About Me

My photo
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!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Smart Fun in the Sun

Hello Friends, Here lately I have had a lot of messages (mostly from mom's with small children and some dad's) asking what would be the best sunscreens to use on their little ones and what I do to protect my family from melanoma. I Just want to first an foremost praise these mom's and dad's for wanting to know more about being sun smart and protecting your precious babies.  When my generation of people were little our parents didn't know the dangers of the sun. We played outside all hours of the day and if you were like me you would get a few good sunburns at least in the beginning of summer and then freckle over. Sure they didn't want us to get a sun burn mostly because it hurt and we would whine, but now we know there's a more serious damage that occurs from prolonged sun exposure than what we see on the surface.  Let me explain... First off there are two different types of UV rays, UVA and UVB.  UVA rays are the type we are mostly exposed to by the sun and these are the types of rays most tanning beds use.  UVA rays can penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays.  UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and don't travel quite as far into the skin but is the cause of most sun burns. In the past UVA rays were thought to only cause wrinkling and loss of elasticity in the skin until the last two years where researchers have linked UVA exposure to the development of Melanoma.  Researchers have also said from the World Health Organization that laying in the tanning bed just one time in your youth will increase your chance of developing deadly melanoma by 75%!  That's HUGE!!!! (for more info about UVA/UVB rays and Melanoma go to http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb/understanding-uva-and-uvb)  this isn't one of those studies that says drink too much coffee and you might develop cancer, wash your hair in sulfates and you have a .00001% chance of developing cancer, this is a Lay in the tanning bed one time and your risk of developing deadly melanoma is 75%. I know those I wen't to high school with are cringing as they read this, I know I sure was.  I mean I wasn't a sun worshiper by any means but I did seasonally lay in the tanning bed a couple weeks before Prom and before I would go on summer vacation... Nothing like the Tan-Mom from Jersey who went twenty times in the last month and apparently decided to let her fair skinned 5 yr old join in on the tanning madness.  Melanoma is becoming an epidemic and taking the lives of way too many young people mostly due to the increase in tanning bed users.  I believe the cycle is going to stop with My generation of Mom's and Dad's.  Sadly most of the damage has already been done to our skin Mom's and Dad's...all we can do now is prevent any further damage, make sure we do regular skin checks and be an example of how to be sun smart to our children. If you have had a serious blistering sunburn or ever stepped foot inside a tanning bed PLEASE GO GET YO SKIN CHECKED!!!!!  We can't turn back time and change the mistakes we made but we may be able to catch the cancer in the earliest of stages if we just get checked.  If melanoma is found and treated early it has an amazing 99% 5 year survival rate but that rate drops drastically once melanoma has spread to lymph nodes and organs.  As I have said before, there are some rare cases where melanoma occurs in some patients who have practically lived under a rock and never been to a tanning bed or spent much time in the sun but still developed melanoma.  Most of these cases are linked to mutations and decreased immune systems, so even if you don't spend much time in UV radiation  if you have skin go get it checked!!!!  And don't think because you have that nice bronze skin tone that you are exempt from the Beast cause If you have skin you are not exempt...Bob Marly (Jamaican Reggae Musician)  died from Melanoma that started on his foot and spread to his brain so please be safe.  If you are lacking in Vitamin D then take a Vitamin D3 supplement don't go putting yourself at risk for Melanoma by being exposed to unsafe amounts of UV exposure.  I just wanna say that I love being outside and I love spending time in the sun. About 15 minutes of unprotected sun time is what my Dr's recommend as a safe amount of UV exposure.  Anymore than 15 and my Dr's recommend me covering up in sunscreen.  Being sun smart doesn't mean that we hide in our homes and not come outside until after 4pm.  If we do that then Melanoma has already won. we can't let the beast control our lives, we just have to be smarter. While it is true that the sun's rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm there will be times that we can't avoid being outside at these times.  The sun is not our enemy, we just have to learn to give the Sun Respect by sharing the Love and Spreading the Lotion.  Here are My tips to Respect The Sun's Rays and Still have fun:

  • Designate a Fun in the SUN TOTE BAG to put all your sun safe items in (AND NEVER Leave home without it)
  • Wide Brim Hat's (for mom, dad, and each child)
  • Sunglasses (for mom, dad, and each child)
  • Sunscreen (with naturally sourced ingredients such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.  These two physical sunscreens are gentle on the skin and provide Broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.  You will also want to make sure your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 or higher) I love California Baby Sunscreen but it's very expensive ($20 for a small tube) I have found some cheaper alternatives at Walmart that contains zinc oxide or Titanium Dioxide such as Neutrogena Pure and Free baby($10), Coppertone Sensitive Skin($8), and Banana Boat Natural reflect Baby($7-$8).  Make Sure to REAPPLY Sunscreen at Least Every TWO Hours.
  • Lip Protection/sunscreen (Make sure it is at least SPF 30 and provides UVA/UVB Protection)  Burt's Bee's has a really good lip balm and I really like the Blistex Five Star Lip Protection with SPF 30. 
  • WE also have a UV protection Tent for times when we will have direct sunlight for an extended period of time and this tent provides much needed shade from the harmful rays.
  • For the people in your life who hates sunscreen (like My Hubby and little boy) you can always pack sun protective clothing such as UV SKINZwww.uvskinz.com and I've also seen Sun protective clothing at Old Navy and DIcks Sporting goods.
Have an AMAZING Summer and Don't forget to be Sun Smart!  Much love and God Bless Each of you:-)

No comments:

Post a Comment