Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is Vanity, Or Fear, Worth Dying Over?

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary's first four definitions of "vanity" are:
1: something that is vain, empty, or valueless
2: the quality or fact of being vain
3: inflated pride in oneself or one's appearance : conceit
4: a fashionable trifle or knickknack 
I offer that because "vanity" isn't a word we hear much anymore unless we're referring to a piece of furniture with a fancy mirror that some women sit at to put on their make-up and fix their hair. We all know what "fear" is.

My question, again is, is either one worth dying over? Far too many people are answering "Yes" without even stopping to think about the consequences they will have to live with eventually.

There are definitely people and things worth dying over. If the situation arose where it was me or one of my children, the situation can take me. There are men and women, in all the nations on earth, who have made the decision that their country is worth dying for. People in "rescue" professions and missionaries put their lives on the line every day and proudly do so. Society owes a great debt of gratitude to everyone who "lays down their life for a friend." There is truly no greater love or selfless act.

However, clinging to moles and other masses on the body that could be dangerous and/or tanning either in a tanning bed or under the sun, just do not fall under any "noble" category known to humanity!

The melanoma community preaches, tirelessly, that no tan is worth it. Well, neither is stubbornly hanging on to moles, "beauty" marks, lumps and bumps, and "cute" freckles because removing them will require ugly cuts that will result in ugly scars and heaven forbid that any of that should occur on my face or any other publicly visible place on my body!

The cut will be ugly because any doctor worth their salt wants to make sure they do it right and get good margins when removing a possible melanoma. Trust me, you want that too. Get over it. That ugly cut is not, I repeat, not, worth dying over. It will heal. And, yes, it will leave a scar that won't be pretty. And it will leave a big dent or impression where your trouble spot was. And, yes, it will take time, maybe years depending on where it was removed from, to fill in completely. It won't be pretty unless you see a plastic surgeon. Get over it. It's not worth dying over.

That tan you think you have to have to be "beautiful" is not worth dying over. Trust me. You look far better walking pale than you will dead and bronzed. Because I've already addressed this, I'll refer you to this post. Please read and think and then stop your tanning ways if you are engaged in any.

Frankly, I'm not just irritated today at people who don't pay attention to our stories. I'm irritated at many in the melanoma community because I'm seeing, over and over, too many who know better than to hang on to trouble places, have feelings of concern about them, but still won't go get them checked, removed, and pathed!

Friends, melapals, this post is really for you. You have the history. You know the score. You preach it to others. You know better. Please remember what you preach and practice it yourself! 

People with melanoma don't get tanned once this disease becomes part of their life and when they do go out in the sun, they practice safe sun and are very diligent about it. 

But, people with melanoma can also be the ones who dread going to get another place cut...again. Those places start to add up. We can feel ugly and like one big scar. We can dread getting another cut because it also means we may hear that word...again. Melanoma. If we've heard it one time, we don't want to hear it again and what better way to ensure that than to not go to the doctor? What may start off as vanity can become a source of fear. So we hang on to that place or those places. 

And we accomplish no more cuts. We get no more scars. We're still beautiful or handsome. And we've still got that place that's nagging us and if it is trouble, it's growing. And we turn to our melapals for advice and they tell us to do what we already know to do and that is "go get it checked, removed, and pathed."

Melanoma is counting on us being as vain as possible and fearful. Melanoma wants to kill us so what better way than for it to appeal to our vanity and our fears?

Friends, do not let your looks and fears define you.

Do not let vanity and fear kill you.

Do not let melanoma have its way.

We love you and we want you around as long as possible.

Be smart and be brave

And we'll all be grateful.

In the brief time this has been up, I've been reminded that the fears are real. They are, and I really do hope no one thinks I'm disregarding those fears. I'm not. The fears are real and the scars are real and when the two are put together because there is a fear of scarring, that is very real and the younger the person, the more real that fear is. Melanoma is real, too and it plays for keeps. It feeds off those fears and wants nothing more than for you to give into them. Please don't. Giving in can cost you more than scars ever will. It can cost you your life.