When I started this blog I was melanoma stage 3b Methodist pastor in the NC Conference. Now I'm advanced stage 4 and stepped down from the pulpit in Sept 2015 when mel hit my brain. Duke sent me home July 13, 2016, nothing left to do for me. I almost died that Aug. Yet, now (I write this sentence June 22, 2018) I'm better than ever expected! No scans or treatments, no Duke. I blog about melanoma often but I also write about my family, faith, and gratitude to God.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Let's Play Russian Roulette, Or, You Just Gotta Love People!
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 Center...no 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
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
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.