As the title says this blog is one man’s effort to make sense out of his journey fighting melanoma. I have enjoyed reading some of my fellow melanoma warriors’ blogs and thought it might be an interesting way to share what this journey has been like for me. If you find this interesting great, if not that’s great also. Selfishly this is more about me getting this out and moving on from being a cancer patient to being a cancer survivor.

Let’s clear up a few things. Yes, I know how to use spell check and no I don’t always use it. I majored in accounting, not english. I have always been a below average writer, which is why I find the therapeutic value of doing this surprising. I think for this blog to make any sense you pretty much have to go to the archive and start from the beginning which is titled “Life Is Good”

I am not a doctor or medial professional of any type. My blog is not endorsed by any medical professional or facility mentioned in it. Every decision I have made about my care was done after careful consultation with my medical team. Decisions I have made were right for me but should not in any instance be considered right for anybody else. I don't recommend taking medical advice from an accountant.

Key West

Key West

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Great News

This has been such a great weekend.  First off my mom had her knee replacement surgery on Friday and is doing wonderfully.  She was back on her feet within 24 hours and with the help of a walker moving again.  I just talked to her earlier tonight and she sounded great.  My prediction is that she is back shopping within 8 weeks.  It was really hard to watch her struggle these last few years as her knee deteriorated but it will be great to see her bounce back.   My sister Michelle was there and stayed with her and kept me up to date via text all weekend.  As I am sure many of you know it is so hard to be away from family when stuff like this is going on.  She goes home tomorrow and mom and dad both sound excited for that.   My mom has always been one of my biggest supporters even before I was diagnosed.  Her will and determination this weekend has been inspiring.   If I ever get back home again I hope to go and see her.  Unfortunately as it looks now it may be the week of Thanksgiving before I am home for any significant amount of time. 
I haven’t been feeling very good lately and Dr. D confirms its still side effects from the chemo I was on which is hard to believe.  It’s been nearly six months since I took my last treatment but sometimes I have these stretches where I just feel like crud.  Mostly just fatigue but also get the body aches and some of the other side effects I had during treatment.  I still have to remind myself that others would love to have my problems.  I have been very lucky.   I ventured out into Montreal some these last two days but not as much as I would have liked.  It is such a beautiful city and there is so much to see and do.   I visited the most beautiful church today.  It was in Old Montreal and I forget the name but it was the church where the sailors would go before heading out.  Again, there is so much to see and do here.  I am holding out hope that I can get to a Canadians hockey game this week but tickets are so dang expensive. 
Some common themes  you will hear from melanoma patients is that they want more than anything to beat this disease, see more money spent on research and a cure, and to prevent others and their families from going through the hell of this disease.  Today was a huge victory for people who have this disease and who have lost loved ones to melanoma.  California governor Jerry Brown today signed legislation that makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use tanning beds.  They are the first state to pass such legislation and I am sure not the last.   My hope is that this move by him will create such a controversy that there will be hours and hours of coverage by all the major news channels.  Unlikely I know, but I can still hope can’t I?  If tanning beds caused breast cancer they would have been outlawed years ago.   A year or so ago I had the luxury of either ignoring this news or going off on some rant about the government taking away our rights or sticking their nose in where they don’t belong.  I no longer have that luxury.  Instead I have a hole where my armpit use to be and a scar that goes from my shoulder blade to my neck and the lovely side effects from months of chemotherapy.  What a difference a year makes.      Today was a small victory, but victories are few and far between in the world of melanoma.  I now find myself in the position of having pen a thank you letter to Governor Jerry Brown and for those of you who know me this will be painful but I am glad to do it.  As I tell people all the time if you want to use tanning beds I have no issue with you.  No more than when I walk past the smoking area at work.  I chain smoked for many years, it would be hypocritical of me to pass judgment on them now.  What I do strongly suggest you do however is educate yourself about the dangers of tanning beds in particular and sun exposure in general.  Don’t be intellectually lazy and just assume it’s going to be ok.  We all know people who have smoked for 30 or 40 years and they don’t get cancer.  We also all know people who worship the sun and go to the tanning bed many times a week and don’t get cancer.  That doesn’t make the risk to you or your loved ones any less.  There are also people who never smoke and get lung cancer, and there are people who get cancerous moles in places that have never been exposed to the sun.   Make an informed decision.  If you have teenage daughters I especially encourage you to spend just a half hour reading about the dangers of tanning beds.  Melanoma rates amount young women are growing at a near epidemic rate and the scientific research is pretty clear that links increased tanning bed use to this increase.  Also, I became aware from one of my fellow bloggers and warriors Chelsea that some sororities are actually requiring members to use tanning beds a certain amount of hours per week to keep up their tan and the houses image.   Disgusting on many levels I know but for people like me who have a daughter in college and in a sorority its something else to ask about. 
As I was thinking of what video to post with this entry into my blog I came across the beautiful version of Halleluiah by K D Lang.  Since this is my first blog entry from Canada it seems appropriate.  I think KD Lang is so talented and much underappreciated in the states.