Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Letter to all my friends

A Message to all of my Friends:
I just turned 29 years old.
I just graduated from college.
My husband and I just celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary.
My little girl just turned 10 months old.
This past Friday, I was just diagnosed with skin cancer.
Just like many of you, I have read about it, heard about it, knew someone that had it, thought about it, and forgot about it.
Just like many of you, I have been to the tanning beds, spent hours in the sun coating myself with "dark tanning lotion", and have compared my tan to my friends, wondering who's darker.
Just like many of you, I go outside all the time without wearing sunscreen.  My shoulders get burned, but I get excited for getting "a little bit of color." 
And just like many of you, I thought it couldn't happen to me. 
I am writing this email to make you think...
Think about the little things we do everyday that increase our chances of getting cancer.  Is it the way we eat, our lack of exercise, smoking, drinking, tanning? 
You are all my friends.  I care about each of you.  When you make these conscious decisions to continue these self-destructive things you do to your body...think of me. 
Think of my life.
Think of everything I have going for me.
Think of me getting the phone call from the doctor giving me the news that one of the moles I had removed was malignant melanoma.
Think of the extra skin they had to cut off me and send away to make sure they "got it all."
Think of the 32 stitches they had to put in my back to sew it up.
Think of me going to see an oncologist in 2 weeks to make sure none of my lymph nodes are swollen and that it hasn't possibly spread to other parts of my body.
Please, I implore you, to think before you pay money to lay in a taninng bed, or light up that cigarette.  Cancer is very real.
One more thing I ask you to do: If you have any mole, bump, spot or mark on your body that you think looks suspicious.........GET IT CHECKED OUT!  Don't be afraid.  I just happened to go to the dermatologist to have him look at my moles b/c I hadn't been in 2 years.  Luckily my doctor found it at the earliest stage.  Can you imagine if I had waited...or not gone at all?
Melanoma is the most dangerous of all skin cancers.  It's bad because over time it burrows down into the lymphatic system and can spread to your organs.  Some of you know this already, but my cousin Tom died 3 years ago from cancer that started out as a funny looking mole on his foot.  When he finally got it looked at, it was too late.  The cancer had spread.
Thanks for taking the time to read this-
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