27 June 2012


I have never been to a wedding before.  Yes, that is the truth.  But I've been to quite a few funerals in my lifetime.  In fact, 2008 was the year of funerals.  There was this one funeral in particular, I just wasn't prepared for, something no one was prepared for.  Now, before you stop reading, I promise I will make this quick, but this post has an extremely important message.

In July of 2008, I was working at a photographer's studio when I got the message from a good friend of mine that I know she was praying she would never have to send: her brother has lost his battle to melanoma.  It still brings me to tear thinking about it and the memories I have from those following days.  He was trying to finish up college at the University of Georgia.  He was about the age I am now and he had a wife who loved him with every fiber of her being and it was just so heartbreaking watching her kiss him in his coffin because she couldn't let go.  Of course, this isn't even mentioning his family.  I had spent the years prior with his sister who was my best friend my sophomore and junior year of high school (she was a year older so graduated before me).  I couldn't not be there for my friend, and I made sure not to leave her side and I did what I could for her parents.  

The take-home message that I will never forget: was he was a very young, hispanic (aka non-Caucasian) male; naturally tan skin, dark brown hair, brown eyes.  He wasn't your stereotype: beach blonde who spent hours in the sun as a kid trying to get that right summer tan.  He was a hardworking med student at a prestigious school with a family he loved to pieces and a wife he loved just as much.

But with the anniversary of his death approaching, my recent, and it being summer time, I can't not think about how that could have been me, or it still could.  I'm the stereotype, you know?

I go yearly to the dermatologist.  My dad goes yearly, as well.  We both have had some worrisome spots that we got removed.  My motto is to just go ahead and take off the spots, don't give me "let's see how it looks in a month or two."  I have had two precancer moles removed in five years.  Precancer now could be staged in a few years.  Maybe I'm paranoid?  Eh, I still tan sometimes in the sun so I wouldn't say that.  I consider myself aware to possibilities.  If I know that I'm a prime candidate for x, y, and z, I'm going to take the necessary steps to avoid x, y, and z.  If I still get them?  Well, I'll catch 'em early.  If I don't, pat myself on the back, right?

In a world where the darker the better and young people are incredibly and frustratingly unaware and ignorant (and know it!), it really does hurt me.  That's why I'm in nursing school, you know.  I am a big advocate for public health and awareness.  So enough blabbering on, because today I am going to teach you something.

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  1. Wow! Thank you! I really love this post. It is so rare that we want to wear sunscreen on account that it might not allow us to have a great tan. I know that I need to put it on everyday. I won't forget now. Thank you very much!

  2. I've had a couple of worrisome spots removed as well. It's so important to be aware of spots. This is a great post!

  3. I've had 2 spots removed so far, but I'm super paranoid as well! better that than the alternative. Thanks for passing this message along!

  4. THANK YOU!!!! Love your health tips!


  5. Thank you for posting this! My grandmother regularly has egg sized pits of melanoma taken off her arms and legs. She looks like a giant crater now. Seeing what she goes through on a regular basis, I am a sunscreen, floppy hat, and beach umbrella advocate!


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