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!

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


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Radiology Report

Hello friends,  My nurse from Vandy just messaged me my official radiology report.  They didn't mention anything about a new lung nodule and all my lung nodules appear stable!!!! In the message she said no new metastatic disease.  Stable scan!!! Praise God!!!!  Thanks for all your prayers :-) check it out :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vandy 7/8/13

Hello friends, I just wanted to give a quick update while traveling on my way home from Nashville. I'm typing this on my phone so I appologize in advance for any typos. 

 We had a great quick trip and guess what??  No biopsies!!!  My first appointment was with dermatology where I was first examined by one of the residents.  She found a spot she thought was suspicious but when Dr E looked thru the dermascope he said it was just a Nevus but not atypical.  Thank God I got out of there without stitches!!!!

Next on my agenda was to check in for my CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis with IV contrast.  The tech had a really hard time getting my IV but after the third try finally got it:-) the scan was pretty quick and easy even though I had the typical tight feeling in my chest and warm tingly sensation.  After my scan I was starving so we went to Ted's Montana grill for lunch.  

After lunch we went back to the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center where I checked in to see my oncologist.  My official CT report wasn't back yet but he pulled up the scan on PACS and reviewed it himself.  He saw one small new lung nodule but nothing he was overly concerned about.  He said we will wait and see what the radiologist thought of it but he wasn't concerned.  I'm going to follow up with him in 6 months and Dermatology wants to see me again in 3 months.  I tried to get Dr E to let me go to 6 months as well but he said I scare him since I've had 3 melanoma primary tumors and too many dysplastic to count on my fingers and toes.  

...And Dr E said my big purple toe needs to be seen by an orthopedic podiatrist.  He is also a runner and thinks I may need orthotics.  He also recommended getting my GP to check my SED rate and Uric acid to make sure it's not Gout or arthritis.  

Overall I'd say this was a fantastic checkup!!!!  Praise God from whom all blessing flow.  Now I'm just hoping this radiologist agrees that this lung nodule is nothing of concern:-). God bless each of you for your love and your prayers!!!!!

Here is a pic of the cute little dog "swoosh" the Vandy volunteer was walking around the children's center.  This little cutie was so sweet and great for my kiddos to play with.
My supporters and light of my life!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Living, Loving, Running and Oh yea...Cancer

Hello friends,

Sorry I'm just now updating you with my April Biopsy results!  After a long trip to Vandy I just wanted to forget that I'm a cancer patient and get back into work, family, laundry, cleaning toilets, running 6 miles....ANYTHING besides being a cancer patient. Thankfully it was only dysplastic (pre-cancerous) and my Dr. excised clear margins during the biopsy, so I didn't require any additional surgery.  Praise be to our amazing God!!! 

Here lately I've just been enjoying life and doing everything in my power to be as healthy as possible.  Getting a cancer diagnosis three times has a way of making you appreciate even the smallest things just a little more.  I've found the only person who keeps us from accomplishing our goals isn't the cancer or our disease it's us.  There was a time I couldn't run because I was too sick but God has blessed me with good health now.  The mind is such a powerful thing.  If you believe you can you will!  Instead of coming up with all kinds of reasons why I can't run I just started running and now I can run 6 miles without stopping.  When I first started running last Summer I couldn't even run a half mile without feeling like I was dying.  My motivation is to run for all those who are sick and unable to run.  I think of my friend Joe who is now running among the angels in heaven.  I think of those who are on chemo too sick to even walk.  I think of all the people who would love to run but just can't.  Every time I run I think of you all and it motivates me to keep going.  I run to show Melanoma Who's BOSS!

I still haven't checked the half marathon off my bucket list just yet but I'm working toward it.  I was planning on running a half marathon in April but my friend and I both ended up injured.  She fractured her tibia and I was dealing with an IT band injury.  We took some time off to heal but I've slowly started increasing my mileage again throughout the month of June. Hopefully we'll be able to Kill a Half this fall.  I'm signed up to run my first ever 10K this coming Saturday July 6, 2013.  I've been having some redness and swelling of my Big toe MTP joint with throbbing pain (i'm really hoping it's not arthritis--a long term side affect of interferon) so please pray I'm able to push through the pain during this race.  

You know reality has a way of just slapping you right in the face sometimes.  I'm getting to that point again where I finally feel healthy and then BOOM!   I'm doing all those things that healthy people do.  I'm juicing.  I'm running.  I'm praying.  I have a family.  I have friends that love me.  I just overall feel great!!!  But then I get the call from my oncology nurse at Vandy wanting to set up my CT chest, Abdomen, and Pelvis scan for re-staging and all of a sudden I feel like a cancer patient again.  I feel that crippling fear of what if they find something.  I'm suddenly at war with myself on the inside-- But I feel fine--why even go to the Dr--there's nothing wrong--but what if there is--my friend Joe felt fine and on his routine scan his melanoma spread to his lung--Dear God this is a reality--this is my life--give me strength Lord because I am so very weak--   I go next Monday July 8 to Vandy to see my Dermatologist at 10am, CT scans at 11:20am, and Oncology appointment at 2pm.  Please keep me in your prayers that I have the most boring scans ever seen at Vandy! Until then this is the song I sing and it just soothes my soul:

By:  Jesus Culture

One Thing Remains lyrics

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
this one thing remains

You're love never fails 
Never gives up, Never runs out on Me

And on and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I'll never ever have to be afraid
This one thing remains
This one thing remains

In death, in life
I'm confident and covered by the power of 
Your great love

My debt is paid 
There's nothing that can separate my 
heart from your
great love.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Follow me with Bloglovin

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Hello Friends,

Follow my blog with www.bloglovin.com.  After July 1, 2013 (tomorrow) google reader will no longer exist! Those of you who use blogspot might want to sign up with bloglovin as well.  I just signed up today thanks to my friend Chelsea for letting me know this was happening!  Chelsea says bloglovin makes it much easier to keep up with blogs you follow because they send you an email with new blog updates. Thanks for all your love, prayers and support for me along this fight against melanoma!!!  I've been super busy living and loving life but I hope to update you all soon!

Much love,


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Vandy appointment 4-29-13

Hello friends,

Sorry I've yet again neglected my little blog.  I have been super busy with my new job (that I am loving by the way) and busy with life that I haven't made much time for blogging.  Isn't that what we are all fighting for anyways?   To live?  I'm enjoying life with my family and so thankful for the privilege of celebrating my 31st birthday on May 3.  I'm enjoying watching my little girl score her first goal during a soccer game, acting silly with my two little ones, eating ice-cream, swinging at the park with my kids, holding my husbands hand, jogging with my family, and just living.  I am so very thankful for each day God has blessed me with.  I must not waste it and live it to the fullest.

Ok enough of the rambling...
On Monday April 29, 2013 I traveled back to Vandy for my 3 month exam.  I did have a new little spot that came up within the past month on my left leg near my knee.  I'll post a pic of it below.  It totally isn't my typical style so hopefully its nothing.  This little booger is pigmented and all of my other melanomas or dysplastic lesions have been Amelanotic (no pigment).  Since this little guy was new and had some color variation my Dr decided to biopsy it. Under the dermoscope he said it had some asymmetric cells so he did a little punch biopsy.  I haven't received the results yet, hopefully they call me monday with "Completely Benign".

I'm a goofball....Me waiting for the Dr.

For those of you who haven't got your skin checked yet WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Make the call and get checked out!  May is Melanoma awareness month and there is usually a ton of free skin cancer screening throughout the month.  Check with your local hospital or health care facility to see if they are offering free screenings in your area.

Also go to the app store if you have a smart phone and download the UV index app.  I check it everyday and it gives you the UV index minute by minute in your area.  Make sure to wear at least 50 SPF and use a sunscreen that uses physical elements like Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.  Re-apply often!!!  Pale skin is in People!!!!  We are bringing pale back Oh Yea!!!!  And Please Share the love and spread the lotion to all those you love :-)

My new little spot that is now gone and hopefully completely nothing to be concerned about.
My little biopsy site.  See friends these biopsies aren't too bad (i think this is my 30th biopsy)  so get your skin checked!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Running beyond my cancer

Hello Friends,

As most of you already know I LOVE TO RUN!  Let me rephrase that, I love the feeling after I finish a run.  The feeling of great accomplishment after running a pace or a distance that I once thought was unattainable.  That feeling of Success, that feeling of Shoving my run in cancers face!  Yep, it feels pretty darn good and keeps me coming back for more.

Some may see me post about my running and think I've ran all my life and running must come easy for me but that's far from the truth.  You see, when I was in high school I ran track but my distance didn't go further than the 800 meter dash or the 1 mile.  I was actually a cheerleader and more interested in my gymnastics skills more than anything.

Fast forward to my college years and I mainly did gymnastics and weights for exercise with the occasional one mile jog.  I was never interested in running more than a mile and certainly wasn't interested in running a 5K.  In fact the first time I ever ran more than 1-2 miles was just last summer when some friends from church had this crazy ideal to train for Tough Mudder KY.

 I was just recovering from one of my multiple Melanoma type surgeries on my bum in May 2012.  Four weeks later I started training with my team and I thought I was going to die.  I could barely run a full mile without feeling this burning in my chest and I couldn't breath.  It didn't help that it was 90 something degrees outside.  After training for four weeks with my team I signed up for my first ever 5K.  I didn't finish in some amazing record time but I did my best with a 30 minute 5K.

After four months of training it was finally time to face Tough Mudder Ky.  It wasn't as tough as chemo for a year but it was definitely tough.  12 miles in the cold mud all while getting electrically shocked, inhaling smoke, jumping over fire into muddy ice cold water, the dreaded arctic enema, the berlin walls, and many other of the 21 military style obstacles.  Needless to say it was an amazing thing to finish with my team.  Tough mudder is a different beast than running.  It was more mental grit, strength, and stamina than cardiovascular strength.  It was cold unlike anything I've endured--we all had hypothermia from being wet the entire time. I don't mind running in the cold because I eventually warm up, but with tough mudder we were cold the entire time because we were constantly in and out of water with ice cubes.

 Anyways, my point is we each have something we battle each day to get up and get our run on. As a cancer patient, who thankfully has no active disease, I still battle with the lingering effects from the surgery to remove the invasive melanoma.  I had a lot of muscle and nerves excised from my left hip and lymphedema in my pelvis from the lymph node removals.  Thankfully these mild annoyances motivate me to run harder and farther.  Some of us are mother runners and that is a battle in itself.  Others may battle a physical ailment that makes it difficult for them to run.  For others, it may be a battle mentally such as feeling you just cant possibly run.  But please don't look at someone else's success and think it came easy.  It came with a lot of hard work and it was earned.  Those who run Marathons and half marathons are no different than you and I.  You and I can be marathoners too, we just have to want it bad enough.

 I actually started back running just 2 weeks ago (after recovering from yet another surgery, thankfully not melanoma related) for my first ever half marathon coming up April 27.  I feel better than ever!  Running gives me the mental clarity I need to be the best wife, mom, friend and sonographer I can be.  I usually run at 5 am while everyone in my house is still asleep.  I only run 3 days per week-- 2 short distance runs and one long distance run on friday or saturday.  I'm not sure running a marathon is in my future because I don't have the desire to run that far at this time but I sure do admire the hard work and determination it takes to run that kind of race.  In fact I am inspired by all runners, even if you can only run for 3 minutes without stopping because you are simply an overcomer!  Your obstacle may not be cancer or the lingering effects of surgery but what ever it is, let it motivate you to move forward to a better healthier you.  Please remember to love the skin you're in!  Share the love and spread the lotion especially if you will be running outdoors.  Blessings to each of you as you set your goals and achieve them!

Much love,

Friday, March 1, 2013

Open Doors

Hello Friends,

Sorry I have neglected my little blog for so long!  I even forgot to update my amazing news from my last biopsy at Vandy...It was completely Benign!!!  I've been doing so good!  I had surgery on January 29 for the Essure procedure to sterilize my fallopian tubes and then I had an Endometrial ablation (I have been battling anemia).  I recovered well from the surgery and began running two weeks ago.  I've been tracking my runs on the map my run app.  So many new exciting things are happening in my life and I'm so pumped to share them with you all!

You may remember me writing a blog a few months ago titled Changes.  To summarize it a bit, I was offered a position through the company I worked for to travel an hour from home to a new facility.  They would pay my mileage, No Weekends, No Holidays, and most importantly NO CALL.  It sounded like a great opportunity, so I took it (that was Nov 2011).  Fast forward to November 2012, I was told the new facility would be a hospital (not an imaging facility) and I would have to accomodate the physicians with 24/7 call.  This meant I would have to carry a pager everyday of my life all while living an hour away.  The kicker was when I was told I couldn't go back to my old position although I wasn't told these changes upfront and I had more seniority and more credentials.

I'll never forget the day I almost wanted to just walk off the job because things were getting so bad.  It was December 5, 2012.  I told my husband we needed to pray because I couldn't continue working for this company with the unreasonable amount of call they required and all the lies. I got online and typed in "Ultrasound jobs" in the city and state where I live.  Just two hours prior a position at a facility just 3 miles from my house was posted.  I stayed up until 2am writing my resume and applying for this position.  After applying for this position there was another nearby job open up and another.  I had three opportunities and they all three offered me their position.  I am so thankful for God opening these doors and so thankful to be starting my new job this coming monday.  The hard part was leaving my co-workers who have become like family to me.  I miss them already!  Sometimes, the bad things that happens in our lives can motivate us to knock on doors we wouldn't have ever thought to knock on before.  And these doors can open up amazing blessings!

It was scary leaving the place I've worked at for nearly 9 years! My first fear was getting slapped with a pre-existing condition and not getting insurance coverage.  I found out the rule is you must get coverage within 63 days of your last day of coverage.  What if my new insurance company doesn't allow me to go to VAndy because it's out of network?  What if I can't even find a job?  What if they hold the fact that I've had cancer against me?  Well, that would be discrimination, but still it scared me. At this point I wasn't about to let my history with this Beast stand in the way of me grabbing one of these awesome opportunities.  Besides, I've worked hard to be where I am today with my BS, RT(R)RDMS(AB)(OB)RVT(V).  During my physical for my new job the cancer issue came up and the Dr looked at all my scars and where the lymph nodes were removed.  She said "you are lucky to be alive".  I said, "yes, I'm very thankful and I'm doing great with no active disease." I said, "I'm the healthiest girl you'll meet! I run 3-4 days a week and I eat as healthy as I can."  She cleared me for work Thank God!!!

The next exiting thing is...I'm training for my first ever Half Marathon.  Me and my best friend since Kindergarten are running the race together.  The awesome thing is It's for St.Jude's cancer research and It's in Nashville!  The race is April 27, 2013 and my next followup appointment at Vandy is April 29.   This weekend my long run goal is 5-6 miles.  I plan on increasing my mileage 1-2 miles each week in preparation for the race.  My goal for the half (13.1 miles) is Just to FInish it.  Although running it in 2 hrs would be fabulous, I only have 10 weeks to train for it.  I'm just looking forward to Showing Melanoma Who's Boss!

Blessings to you all and Happy March 1st!  Be sure to do your monthly skin exam and Share the love and spread the lotion!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vandy Trip 1-14-13

Hello Friends,

I had two appointments on Monday 1-14-13 at Vanderbilt's Melanoma clinic.  One at 11 am with My Dermatologist who is a melanoma specialist and studies patients with multiple melanomas.  Then an appointment at 2:15 pm with my oncologist.

The full body skin check during my first appointment went great except for one new raised pink bump on the back of my left thigh.  Under dermoscopy this lesion had some tortuous blood vessels which raised suspicion to my Derm for Amelanotic Melanoma.  Since Amelanotic melanomas don't have pigment; dermatologist look for certain vessel patterns within the lesion under dermoscopy.  Since this new bump raised some suspicion I couldn't slide out of that appointment without a punch biopsy and some stitches.  It's ok though...better to be safe than sorry and besides I have had so many biopsies at this point that they don't even hurt.  This must be like 30 something haha!!!  I was really hoping to be able to follow up at 6 month increments but my derm feels it is in my best interest to continue 3 month surveillance due to having melanoma three times and multiple dysplastic nevi.  Anyhow, I get stitches out in two weeks and results hopefully tomorrow or monday.  I really feel like its going to be negative.  I'm just so ready to get on with my life.  I've been dealing with this stinkin melanoma since I turned 24 and I'm ready to put it behind me and move foreword.

My 2:15 pm appointment with my oncologist went a lot better than my earlier appointment.  Dr. K said my scans looked great.  He said I have big lymph nodes and yes they have increased a little but not enough to consider it unstable.  I have had enlarged nodes since my last surgery, could just be related to inflammation or the fact that these nodes are compensating for all the nodes I've had removed.  I told Dr. K I was really hoping to graduate to six month visits and he agreed. Yay!!!!  I also told him I'm really getting tired of all the scans.  I literally told him "I feel fine.  I just completed a 12 mile, 21 obstacle military style course in October.  Can you please just follow me clinically?'  Thankfully, He agreed.  He said I may still need to get at least an annual CT Chest, Abdomen, and Pelvis scan but we will stop with the every 3-6 month scanning.  He even said, "Go live your life.  If this comes back as stage 4 it's a poor prognosis whether we scan and find it or its found when you are symptomatic."  He said it really doesn't change the outcome because the best shot you have at beating this if it's found at stage four is finding a treatment this cancer will respond to." I don't want to wait around and worry if this is going to come back "Ain't no body Got time for that" lol... I have too much living I want to do now and if it comes back I will cross that bridge then but for now I'm fine.   I will have blood work and be followed clinically from here on out with maybe annual scans.

 My next appointment is with my Vandy Derm in April and my local oncologist in May.  I truly appreciate all of your love, prayers and support.  I will update as soon as I get the results from my recent biopsy.  I'm hoping for good news!  Only Positive thinking allowed :-)  Don't forget to share the love and spread the lotion to all those you meet.  God bless each of you!!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013~New Opportunities~New Challenges

Hello Friends,

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted.  I have been busy working and spending quality time with my friends and family.  Life has been good!!!

I traveled to Nashville, TN for an ultrasound of the remaining lymph nodes in my bilateral inguinal region in Mid December.  I didn't get to see my oncologist at the time because he had to be out of town and we rescheduled to meet on January 14, 2013.  My report states that I have multiple enlarged inguinal lymph nodes however, the appearance is most likely inflammatory type.  The largest is in the left groin and measures 2.6 cm in greatest dimension.  Overall I feel good about the report and hopefully these nodes are just related to inflammation.  I see two doctors when I go to Vandy in January for a full body skin exam and to see my oncologist.  I'm looking up and hoping for good news!

This was in December during my trip to Vandy.  We took a little horse and carriage ride through downtown Nashville.
This is Pete the horse that took us around downtown Nashville
I've had another minor health issue going on for a while now cause anemia.  BOYS, if you are reading SKIP to the next Paragraph!  I'm having a D&C, endometrial ablation, and sterilization procedure on January 29, 2013.  Hopefully this will help with my anemia that is caused by 28 days of menstruation.  It's a very easy, minor procedure but It does require anesthesia so I appreciate your prayers.

We had a great Christmas vacation with our little family!  We don't go overboard on gift buying because Christmas means more about celebrating our hope in Jesus and sharing love with one another than spending money.  Andrew's favorite gift was his toy car and Livi loved her Merida Doll!  My greatest gift was getting the week off from work to spend every moment with my little family.

Andrew loves his car!  Livi loves her Merida Doll!

Andrew, Me, and Livi at Great Wolfe Lodge over Christmas vacation.
I have done a lot of reflecting about 2012 this past week and while there was some very trying times with walking my dear friend Joe through the dying process and finding the words to describe such an honorable person as he asked me to write/speak his eulogy-- my blessings far outweigh the bad. It was through my friend Joe that I found the courage to start running again and to sign up and complete Tough Mudder KY (some consider this the Toughest event on the planet) and to start back doing gymnastics (which I haven't done in YEARS).  God has been so good to me and blessed my family far more than we deserve.  I find that if I ever have a moment of feeling down and out, If I just start counting my blessings I realize they outnumber anything bad that has happened.

2013 will bring about new opportunities and Challenges to each of us.  It's how we respond to those things we face that will determine our outcome.  I personally pray for wisdom and for understanding as we face what 2013 brings to the plate.  I invite God to search me and cleans me from anything that will hold me back from bringing glory to Him.  God also gives us free will to make choices.  He gave us this life and it's up to us to do good with it.  I choose to run my little heart out and to do everything in my power to be as healthy as possible.  I'm signing up to run my first ever half marathon which is 13.1 miles on March 30, 2013 in Lexington, KY.  I'm also teaching gymnastics for a local school for Autism in January!

I saw this little quote on one of my friends fb page that said "You know all those things you've always wanted to do?  You should go Do Them."  It's called a "Bucket list".  So get a pen and piece of paper and start writing down all those things you want to do.  Surround yourself with people who will support you, start a blog, and do it for you!  Do it for your family!  Get out there and do all those things You want to do.  Life is short- Life is precious-Your life matters, so Make it Count!

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  Isaiah 43:19