Melanoma really isn't "just" skin cancer

I have a lot on my mind this last day of Melanoma Awareness Month for 2015. Foremost on my mind is that I've got a new brain metastasis (damn melanoma), and am having my fourth craniotomy  this coming Wednesday. This will be my ninth melanoma-related surgery since I was diagnosed in 2011 and, as I said, my fourth craniotomy in just over a year. This damn cancer is persistent. But I'm more persistent. I will NOT give in. Also on my mind is my family, who will be anxiously waiting through another long surgery in a hospital waiting room. Having done this myself a time or two when my mom was having surgery, I know this isn't a pleasant experience. I worry about my family and friends. I know that I don't have cancer in a vacuum, and that what I'm going though affects them too. I hate that more than anything.

When I was diagnosed almost 4 years ago now, I decided that I would try to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of unprotected exposure to the sun and use of tanning beds in the hope of preventing them from having to join my melahomies and me in our journey down melanoma road. I've heard from many people that they have heard my message and have stopped using tanning beds and are wearing sunscreen these days. That makes me feel GREAT! But there are so many people out there that either aren't getting the message or just plain don't understand the danger of unprotected exposure to UV radiation (inside or outside). I cringe almost every time I watch baseball or golf on TV as there are inevitably sunburned or tanned players. I hate to think of what they and their families are going to go through if they end up with melanoma.

So, I'll keep working to educate and raise awareness about this horrible cancer. I'm hoping to be back within a couple days of my surgery Wednesday. In the meantime, please, wear sunscreen every single day, wear sunglasses and a hat, and do all that YOU can to raise awareness and educate others about melanoma. As you can see, it really isn't just skin cancer.

Take care all. Hope to see you soon!

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