Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let's Play Russian Roulette, Or, You Just Gotta Love People!

Quick questions to all my friends who do not have melanoma: Do you have full-body skin checks by a dermatologist once or twice a year? Are you concerned, at all, about getting melanoma? Why or why not? I plan to use this in a future blog post or note on Melanoma Prayer names will be used. Thank you!
Last night, as I write, that was what I posted on my Face book wall.  Last night, as I write, I had 425 friends, several have died, and probably 140 have melanoma. So, approximately 280 people could have responded to that simple survey. Because that's just not realistic, I thought...hoped...prayed that at least 10-15 would. 
A grand total of four, 4, f-o-u-r, friends that do not have melanoma responded. All of them are my friends because of a melanoma connection. No one who knows me face-to-face answered three simple questions, two of which only required a "yes" or a "no." 
Let the games begin! I know I'm obnoxious and tiresome. I know I know one song to sing, but give me a little credit...I sing it mighty well! I sing on key and on time. I hit the notes proudly and try to give my best "Ethel Merman effort" as I belt out the words.  
I love the ladies who took the time to respond. They've learned well and they've learned the hard way; the really hard way.  I even love the folks who saw my post and didn't respond. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have responded to me either before July 2008.
But I've played my game of Russian Roulette, and I lost. People with skin, but without melanoma and who aren't having full-body skin checks by a dermatologist at least once, if not twice a year, are playing their own game. 
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me turn the clock back to yesterday afternoon. I looked at the WRAL online news and there was an article, "Study shows children getting too much sun." Me being me, I had to read the comments. Man, there are a bunch of idiots running the streets of NC and raising children! Our melanoma ranks will surely swell based on what I read. One man, Casu-Al, stood out from the pack. Casu-Al is better known in melanoma circles as Black Is The New Pink and fearless. He is also, sadly, outnumbered.
These are a few actual comments, copied and pasted, without the ID of the author but you can follow the link above and see the authors:
Without the sun no life would exist on earth! As with anything too much of it can be bad. Please do not let the biased liberal media poison you with false science. It has never been proven that sun exposure causes cancer. Cancer is caused when the skin mutates during the healing process after burning. Your body is supposed to tan and it then produces Vitamin D. It is a natural process! These reporters come up with everything they can to scare the mess out of everyone and to sell more news 
50% reported they had at least one episode of sunburn by age 11? That's not bad at all! We used to spend hours in the sun with little sunscreen on back in the 70's and were always tan or a little burned. So far we're all still here and no cancer. People worry to much about stuff like this, especially germs. I think these studies get money from the companies that make items like suntan lotion and hand sanitizers for writing stories like this and making people scared. Now if video games were giving off these rays, then kids would be getting too much sun! Just try not to burn yourself and see a doctor regularly!
How can a child that is only outside for 1 to 2 hrs a day in late afternoon for soccer practice be getting to much sun. If sun was the problem almost every adult over the age of 4o would have skin cancer. We played outside as small children then we had a chore or two that we did outside mowing and raking the yard, washing the car and then many of us did have jobs picking fruit vegetables and other crops then if we were luck enough to be near the beach we could go after alll chores were done.
And my personal favorite:  Just enjoy your life, people. You will not live forever. Go to the beach, have fun in the sun, enjoy your family and friends. It all goes so quickly anyway. Worrying about danger 24/7/365 will wear you out and kill you FASTER. BTW, you NEED sunlight to create vitamin D.
Those comments and displays of ignorance, prompted my Facebook questions. Did so few answer because it wasn't part of a FB game? No app required? Did they see it, squirm a little, and look away? Did they say, "Oh no. Not again"? If I had said "repost if you agree" would I have gotten more responses?
Who knows? Who cares? Me. Like I said, I've played my game and lost. I had a mama nagging me about that mole, I had a daddy chiming in. I later added a husband to the mix who told me the same thing. I tuned them all out after telling them repeatedly that it was only a mole and it wasn't going to hurt me and to leave it alone. Who knew death came in such a tiny package? 
Trained dermatologists know. I know now. Millions of us know. Nobody wants to take your fun in the sun away. We just want you to practice safe sun. Nobody wants to turn you into worry warts. We just want you to take your warts and anything else on your skin seriously so you'll not have anything to worry about! 
We don't want you to die your death from melanoma. Yes, we'll all die from something someday. Melanoma is truly unique among cancers and among cancer deaths. No one wants to die from any cancer. Trust me when I say you really don't want that cancer to be melanoma. It's vicious beyond words. Out of respect for those fighting the tumors, I'll not go into detail, but if you're reading this, you're online. Look it up. Or, look at these videos of a real man who died a real death from melanoma. He was under 50...and yes, his stemmed from using a tanning bed.
I like to sing. Singing this song is part of my life and part of what I do. It is who I am. I am this song and I can do no less than to sing it loud, sing it strong, sing it long. I don't worry if it's not good enough because I want you to hear. So I sing. I sing my song. 
Heck, I'm grateful I'm here to sing it! But I prefer to sing solo. I don't want you singing with me. I'm tired of singing with and to the choir. The choir knows the song! 
So, I'll keep singing. It's your choice whether to tune me out or not. If you're smart you'll listen to the words and heed them. If not, well, let me give you instructions on 'How to Play Russian Roulette for Losers." I've got lyrics for that song, too. Either way, I sing.
And I am grateful!


  1. Good Morning Pastor! I'm Cindy and I'm a California Girl, in nearly every sense of the word. I'm also half Irish with a history of melanoma in my family. I'm sorry for not responding yesterday, but I had a needle biopsy of my lung and wasn't up to much more than sitting with an ice bag, but it's better today. I used to get bi-annual chacks, then my insurance decided that twice a year was unnecessary, about 8 years ago, or so. I have not had a skin check since then, until I notice a more that burned and itched. That was the melanoma. The dermatologist cut it off on March 12, and I went from stage II to stage IV in 2 months. I am now in the "Melanoma/Sunscreen Choir", with zinc oxide! I've never been a sun worshiper, but I spend so much time outside with activities, that regular sunscreen is not enough. It gave me a false sense of security. The good news is that the Good Lord has given me a tremendous support network including my loving husband and 5 (nearly perfect.... nearly) children, as well as many friends. They've come alongside me in prayer and by being the "hands and feet of God" and helping out in more ways that I could have ever imagined. God's love is complete and I accept his challenge to educate others during this time.

    In His Love,


    1. Hi Cindy, I'm sorry to hear of your challenges, struggles, and diagnosis. Are you undergoing any treatment at all? I'm glad you've got a good support system. If you're on Facebook, please link in to the melanoma community for more support. You can begin on Melanoma Prayer Center and find people and other pages and groups from there. Blessings!

  2. I didn't see the post on your wall and I still can't find it but I will post here. I wouldn't have scheduled a check up with our now dermatologist before my husband was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma last year. His was growing on the inside so it was not visible. He did see a dermatologist yearly because he has several moles but I thought I was fine. Since my first check up I've had 2 biopsies one was nothing and my latest was basal cell carcinoma no not melanoma thank goodness but just the same it needs to be addressed. I have found most people think it's a mole and that's what they are watching. In both cases for me they were not moles. This last one was a red spot very light in color almost pink on my chest not the typical brown mole. After everything my husband has gone through so far and now with my diagnosis I was a little ticked to hear someone I know say "What can I say I like to be dark" My response to that is you do not get it until you get it or someone you love does and that's unfortunate but honestly people do not listen. I'm with you Rev... why would anyone choose to play Russian Roulette with their lives just to be dark or to be tan? Boggles my mind.

    1. Hey Susan, I wrote this back in January so it would be hard to find today. I'm relieved yours is basal cell, that's serious enough.
      Boggles my mind, too.

  3. Thanks and I'm relieved too. I thought I missed it because I do lose track with the new timeline I must confess. :)


Thank you.