Man. I haven't had reason, or just cause, to don my tri-cornered HM CBQ hat in quite a while now. For the unenlightened, I'm the appointed Hotel Melanoma Chaplain Boss Queen. Before that I was, and still am, a Southern Mama Preacher. Mix that all together, stir or shake well, and I'm whatcha get. And right now, I'm plenty fired up. Watch out.
While I have one foot firmly rooted in the church, I also have the other foot firmly entrenched in the melanoma community. My melahomies have my heart, soul, and undying devotion. By "melahomies" I mean those with melanoma and those who battle alongside them...usually their spouse, child, parent, or sibling. Those closest to the warrior who knows all the details of the battle. And those, ahem, who are well aware of the attitudes of others toward their loved one.
Let me grab my trusty soapbox because I am rising up. If you have a complacent attitude towards melanoma, you might want to sit down. Or tune out. Or go into denial and think I can't possibly mean you.
"Denial" is what I want to think many people are into. But maybe not. Everyone's different.
I'm hearing over-and-over and over-again from melahomies who are growing increasingly frustrated by family and friends' flippant, and downright appallingly arrogant/ignorant attitudes about this disease. Flaunting tanning bed usage and sunburns is bad enough. But to hear of a loved one who has multiple surgeries in their battle against melanoma...a loved one...not a mere acquaintance...and shrug it off. To hear of a loved one undergoing a clinical trial and react with, "meh,"...well, we need to talk.
You need to understand how serious this is and what your loved one is up against and battling and how much they need your support. A text will not cut it.
If your loved one is undergoing multiple surgeries...the kind where they have to be put to sleep...then your loved one is in the stage 3-4 range. They are having lymph nodes removed at best and parts of major organs removed at worst. They are having tumors removed. If your loved one is undergoing any type of radiation, same thing. They are fighting mets and are in the later stage 3-4 range. If they are undergoing clinical trials, they are in the stage 3-4 range. And just so you know, stage 4 is as high as it goes. There is no stage 5.
This is serious. The disease can progress. They may die. They are doing everything they can to stop their melanoma and beat it back. They can use your support. They need you to understand, or at least try to understand. They need you to learn, ask questions, pray. They need a hug now and then. They need you to get your head out of the sand if you're in denial. This is real. Being put to sleep for surgery is risky. Getting infused with toxic chemicals that are being STUDIED is risky. Not fighting melanoma is riskier. Your loved one doesn't have much of a choice. It's either fight or die. Really.
I invite you to do a blog site search and learn about this disease. Especially since it's in your family tree. It really may behoove you to learn something, become vigilant and proactive, and maybe, just maybe, you won't be the next one in your family receiving a melanoma diagnosis and needing your family to rally around you!
Oh, and stop posting about going tanning and getting burned. That isn't good for your skin. At all. That's the sign of damaged skin. Your skin won't forgive and it won't forget. It just may rise up and bite you one day.
And I'll be your HM CBQ and I'll love you as my melahomey.
I'm pretty sure, though, that we'd both rather be grateful that that not happen.