About Me

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I'm a Jesus loving girl who is blessed with an amazing husband and two beautiful children. At the age of 23, while pregnant with my firstborn I noticed a dome shaped nodular area on my left hip. It started growing larger and eventually started bleeding. After the birth of my baby girl and my 24th birthday I decided to get the ugly bump checked. The result was Stage III nodular Malignant Melanoma that had extensions into my lymph nodes. I completed a year of Interferon chemotherapy. a year later I became pregnant with my second child. After his birth I developed two more melanoma primary tumors-- stage 1 2010, and stage 2 in 2011. Since then I have made it my mission to advocate and educate to bring about melanoma awareness in hopes that it could save others from this deadly disease. Thankfully, I am very healthy and doing very well! I have No Evidence of Disease and I'm showing Cancer Who's Boss by staying fit and healthy. I plan to blog about my adventures in running over cancer during training for my first Full marathon Fall 2014. Remember to love your skin, protect your skin, and check your skin. Share the love and spread the chemical-free lotion!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

7 Day Countdown to 26.2

"Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart." Psalm 26:2 NASB

So, how cool is this verse?!  Not only is it fitting that it happens to have the numbers 26:2 but read it over and over...."examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart."  David's desire was to have the inmost part of his soul searched and examined by the Lord...his mind and his heart tested. The scripture goes on to say in vs 3 "For Your lovingkindess is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth."  

During Worship this morning, as the band was playing "made to thrive" by Casting Crowns, I was overcome with emotion.  I began to cry as I sang the words with thanksgiving to God for all He has brought me through.  Scripture tells us to put on the full armor of God so that in the day of battle we'll be prepared...we don't know what might be thrown at us in this life but we have to be prepared to fight.  

"Here In this worn and weary land where many a dream has died
   like a tree planted by the water we never will run dry

   so living water flowing through God we thirst for more of you
   fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire

   Just to know you and to make you known we lift your name on High
   shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
   We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
   It's time for us to more than just survive 
   We were made to thrive"

As I sang the words to this song, I thought about the 12 months I endured chemo...I thought about the days I didn't want to get out of bed...the days my bones hurt just to walk or get myself dressed...I thought about the memories of my baby girl that I can't recall because of the brain fog from the cancer treatments. I thought about my friend, Joe, who passed away from the beast, Melanoma. I know most people don't understand or "get" why I run or why I would want to run "that far" and that's ok...I never dreamed I would have the desire either. In fact, this time last year I was running my first 1/2 marathon (13.1 mi) and the pain I felt at the end of that race made me say "there's no way I could ever run a full."  

It's funny how things change...I met this crazy girl who said it would be a good ideal to run 26.2 miles together... "we'll do Hal Higdon's 18 week training plan" she said..."we'll get a group together" she said...."it will be fun" she said... "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17.  We are definitely stronger together! There's no way I could've made it this far without them and God pulling me through.  The marathon is so much more than a 26.2 mile race...as a matter of fact it's taken a total of 434.4 miles training since the end of June to get us to that starting line.  "We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives It's time for us to more than just survive.......


Big thanks to the 5KC, my sole brothers and sisters, my friends and family for all your love and support.  Please keep me and all the runners in your prayers as we set out to run 26.2 miles next Sunday at 7:00a.m.  Here are some pics from various long runs and races during the past 18 weeks.  #Showingcancerwhosboss
8 mile taper run

8 mile taper run

16 mile long run

Finishing Adams co 1/2 marathon

Adams co 1/2 marathon with my sole sisters

Adams co 1/2 marathon, PR: 2:02

Adams co 1/2 marathon

18 mile long run

Adams County, Ohio 13.1 mi

18 mile group run


5 mi

Charleston, WV 15 miler

Charleston, WV 15 miler

Add caption

15 miles

8 miles

4 miles

10 miles

13.1 miles from Flying J to Starbucks

4 Miles

4 miles

Charleston, WV 15 miler.

6 mile training run

First time riding a bike since childhood.

Got out of my comfort zone and went on a little bike ride.
Cancer 5K

Color Run with Livi

Cancer 5K with Livi

Cancer 5K 

5K for pregnancy and infant loss awareness

yoga with Livi.
Marathon gift from my sole sister, Stacy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's that time again....

Hey friends,

I can't believe three months have gone by so fast!!!  I've been so focused on my family and marathon training, that I've not thought to much about this upcoming appointment, until I got the text reminder this morning "Vanderbilt:  appointment reminder August 4 @11:30"

Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my mind around these Dr appointments.  If you really think about the reality of it, it'll scare the crap out of you... I mean, the reason I get checked every 3 months is because I've had cancer 3 times....the same cancer that killed my friend...so I try to down play it and make it a "fun" family night stay in Nashville. but, I have to be honest, It does scare the crap out of me.  Too many of my friends have either died or are currently in the depths of a war zone with this stupid cancer. Now, please don't be scared to be my friend, all of my friends don't have cancer....I mean being my friend isn't going to make you get cancer, it's just because of cancer, I have developed a relationship with so many other amazing warriors. On the plus side, I've been beating stage 3 melanoma since 2006, and haven't had a recurrence since 2011, so that is some good stuff on my side.  God has really moved Big in my life and carried me through some dark times during this cancer journey and that's why I want to do my part to be the healthiest cancer patient I can be for me and my family.

So far, marathon training is going great!  I am still having some stiffness and pain in my knee from the IT band issues but nothing that is keeping me from running.  I've been incorporating a lot of Yoga on my rest days and that has helped a ton!  I did try cycling one time and I wrecked before we made it out of the parking lot, but considering the last time I rode a bike I was probably 5 and it still had training wheels, not too bad lol!  I just pray that my body can hold up to all this running, especially since I've had lots of surgery to my left hip and groin area. I'm currently in week 5 of the 18 week training plan and have ran 82.7 miles so far for July (I'm using Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan, tweaked a little by my friend Stacy>> #stacyhigdontrainingplan). 

 As I was reflecting over my running log, I realized that this month makes 2 years since I've been running.  I ran my first ever 5K 7/14/12 with a time of 30:06.  The farthest distance I ran this time last year was 7 miles.... and then 9 miles in August... and then I was injured....but I ran again in October...and then ran 13.1 miles for the first time in November 2013.  I've learned that running long distance takes patience.  You can't rush it or you'll get injured.  It's a process that takes time to allow your body to break down but rebuild stronger on those rest days. While there's no training plan to prepare you how to deal with cancer, running is definitely my peace and my freedom from this awful disease.  Running makes me feel healthy, alive and free!!!  I'm so thankful to God, that He has blessed me with this wonderful gift to run and my amazing running family.

Thanks for all your love, prayers and support!!  Praying for a completely uneventful visit and no biopsies!!

Please share the love and spread your sunscreen!!

Much love,


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vandy Update and Running adventures

Hello friends,

Sorry it's been so long since I've checked in....Things are going great!!  At my last checkup at Vanderbilt, I did have a new spot that my kids nicknamed "smiley mole", I'll post a pic below so you can see how they got the name...anyways, the new spot had some irregular vascular patterns that my Dr thought was unusual and warranted a biopsy.  Thankfully, the smiley mole was removed because the pathology came back as a moderate dysplastic melanocytic nevus (in other words, on it's way to becoming another melanoma).  Good news is, it was caught very early and my Dr excised the lesion with clear margins, so no more surgery.  I go back to Vandy in early August for another routine checkup

Smiley Mole

Biopsy Site Lt upper thigh

In other news, I ran my second half marathon (13.1 miles) with a time of 2:03 on April 6 in Xenia, OH.  It was a beautiful run with some amazing friends from my running group.  This was definitely a "shove it in cancer's face" moment :-)

Xenia Half Marathon April 6, 2014  time: 2:03

I've ran 3 5Ks since the half and hit a PR at the local Memorial Day 5K.  PRs are nice....but running means so much more than a PR. It is such a blessing to be healthy again and to have the ability to run.  It means so much more knowing what it's like to be so short of breath I couldn't hold my child, due to anemia and fatigue, and to now be able to run and not grow faint is a miracle in itself. I'm not taking this ability for granted, so I'm doing the only logical thing I know to do....I'm signing up to run a Full Marathon for Nov 2, 2014.  I have a lot of training miles ahead of me, so I plan on using this blog to keep you posted on my adventures with running over cancer.

Me and my family at the memorial day 5K...PR 26:40

Thanks for all your love, support and prayers.  Please remember to run or do outdoor activities before 10 am and after 5 pm...always share the love and spread the lotion (SPF) to those around you.

Much Love,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

3 years ago today….

Hello friends,

Out of all the days I've been alive, there aren't too many days that I can recount so vividly.  Of course there's my wedding day and the birth of my children.  and then there's the day I was first diagnosed with cancer in September 2006…I'll never forget that day or the day I started my first chemo treatment.  I'll never forget the day I held my mamaw's hand as she took her last breath or the day my best friend passed away.  I'll never forget being told I have cancer for the second time and then….for the third.

Three  years ago today Aaron and I woke up early after staying the night at a 4 star hotel in Nashville, TN.  It was the first time we have ever stayed somewhere that nice, and without our kids (thanks to Nana for keeping them).  
I remember snapping this picture of the sunset from our hotel room:


It felt like we were on the honeymoon we never got to go on.  The only bad thing was I couldn't eat any of the room service breakfast the following morning.  I had to be NPO.  The reality was, today wasn't a fun getaway, it was surgery day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to hopefully rid my body of my third melanoma recurrence.  This was the first time I had ever had surgery at Vanderbilt, and I was a little nervous to say the least.  

After getting changed into my little hospital gown I was then wheeled to the radiology department for Lymphoscintigraphy.  This is where the nuclear medicine technologist gets me prepped and makes sure I'm centered on their machine.  Once prepped, the radiologist injects the tumor in my back with 6 syringes full of radioactive material.  The radioactive material feels like a nest full of venomous wasps that are on steroids stinging viscously over my back.  No joke…the stuff is poison and it hurts!!!  After being injected..we wait for the the radioactive tracer to drain to my lymph nodes and then we scan to see which lymph nodes "light up".  All of the black spots you see on each groin in the picture below are the nodes the surgical oncologist removed during my surgery.  (side note--they also inject you with blue dye.  Alivia thought it was pretty cool that for a few days after surgery I was peeing blue)

After I was finished in Radiology I was wheeled back to pre-op to get my IV started for surgery.  My hubby hugged me and kissed me and we prayed for a successful surgery.  I can't say I remember much of the rest of the day.  Other than my Post Op nurse saying I was the best patient she had all day.  Aaron said I was telling jokes and that's about all I could get out of him….I must've been putting on quite a show :-)

Thankfully two weeks later at my followup visit we got amazing news.  All of the melanoma was surgically removed and required no further treatment other than scans and full body exams. I am currently being followed every three months and have high hopes to move to 6 months visits after my next checkup this February.

I share this story to reflect and to celebrate 3 years with No Evidence of Disease!!! I've met so many amazing cancer warriors through this journey.  I've seen some hear those amazing No Evidence of Disease words and I've seen some hear the words, "there's nothing more we can do."  I've watched this very disease ravage my best friend's body but it can't touch our soul.  With that said, I'm so very thankful for life, I'm so thankful that although I may be a "cancer patient" by golly I'm one of the healthiest cancer patients there is.  And I'm bound and determined to do everything in my power to stay that way.

Thanks for all your love and support.  Choose joy and do your part to stay healthy.  Make the call to a dermatologist for a skin check and as always share the love and spread the lotion.  Much love to you all in 2014!!!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

November 2013 trip to Vandy

Livi and Rex, the Dino Joe gave to Livi before he passed from the beast Melanoma.

Hello Friends,

Last Monday, November 25 we traveled back to Vanderbilt's Melanoma specialist for my 3 month check up.  I was really hoping to be completely boring and sneak out of there without any stitches but my Dr. saw a new spot on my back that he thought he should biopsy.  Aaron actually noticed the red bump had been on my back for about a month and that it was starting to grow larger.  It wasn't causing me any pain or itching, like the other melanoma's I've had so I wasn't all that concerned.  The resident shot my back up with some lidocaine and cut out the lesion, then stitched me up.  It really was so easy that I told her I almost fell asleep. 

 Due to the Holiday my Dr said I should get my results back on Monday, Dec 2.  They set me up for my next 3 month visit for Feb, even though I begged to graduate to 6 month visits, Dr. E said it's too risky since the last time I graduated to 6 month visits I developed an invasive melanoma.  I agreed...

Well, Monday and Tuesday passed by and now it's Wed. I was starting to get anxious and my mind was thinking too much! Thankfully I just now received a call from Vandy with my results.  The bad news is the new spot that had only been on my back for 1 month was a new Dysplastic Melanocytic Nevus.  Dysplastic means disorganized cells, meaning the cells were starting to change within the melanocytes, meaning this was on its way to becoming another melanoma.   Thank God this was caught early!!!  The really good news is, it was completely excised and I don't require any further surgery!  Praise the LORD!!!  My Dr. says in some patients a Dysplastic Nevus isn't necessarily a big deal and in theory may never turn into a melanoma but in someone with Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome and those who have had multiple melanomas, like me (<5% of patients with melanoma), it is very imperative to excise these dysplastic nevi as soon as possible because my nevi have already proven they will behave in a malignant manner.

I'm very thankful this was caught early.  I am however, kinda sad that there is no end in sight with these biopsies and Dr visits every three months.  I'm hoping and praying my kids havent inherited my melanoma gene mutation.  On the plus side, at least my Mel specialist and oncologist is in a cool city that I absolutely love.  Friends, please go get your skin checked.  This disease is so misleading and behaves so much differently than most "skin" cancers.  If caught early, there's a 99 % cure rate, but once the melanoma is invasive at the stage 3 (lymph nodes) and stage 4 (brain, bones, internal organs) there's not good treatment options.  Think of Joe (33), think of Jennifer (34), think of Addison(just a baby,  maybe 3) they all died from melanoma.  Think of Me and please Go get your skin checked!  Share the love and spread the lotion!!!

Thanks for your unending support, all the love, and most of all Your prayers!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My First Half Marathon

Friends, I finally did it!!!  I finally ran my first half marathon! First and Foremost, I want to Thank our Heavenly Father who pulled me through this race.  I cried out to Him and held on to his promises throughout the race.  He Truly "Renewed My Strength" to get through those 13.1 miles and I give Him all Praise and Glory!

Scripture I wrote on my hand

 Those of you who  follow my blog know that I've been trying to run a half marathon since this past spring, but seems like I always end up injured and always end up pushing my plans for the half back.  I've been battling IT band syndrome off and on since last January.  Each time I would take about 4 weeks off from running and build back up to around 4 miles and be injured again.  I finally went to a Chiropractor, who is a runner, that said "Alicia, you'll keep battling this IT band until we find out what's causing it."  He came to the conclusion that my bunion on my Right foot is causing me to over supinate (roll my Right foot outward) causing an imbalanced gait, and putting increased pressure on my IT band.  He also said, I can't continue just running, I must start strengthening my Glutes to help with the imbalance as well.  In order to correct the misalignment of my first metatarsal, it would require surgery that has a 6-8 week non weight-bearing recovery period.  Not what a runner wants to hear.  At this point I'm leaning more towards Not having the surgery and trying a more conservative route.  I've been taping my toe in the correct position while I run, which in turn has helped take some pressure off my IT band. It's a temporary fix, but It's helping me get longer mileage in before I have terrible throbbing sharp pains in the lateral side of my RT knee.  I also wear a Cho-pat strap around my knee to give my IT band a little hug of support, and it does seem to help.

Bruised foot
Hallux Valgus, and rotated metatarsal

Now lets talk about how I finally decided to go for the half.  I became part of  a local online running group and met some amazing runners, who run around the same pace as me.  We started doing early morning runs together this summer and started increasing our mileage.  By the end of August I ran my longest run ever, 9 miles.  It was a hilly route and I ended up having terrible IT band throbbing pain on the side of my knee around mile 4 but I was determined to finish the 9 miles.--side note-- NEVER RUN THROUGH TRUE PAIN, unless of course you are in a race.  I continued to run until we reached 9 miles and by the end I was having throbbing hip and knee pain, and I'm not talking about muscle soreness, there was something wrong.  The next morning my Right hip was red, swollen and very tender to touch.  I couldn't even bend my right knee, without terrible throbbing pain.  I went to the chiropractor and he diagnosed me with Great trochanteric bursitis of my Right hip and ITB syndrome.  He told me I had to take two weeks off from running to let the inflammation go down, then I could only run until I had felt pain.  After two weeks I tried to run and could only make it 1.5 miles until I felt the throbbing, sharp ache in my knee.  The whole month of September I spent only running 1-2 miles, which made the half marathon on NOV 10th look nearly impossible.  After several visits to the Chiropractor for therapy and weight training I could finally run 4 miles the first week of October.  I had literally, only 5 weeks to train for this half Marathon and I was still battling an injury.  The second week of October I did 5 miles, third week I did 6 miles, fourth week 7 miles and the fifth week I did 8 miles.  I noticed at the 5th week I was starting to have ITband pain around the 7 mile mark but, I also stopped in my tracks due to running over a nail that went thru my shoe and into my foot.  Thankfully, my friend Hattie pulled the nail out and it didn't go into my foot too deep.

Two weeks before the Marshall half, my friend Sara encouraged me to go ahead and sign up.  I was having doubts because I hadn't even ran farther than 8 miles in the last two months.  With her encouragement, I finally signed up and I'm so thankful I did.  The week leading up to the half, I did one 3 mile run and the rest of the week I decided to rest my legs.  I took the advice of several long distance running friends the two days leading up to the race.  On friday I ate carbs all day long..  I had doughnuts, chinese noodles, pasta, I ate a whole bag of sour patch kids, and sipped on water all day long.  The day before the race I had biscuits and gravy and an egg and cheese biscuit, a whole bag of sour patch kids, spaghetti for lunch, fettucini for supper, and I sipped on water all day long.

After Packet Pickup the night before the Half Marathon

The morning of the Marshall Half, things didn't go as planned.  Thankfully, I woke up on time, at 5 a.m. Got my running gear on, drank my coffee, took my potty break, wrapped my foot, got my knee brace, and put everything in my little bag that i would need.  Around 6a.m. (we had 10 minutes to get ready to leave) I went to put my running watch on, that I had charging all night, and it wasn't fully charged.  I checked my iPod, that I also had charging all night, and it was completely dead!  I was panicking!  The only charge my iPod got was the time we left my house until the time we got to Marshall Stadium, which was about 25 minutes.  My kids were also not wanting to get up and we were rushing to get them dressed and in the car.  I teased my friend, that I would probably get there right as the gun went off.  I literally got to the stadium within 10 minutes of the gun going off, found my friend Molly without even having to search, and as I went to the Porta potty I found my friend Hattie.  Everything fell into place perfectly.  The music was loud and so was the crowd at the starting line, it was magical!  Most of the run was a blur, I just took in all the sights and sounds and felt the rhythm of the run.  I dedicated each mile of the race to someone special to me and it truly helped me get thru each mile.  I've heard runners say, "never trust the first mile, It's a liar."  Well based on my experience, I would say, "never trust the first 6 miles, It's a liar."  My first 6 miles were terrible!  I was in pain the entire time.  I could see the pacer runners holding their sign that said "goal 2 hrs" or goal "2:10" pass right by me.  At that point I was wondering if I was going to cramp up and even be able to finish, I mean the farthest practice run before the race was 8 miles. The throbbing knee pain hit me at mile 6 but something amazing happened when I got to the 10K point.  They had a timer and a loud crowd of people cheering us on.  I was praying and quoting scripture the entire time.  A nice stranger ran up beside me and said "we are almost half way there, we got this."  Adrenaline kicked in at that point and I could immediately see my pace increase and My pain went away. I knew I was going to finish in under 2:10 when I approached the 2:10 pacer and passed her.   I was definitely feeling the "runners high" and I was on top of the world.  My music died at mile 10, so I took my ear buds out and high fived all the soldiers and little kids standing on the side of the road.  I met another stranger, and we finished the last 3.1 miles together.  This was her first half too, and I'm so thankful for her!  Her encouragement and fellowship helped me more than she will ever know.  What an amazing feeling to finally run into the stadium at Marshall Football field, to feel the turf beneath my feet and to hear my name called over the loud speaker and to cross that finish line!  My amazing friend Molly, was at the finish line waiting with a banana and bottle of water.  Then I saw my husband and kids.  I'm not going to lie, I could barely walk after I crossed the finish line and Immediately felt the crunching sound and throbbing of my knee.  I gave it all I had and had nothing left to give at the end of that race.  Thank you God for your promises and for strengthening me.  Thank you God for the amazing opportunity and ability to run.  What an honor and a privilege it is to finally cross that finish line.  Thanks to all my friends and family who encouraged me and prayed for me during all my crazy adventures!  I'm not sure what my next goal is, but I know God will strengthen me and you all will be cheering me on.  It was so nice to have something else to shove in cancer's face!!!

Finish time: 2hrs and 8 min, pace: 9min, 45 seconds.

I love the hardware!!!

Hattie and I resting our blistered feet after the 13.1 miles

The reason I run!!!  I love my family