Saturday, April 30, 2011

Walking Miracles!

Yesterday, as I write, I was at a local Relay For Life event. As a current melanoma patient, it's always inspiring to see the Survivors take their grand lap to kick off the festivities.  Although this was a county that I'm fairly new to, I did know some of the people there as well as a few that proudly strutted their stuff in that lap around the track.

There's this one woman though that I want to lift up. I've known her for almost a year now. I know she has health problems, severe ones, but I didn't know she's a cancer survivor. None of her current issues are cancer related.  So I asked her after her victory lap about her cancer.  Keep in mind she's 81 years old.

Fifty-six years ago, when she was 25 years old, she had ovarian cancer and both her ovaries were, of course, removed. She didn't mention any other treatment, and to be honest, 56 years ago I don't know what else they could have done other than remove her ovaries, send her home, and hope for the best.

The best is apparently what she got! The hope it gives to know she has lived 56 years...FIFTY-SIX YEARS...following ovarian cancer surgery is absolutely an amazingly astounding miracle in my book!  One worth sharing.

No matter what I face, what you face, find hope in my friend.  She's one of the most upbeat ladies you'd ever meet, a sweet spirit, strong in her faith, spunky little thing who does what she wants as best she can with her walking stick and oxygen-waiting-for-her-at-home. Her heart operates at 30% capacity and she's always freezing cold. There are a few other ladies in this little country church who are also amazing.

As a matter of fact, look around and you'll see amazing people with their own amazing stories of hope, courage, and faith everywhere!

And I am grateful!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

O Worship the Sun!

One of my first "Notes" on the Melanoma Prayer Center Facebook page I administrate was this. To reach a broader audience I re-post it here. Another Public Service Announcement if you will.

I will be grateful if you read it.  I will be even more grateful if you take it seriously, make any necessary lifestyle changes, and use it to educate others on being sun-smart and tanning bed smart.

O Worship the Sun!
by Melanoma Prayer Center on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 10:25am
Go ahead.  Lay down on the altar of sand.  If you're feeling really self-sacrificing (because you ARE sacrificing yourself!) lay down on the altar of a tanning bed in the Church of Tanning Salon.

Many today talk about how we worship our stuff and how consumerism and me-ism are quickly replacing God in our hearts and lives.  That kind of worship, while indeed spiritually deadly, won't physically kill you.  I'm concerned that we overlook the other god so many serve, because we "joke" about sun worship.

Many want to look youthful and healthy and think a sunny, bronze glow accomplishes that and if we can get a good burn then that gives us a good story to tell of our dedication to looking healthy and young.  Never mind that all that sun leaves skin feeling leathery and will look 70 when it's actually 30, leather is expensive by golly!  There's a price to pay for expensive commodities.  You just won't realize the full price you're paying till it's too late.  You're borrowing on bad credit and the creditor will come looking for you.

If you're one of these people who love the look of the sun, whether fake from a tanning bed, or real from old Sol, while you're making that tanning bed appointment, make one with a dermatologist.  While you're buying that new bikini or other sunning attire, go ahead and buy a cemetery plot.  Got the number of the tanning salon?  Get the number of a good mortician, your family will need it.

Instead of worshiping the created, try worshiping the Creator.  He warns us over and over in His Word how deadly worshiping false gods is and he warns of dire consequences when we succumb to temptation, buy the good sounding lies, and sacrifice to idols.

God hates human sacrifice, the sun doesn't.  God tells us the truth, tanning beds are idols that can't speak but still kill.  Melanoma is no joke, no laughing matter.

Some of you reading this have melanoma or know someone who does and you know what I'm talking about.  We have the scars to prove it.  Some reading this will go right outside, in the heat of the day, without any sunblock, get browned by the sun and think they look gorgeous and the sun is their friend.  Melanoma happens to other people; older people, Caucasian people, people who've gotten blistered many times with lots of moles.

Newsflash: melanoma happens to people who have skin and it doesn't care what nationality or ethnicity that skin is or how old it is.  As a matter of fact, it's showing a growing preference for young skin!  Skin that's in its teens years, its twenties and thirties.

This is one cancer that is highly treatable when caught early and highly deadly when it isn't.  It has no standard mode of operation because it acts differently in everybody. But it will, usually, show itself first in skin or a mole.  Keep a vigilant check on yours and let a dermatologist who specializes in melanoma help you.

If you choose to take your chances on the sun and/or tanning bed, go ahead, get that glow.  While you're at it, accessorize that tan with a beautiful casket.  Go ahead and pick out a nice one.  You'll want to be the best looking, youngest looking, healthiest looking corpse around.

O God!  Wake people up!  Smarten us up!  Today God, today, people who worshiped the sun will die because they smartened up too late.  People will be diagnosed and be plunged into a world they never knew existed.  People will prepare for procedures, tests, surgeries and so many could have been prevented if they had just known.  Had just listened.  Had just believed melanoma really could happen to them.  Today, God, use this note, use me, to help spare someone melanoma.  Lord, in your mercy!  Amen.

(If you're still reading, yes this is harsh, but those of us with melanoma are frustrated that people look at us and just don't get it!  We want to help you learn our lesson before you walk in our shoes.  Trust us, you really, really don't want to try and fill our shoes!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Raindrops On Roses

These are a few of my favorite things:

Dr. Seuss and The Cat in The Hat; actually, everything Seuss!  Love him!
Red. Red cars, red shoes, red dresses & shirts. Red hair (which, God, I don't have).  I like all things "red" except rashes and measles.
Soft curls.  On my granddaughter's head.  Just like her Mama had and her Unc had.  Love baby curls!
Frost on the ground and tea in my cup.
Snow and hot chocolate.
Top of the morning and coffee, every day. Never gets too hot for fresh perked, strong black coffee. God IS good!
Planning a worship service and picking hymns.
Bursting into song!  Don't like it? Don't listen.  Songs are meant to be sung...anywhere!  Yes, that is a warning!
Wonderful smells. Florist shops and bakeries. Hard to beat fresh flowers and aromas from the kitchen!
Rainy days and stormy nights.
Disney movies. Still love the Lion King and Mary Poppins.
Musicals.  Can we sing "Oklahoma" and "Grease" and "Hair" and "Saturday Night Fever"?!
Disco!!!!!  Seventies music!!!!! 
Still have warm spots in my heart for Donny & Jay Osmond, David Cassidy, Tiger Beat & 16 & Fave magazines!  I wall-papered my hot-pink walls in pictures of those guys from those magazines.
My parents actually LETTING me have hot-pink walls!
My parents actually letting me having Osmond and Cassidy wall-paper!  (Who knew?)
Health and LIFE!  Big on Life!
Family: hubby of 31 years, daughter & her hubby & their little girl, son in college, Madre & Padre, brother and his two sons, aunts & uncles & cousins. Oh my!
God. saving the best for last. Without him the rest just isn't possible.
This list, obviously, isn't exhaustive.  Many more favorite things to mention. But if I did, all of cyberspace couldn't hold it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining and Mine's In Cyberspace!

Who knew that when I started down Melanoma Road back in July 2008 that I'd wind up zooming through cyberspace riding the coattail of a mole?!

A lot of doors have recently opened up due to this time of my life that I'm extremely grateful for!  For one, God has graciously given me back the opportunity to write, which is something I've always enjoyed.  (I don't write my sermons unless they're for a wedding, funeral, or class).  I've missed taking keyboard in hand and typing to my little heart's content.  Now, with two weekly blogs and the Melanoma Prayer Center on Facebook, I write whether anything gets read or not.

I've noticed that much of what I write lately has to do with melanoma, except for my "Say That Again, Jesus" blog.  I feel a strong urge, nay, duty, to get as much info and support as I can out there for people and their families who are fighting the beast, will fight the beast, or have fought the beast and either beat it or fought the good fight against it.

To that end I'm grateful for cyberspace: I'm grateful to Google for providing free blog space and to Facebook for providing free space for the Melanoma Prayer Center (and for allowing people to access it and read what's there without belonging on FB).  I'm grateful for the communication capacity provided by each host and for my email accounts.  I'm grateful that the Information Highway has a an off-ramp for the Melanoma Research Foundation.

In case you need it, be thee a patient or care-giver, the MRF has a wonderful community section on their website where you can register and post questions and issues surrounding melanoma.  You'll meet some of the most wonderful, knowledgeable fellow journey-people there and get quick responses that will help you know that you're not alone and give you guidance to help with decisions.

Thanks to all of these cyber-opportunities, I've met people from France, Germany, Canada, Argentina, and all around the USA.  Folks I would not normally have had the chance to interact with.  They are the ones who inspired the MPC and keep me inspired as I write prayers and notes as a resource for them.

Sometimes the Internet can get a bum-rap because of all the seedy stuff and downright nasty sites that are out there, but the Internet is a tool.  It can be used for good or for bad.  It's up to each of us how we use it.  I, for one, appreciate the opportunities it affords me to spread the word about melanoma.  It also gives me, and others, a platform to warn people of the absolute dangers of the sun and tanning beds.  It gives me a chance to be a voice in the wilderness.

It has provided yet another avenue for something good to come from my stubbornness and stupidity that resulted in melanoma (you can find that story here:

If God uses any of what he allows me to write to help even one person that reads something I write, no matter where in the world they are...

Then I am grateful!