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, October 26, 2014

7 Day Countdown to 26.2

"Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart." Psalm 26:2 NASB

So, how cool is this verse?!  Not only is it fitting that it happens to have the numbers 26:2 but read it over and over...."examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart."  David's desire was to have the inmost part of his soul searched and examined by the Lord...his mind and his heart tested. The scripture goes on to say in vs 3 "For Your lovingkindess is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth."  

During Worship this morning, as the band was playing "made to thrive" by Casting Crowns, I was overcome with emotion.  I began to cry as I sang the words with thanksgiving to God for all He has brought me through.  Scripture tells us to put on the full armor of God so that in the day of battle we'll be prepared...we don't know what might be thrown at us in this life but we have to be prepared to fight.  

"Here In this worn and weary land where many a dream has died
   like a tree planted by the water we never will run dry

   so living water flowing through God we thirst for more of you
   fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire

   Just to know you and to make you known we lift your name on High
   shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
   We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
   It's time for us to more than just survive 
   We were made to thrive"

As I sang the words to this song, I thought about the 12 months I endured chemo...I thought about the days I didn't want to get out of bed...the days my bones hurt just to walk or get myself dressed...I thought about the memories of my baby girl that I can't recall because of the brain fog from the cancer treatments. I thought about my friend, Joe, who passed away from the beast, Melanoma. I know most people don't understand or "get" why I run or why I would want to run "that far" and that's ok...I never dreamed I would have the desire either. In fact, this time last year I was running my first 1/2 marathon (13.1 mi) and the pain I felt at the end of that race made me say "there's no way I could ever run a full."  

It's funny how things change...I met this crazy girl who said it would be a good ideal to run 26.2 miles together... "we'll do Hal Higdon's 18 week training plan" she said..."we'll get a group together" she said...."it will be fun" she said... "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17.  We are definitely stronger together! There's no way I could've made it this far without them and God pulling me through.  The marathon is so much more than a 26.2 mile race...as a matter of fact it's taken a total of 434.4 miles training since the end of June to get us to that starting line.  "We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives It's time for us to more than just survive.......


Big thanks to the 5KC, my sole brothers and sisters, my friends and family for all your love and support.  Please keep me and all the runners in your prayers as we set out to run 26.2 miles next Sunday at 7:00a.m.  Here are some pics from various long runs and races during the past 18 weeks.  #Showingcancerwhosboss
8 mile taper run

8 mile taper run

16 mile long run

Finishing Adams co 1/2 marathon

Adams co 1/2 marathon with my sole sisters

Adams co 1/2 marathon, PR: 2:02

Adams co 1/2 marathon

18 mile long run

Adams County, Ohio 13.1 mi

18 mile group run


5 mi

Charleston, WV 15 miler

Charleston, WV 15 miler

Add caption

15 miles

8 miles

4 miles

10 miles

13.1 miles from Flying J to Starbucks

4 Miles

4 miles

Charleston, WV 15 miler.

6 mile training run

First time riding a bike since childhood.

Got out of my comfort zone and went on a little bike ride.
Cancer 5K

Color Run with Livi

Cancer 5K with Livi

Cancer 5K 

5K for pregnancy and infant loss awareness

yoga with Livi.
Marathon gift from my sole sister, Stacy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's that time again....

Hey friends,

I can't believe three months have gone by so fast!!!  I've been so focused on my family and marathon training, that I've not thought to much about this upcoming appointment, until I got the text reminder this morning "Vanderbilt:  appointment reminder August 4 @11:30"

Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my mind around these Dr appointments.  If you really think about the reality of it, it'll scare the crap out of you... I mean, the reason I get checked every 3 months is because I've had cancer 3 times....the same cancer that killed my friend...so I try to down play it and make it a "fun" family night stay in Nashville. but, I have to be honest, It does scare the crap out of me.  Too many of my friends have either died or are currently in the depths of a war zone with this stupid cancer. Now, please don't be scared to be my friend, all of my friends don't have cancer....I mean being my friend isn't going to make you get cancer, it's just because of cancer, I have developed a relationship with so many other amazing warriors. On the plus side, I've been beating stage 3 melanoma since 2006, and haven't had a recurrence since 2011, so that is some good stuff on my side.  God has really moved Big in my life and carried me through some dark times during this cancer journey and that's why I want to do my part to be the healthiest cancer patient I can be for me and my family.

So far, marathon training is going great!  I am still having some stiffness and pain in my knee from the IT band issues but nothing that is keeping me from running.  I've been incorporating a lot of Yoga on my rest days and that has helped a ton!  I did try cycling one time and I wrecked before we made it out of the parking lot, but considering the last time I rode a bike I was probably 5 and it still had training wheels, not too bad lol!  I just pray that my body can hold up to all this running, especially since I've had lots of surgery to my left hip and groin area. I'm currently in week 5 of the 18 week training plan and have ran 82.7 miles so far for July (I'm using Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan, tweaked a little by my friend Stacy>> #stacyhigdontrainingplan). 

 As I was reflecting over my running log, I realized that this month makes 2 years since I've been running.  I ran my first ever 5K 7/14/12 with a time of 30:06.  The farthest distance I ran this time last year was 7 miles.... and then 9 miles in August... and then I was injured....but I ran again in October...and then ran 13.1 miles for the first time in November 2013.  I've learned that running long distance takes patience.  You can't rush it or you'll get injured.  It's a process that takes time to allow your body to break down but rebuild stronger on those rest days. While there's no training plan to prepare you how to deal with cancer, running is definitely my peace and my freedom from this awful disease.  Running makes me feel healthy, alive and free!!!  I'm so thankful to God, that He has blessed me with this wonderful gift to run and my amazing running family.

Thanks for all your love, prayers and support!!  Praying for a completely uneventful visit and no biopsies!!

Please share the love and spread your sunscreen!!

Much love,


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vandy Update and Running adventures

Hello friends,

Sorry it's been so long since I've checked in....Things are going great!!  At my last checkup at Vanderbilt, I did have a new spot that my kids nicknamed "smiley mole", I'll post a pic below so you can see how they got the name...anyways, the new spot had some irregular vascular patterns that my Dr thought was unusual and warranted a biopsy.  Thankfully, the smiley mole was removed because the pathology came back as a moderate dysplastic melanocytic nevus (in other words, on it's way to becoming another melanoma).  Good news is, it was caught very early and my Dr excised the lesion with clear margins, so no more surgery.  I go back to Vandy in early August for another routine checkup

Smiley Mole

Biopsy Site Lt upper thigh

In other news, I ran my second half marathon (13.1 miles) with a time of 2:03 on April 6 in Xenia, OH.  It was a beautiful run with some amazing friends from my running group.  This was definitely a "shove it in cancer's face" moment :-)

Xenia Half Marathon April 6, 2014  time: 2:03

I've ran 3 5Ks since the half and hit a PR at the local Memorial Day 5K.  PRs are nice....but running means so much more than a PR. It is such a blessing to be healthy again and to have the ability to run.  It means so much more knowing what it's like to be so short of breath I couldn't hold my child, due to anemia and fatigue, and to now be able to run and not grow faint is a miracle in itself. I'm not taking this ability for granted, so I'm doing the only logical thing I know to do....I'm signing up to run a Full Marathon for Nov 2, 2014.  I have a lot of training miles ahead of me, so I plan on using this blog to keep you posted on my adventures with running over cancer.

Me and my family at the memorial day 5K...PR 26:40

Thanks for all your love, support and prayers.  Please remember to run or do outdoor activities before 10 am and after 5 pm...always share the love and spread the lotion (SPF) to those around you.

Much Love,


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

3 years ago today….

Hello friends,

Out of all the days I've been alive, there aren't too many days that I can recount so vividly.  Of course there's my wedding day and the birth of my children.  and then there's the day I was first diagnosed with cancer in September 2006…I'll never forget that day or the day I started my first chemo treatment.  I'll never forget the day I held my mamaw's hand as she took her last breath or the day my best friend passed away.  I'll never forget being told I have cancer for the second time and then….for the third.

Three  years ago today Aaron and I woke up early after staying the night at a 4 star hotel in Nashville, TN.  It was the first time we have ever stayed somewhere that nice, and without our kids (thanks to Nana for keeping them).  
I remember snapping this picture of the sunset from our hotel room:


It felt like we were on the honeymoon we never got to go on.  The only bad thing was I couldn't eat any of the room service breakfast the following morning.  I had to be NPO.  The reality was, today wasn't a fun getaway, it was surgery day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to hopefully rid my body of my third melanoma recurrence.  This was the first time I had ever had surgery at Vanderbilt, and I was a little nervous to say the least.  

After getting changed into my little hospital gown I was then wheeled to the radiology department for Lymphoscintigraphy.  This is where the nuclear medicine technologist gets me prepped and makes sure I'm centered on their machine.  Once prepped, the radiologist injects the tumor in my back with 6 syringes full of radioactive material.  The radioactive material feels like a nest full of venomous wasps that are on steroids stinging viscously over my back.  No joke…the stuff is poison and it hurts!!!  After being injected..we wait for the the radioactive tracer to drain to my lymph nodes and then we scan to see which lymph nodes "light up".  All of the black spots you see on each groin in the picture below are the nodes the surgical oncologist removed during my surgery.  (side note--they also inject you with blue dye.  Alivia thought it was pretty cool that for a few days after surgery I was peeing blue)

After I was finished in Radiology I was wheeled back to pre-op to get my IV started for surgery.  My hubby hugged me and kissed me and we prayed for a successful surgery.  I can't say I remember much of the rest of the day.  Other than my Post Op nurse saying I was the best patient she had all day.  Aaron said I was telling jokes and that's about all I could get out of him….I must've been putting on quite a show :-)

Thankfully two weeks later at my followup visit we got amazing news.  All of the melanoma was surgically removed and required no further treatment other than scans and full body exams. I am currently being followed every three months and have high hopes to move to 6 months visits after my next checkup this February.

I share this story to reflect and to celebrate 3 years with No Evidence of Disease!!! I've met so many amazing cancer warriors through this journey.  I've seen some hear those amazing No Evidence of Disease words and I've seen some hear the words, "there's nothing more we can do."  I've watched this very disease ravage my best friend's body but it can't touch our soul.  With that said, I'm so very thankful for life, I'm so thankful that although I may be a "cancer patient" by golly I'm one of the healthiest cancer patients there is.  And I'm bound and determined to do everything in my power to stay that way.

Thanks for all your love and support.  Choose joy and do your part to stay healthy.  Make the call to a dermatologist for a skin check and as always share the love and spread the lotion.  Much love to you all in 2014!!!