was meeting Mrs. Heidi Klum after the show! She is absolutely beautiful and spent a lot of time making sure everyone had autographs and pictures! Super sweet.

I love Heidi for the work she did with Marc Jacobs'

I was sitting in the waiting room 2 and 1/2 hours after my scheduled chemo time when I began browsing Facebook. My Facebook friend Susan mentioned something about being in NY so I asked her if she was in town at MSK. Oddly enough, she was in the same waiting room as I was, just on the opposite side!

I love getting to hug my online friends!
Please send well wishes to her husband as he begins a new treatment!
Hope to see you two again soon!

 And then we almost got kicked out of the chemo suite.

I've mentioned Julie to you all a lot, she's not a stranger to this blog, and it is always such a pleasure to see her and her mom. I'm quite certain that I laughed during every single 90 minute sitting in that chemo chair. Julie and her mom Jackie have been such a blessing to us. Ladies, we need to plan our vacation!

While I was waiting for treatment I noticed that Giada De Laurentiis tweeted that she was going to be at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square for a book signing. I had to go. I didn't get to thank Heidi for the work she did to raise awareness for melanoma, but I had a new opportunity to thank another celebrity, so I wanted to take it! Giada's brother Dino died when he was 31 from melanoma, and this year, she shared his story in a PSA. (View the PSA.)

Giada was very sweet! I introduced myself, told her that I, too, have melanoma, and how sorry I was for her brother's loss. Then I thanked Giada from the entire melanoma community for sharing her brother's battle with the public. She agrees that more awareness is needed. Who knows, maybe she'll help raise awareness in another way soon! 

It was such a whirlwind of a trip! I was so relieved to leave the city with good news and the opportunity to focus entirely on my upcoming wedding. I do feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

So, yes. Melanoma continues to haunt me, but it continues to give me some of the most rewarding experiences that I could have never imagined. I just needed my friend Al to remind me.

"And isn't it ironic, don't ya think?"