Hello Friends, Today I read an article on the ABC news blog titled "Extreme Tanner says skin cancer wouldn't stop her." After I finished reading this article my heart was just broken. How can we reach these people? I'm fearful for their lives and if they don't get melanoma imagine how these beautiful young girls will look 10 years from now. Friends, if you know me and you know me well you know that I'm not a judgmental person. I have friends who are gay, lesbian, muslim, and friends who tan. In no way will I ever judge you or call you names for doing so. My motto is to share the love and spread awareness by educating others about Melanoma in a loving way... not putting them down. Chances are if you are someone who lays in the tanning bed, then (A) you haven't been educated on the dangers of tanning and the SERIOUSNESS of skin cancer or (B) You know the dangers but you enter at your own risk. Those that fall into the (B) category also usually have the mindset that "it won't happen to me". Well I actually fell into both of those categories so I guess you could call this category (C) totally not realizing skin cancer IS CANCER and It CAN and WILL KILL! I think the two young girls fall into category (C) just like me. One of the extreme tanners, Giana Gerardo (24) said, "It makes me feel good and I feel comfortable in my skin." Before I was a Melanoma cancer patient, I too use to think like that. But now when I see tanned skin (that is not natural) it saddens me. Now let me set this straight. I never was an Extreme Tanner by any means. I was just one of those girls with pale freckled skin that liked a little color during the summer months. It's just what most teens I went to high school with did for prom and to look good in their bathing suits. I even used those tanning beds that used UVA radiation and not the UVB, which the tanning experts said was good for my skin because I wouldn't burn. I believed every word they told me and I loved the golden color of my skin when I was finished laying in their bed. I probably only used a tanning bed 5-10 times each summer since I was a freshman in high school and some while in college.
There was a lady I went to church with while in college who pulled me aside and said "young lady please be careful using those tanning beds." My reply was "Oh, I don't go that much. I only go a couple times to get a base tan and I use the healthier beds. Plus if I get skin cancer I'll just have it cut off and be done with it." Whoahhh!!! boy am I eating my words now. I had no idea you could actually die from skin cancer and I really had no idea that there was more to getting rid of the skin cancer than just cutting off a mole. In the article the extreme tanner named Trisha Paytas said, "If you told me that I have skin cancer I don't think I would stop." She said, "Scrape it off and keep going." Trisha, I wish somehow you would read my blog. you are a gorgeous young lady. You don't need to be tan to be pretty. It took me a long time to realize that being tan isn't worth it. It took a year of immunotherapy/chemo, high dose 5 days per week for a month and then 3 days per week the next ELEVEN MONTHS!!! I was taken off the toxic treatment three weeks shy of finishing the full year course due to having a stroke, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Anemia, and a blood infection which required several days in the hospital on strong IV antibiotics. Removing the Melanoma was much worse than scrapping it off....if you look at my pictures on the right of my blog you'll see I had a huge slab of tissue (down to the bone as a matter of fact) removed from my left hip along with several lymph nodes from my pelvis and groin. Not to mention the ongoing scans, skin checks, biopsies, blood work, and oncology visits. Since the first surgery I've endured two more Melanoma surgeries, one on my right shoulder and the other on my left lower back. I've also had more dysplastic lesions removed than I can count on my fingers and toes. I wish I could say those dysplastic PRE-SKIN cancer lesions were just scrapped but Nope those were CUT out too. Even the biopsies I get require stitches, no scrapping. It actually took my most recent severely dysplastic melanocytic lesion 3 months to completely heal because the wound busted open and had to heal from the inside out. Not only is Melanoma not scrapped off but it takes a while to feel like you can keep going. It leaves scars on the inside...the scars of worrying if its going to come back to places like your liver, your lungs, or your brain. The scars of missing out on the first year of my daughters life because it's all but a blur from the cancer treatment I was on. Melanoma is serious and I don't want anyone to go through what I've been through. I understand how you can think being tan is pretty and makes you feel better. Believe me, I thought the same way. But i'm telling you IT's NOT WORTH IT!!!! Friends, If you tan or ever tanned I will not judge you, but please educate yourself and please get your skin checked cause your chances of developing deadly melanoma have increased by 75%. I love you all!!! Remember to Share the Love and Spread the Lotion.
- Alicia B
- 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!