Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"You're over the top about cancer...."

I just returned from a family reunion and had a GREAT time!  There were loads of cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles.... and lots of opportunities to spread awareness of being in the sun safely. I was very generous with my sunscreen, helping the little ones spread sunscreen on their backs, telling them to wait 10 minutes at least for the sunscreen to soak in.  I sat in the shade, wore my big hat and sunglasses.... not preaching, just trying to be an example.

When the family brought out loads of meat, I did not say a word..... I just cooked my veggies and ate with everyone.

YET, one family member went out of their way to tell my daughter that I was over the top about cancer.... and that it is genetic, a sunburn can't cause cancer.... and I am simple one of the millions of people who have had cancer.... or one of the hundreds.... (I don't know the exact words). The overall point seemed to be that I should get over it.

Well, I know I look good these days and I appear cancer free....& for all intent and purposes I am cancer free.

BUT. all us melanhomies know the stats for melanoma survival are not good. Here is some info from AIM:

Risk: Unfortunately, long-term survival is poor, with 1-year survival rates ranging from 41% to 59%. (1) - See more at: http://www.aimatmelanoma.org/en/aim-for-answers/stages-of-melanoma/stage-iv-melanoma.html#sthash.XgT8dRXd.dpuf
Large-scale studies indicate that the respective 1-, 2-, and 5 year survival rates for Stage IV melanoma are: (1)

Distant skin, soft tissue, and/or lymph nodes - 54%, 36%, 19%
Lung -       53%, 31%,  15%,
Visceral - 35%, 18%,    9%

My diagnosis gave me a 9% survival rate to make it 5 years... and here I am 3 years out.

I will keep sharing a message of survival and HOPE if I get one person through a tough and scary diagnosis.... I will keep doing what I am doing, as of now I like being alive. & if I bug ya.... well....  that is too bad.


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