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, 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!