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!

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