Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How Many More Have To Die?

Before the medical profession wakes up and stops writing prescriptions for people to use tanning beds to kill them?

Before legislation, around the world, gets rid of ALL tanning beds in home, businesses, online, everywhere?

Before people, of all ages and skin tones, start paying attention to all changes on the surface of their bodies and get them checked immediately?

Before people, of all skin tones, get sun-smart?

Before people, of all skin tones, decide to love the skin they're in and RUN away from tanning beds, as fast as they can and not listen to lies from the tanning industry?

Before the tanning industry decides lives are more important than dollars?

Before doctors in the medical profession, who ARE NOT melanoma specialists, start referring ALL patients diagnosed with melanoma TO the nearest melanoma specialist?

Before ALL doctors stop telling patients to "let's watch that place and see what it does" instead of removing it and pathing it?

Before ALL people who work in a doctor's office and schedule patients understand when someone calls and says a mole is changing, they need to be seen asap and not put off a few months?

Before ALL doctors, melanoma and non-melanoma specialists alike, start getting ALL people with a new melanoma diagnosis SCANNED, regardless of their initial stage?

Before the insurance industry INSISTS on all their clients with a melanoma diagnosis GET SCANNED, regardless of stage?

Before people realize melanoma isn't just skin cancer, doesn't need skin to get started in, isn't anything to mess around with, can't be cut out and all is well, and can kill you?

Before some in the medical profession realize that?

Before some in the medical profession decide our lives are more important than their pride?

Before ALL in the medical profession understand this is NOT their life, fight, and possibly death, but OURS?

Before ALL in the medical profession are willing to fight as hard for us as we are?

How many more have to die deaths that many of which could have been prevented?

Too many.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Misconceptions In Melaland & What To Do About Them

The misconceptions kinda revolve around a big preconception--which is wrong--and that is that melanoma can be cut out, give a big high five to the doctor, pay the bill, and all will be well when the stitches are removed. After all, it is just skin cancer! Right?! No big deal. The only time you really have to worry is if you get staged in the 3-4 range. As long as it's less than 3, noooooooooooo biggie!

And heads in melaland shake in dismay and disbelief.

People with stage 2 melanoma know very real fears and concerns. And folks can understand that. I mean, they are right under stage 3...so, we'll give them that. But not too much. (And I'm using my sarcastic voice and imitating those that just don't get it). The reality is that people with a stage 2 diagnosis have well-grounded fears which are heightened by the fact that, usually, doctors don't do scans for stage 2s, though some do. People with a stage 2 diagnosis get it. They know their reality even if the people around them do not.

Frankly, it's the people with stage 0 and stage 1 diagnoses that concern me. So often, they themselves don't get the seriousness of this diagnosis. They can fall victim to the idea that it has been cut out and they're OK now. They may even use the "cure" word. The medical profession does absolutely nothing proactive for stage 0s and 1s like scans. Some of the lesser-informed in the medical world can, also, throw around the "cure" word.

And, truthfully, many will heal and be OK. They'll never have another melanoma to deal with. Some will continue to have more places on their skin that have to be removed...some of these will be more melanomas, some will be other skin cancers, some will be nothing. They aren't "cured" because there is no cure for melanoma and also, because it can come back. And come back stage 4.

Yes. Stage 0 and stage 1 can come back stage 4. It can take decades, or, it can take months. I'm seeing it. I'm hearing the stories. Granted, I'm seeing and hearing only a very small tip of a gigantic iceberg, but experience has taught me that where there is one, there are more. Where there are a few, there are many. While I, personally, know of one person whose stage 0, zero, melanoma roared back stage 4 in a short matter of time...that means there are others around the world this is happening to. It happens. People who have been diagnosed with stage 0 melanoma, do not let your guard down.

While I personally know of around 10 people whose stage 1, one, melanoma roared back stage 4 (some it took a while and some it didn't)...that means there are many more around the world this is happening to. It happens. People who have been diagnosed with stage 1 melanoma, do not let your guard down.

These are people that I know their stories. There are hundreds of people I come in contact with, dealing with melanoma, and I don't know their stories.

My issue is, if I'm seeing it, why isn't the medical profession seeing it and taking better, more proactive steps with their patients with stage 0 and stage 1 melanoma? Why aren't insurance companies insisting on scans immediately upon any diagnosis? Melanoma is far easier and cheaper to treat the earlier it is caught. Once it hits stage 4, it's a nightmare of monumental proportion...much of which may have been prevented if better standards were in place.

Standard number one should be: upon any melanoma diagnosis, of any stage, by any doctor...refer patient immediately to the nearest melanoma specialist. ASAP means ASAP!

Standard number two should be: melanoma specialist has full-body scans ordered for the patient, regardless of stage. Full-body means full-body...not just chest x-rays or brain scans. Perform every year or two...I'll let the patient and doctor confer on that one. But the minimum standard will be every two years. This is a disease that must be stayed on top of. That's imperative.

Standard number three should be: deciding on a uniform practice of what to do about lymph nodes when one or more light up the screen. Remove some or all? Ugh!  Doctors in the same facility can differ on that one. Needless to say, doctors around the world differ. My personal preference is to remove them all. Don't leave behind any nodes where that renegade cell may be hiding. It won't completely remove all chances of "no return," but it sure is a good start.

Standard number four would be: burning ALL tanning beds in home, office, business, you name it.

Standard number five would be: full-body skin checks, done by skin cancer specialist dermatologists once a year for people with no history of skin cancer, and twice a year for people with a history. During these visits the doctors will inform their patients of safe-sun practices for them and their children.

Standard number six: drop "just" from the name of any skin cancer. Skin cancer is cancer. You can't cut it out and be fine. Having one increases the chances of having any of the others. All are scarring and disfiguring. And, newsflash, though melanoma is considered to be "skin cancer" (which I strongly object and have blogged about...search this site for those posts)...it is not the only one that is potentially fatal. Not to mention the fact that there are links to melanoma and breast cancer, and melanoma and pancreatic cancer, and melanoma and other cancers. Established links.

Standard number seven: love the skin you're in. Don't tan it, bleach it, bake it, or broil it. Take care of it. Be good to it and it should be good to you. Though there are no guarantees.

Standard number eight: learn there are no standards when it comes to melanoma. It behaves differently in everybody. It doesn't care who you are, how old you are, what skin color you have, or what gender you are. It is an equal opportunity cancer. It can be fatal. If "melanoma" has been attached to you, know your enemy, know your God, and get support. Stay vigilant. Start getting your children's skin checked by a melanoma specialist dermatologist...they now have this disease in their family history.

Standard number nine: don't let melanoma define you. You define melanoma. Live your life and love it. You have cancer. Don't let it have you. Learn what's important and what isn't. Love the ones that matter and let go of toxic people. Forgive, move on, take time to smell the roses and let the thorns teach you. Life is good. Life is a gift. Life is short. Life has purpose and you have meaning.

Standard number ten: Pray. Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. Be blessed and be a blessing.


Monday, December 10, 2012

A Study On The Health Benefits Of Cheesecake

You know the old adage, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!" So, here I am, studying the health benefits of cheesecake.

I have mentioned at various times and places that such a study should be done. We study everything else, so why not "cheesecake"?

Let me state my credentials. While I haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I rely on this: Back in my first year of college, that would be the 1978-79 academic year, I was a declared Biology major. Currently, I have a BA in Religion as well as one year of Advanced Course of Study at Duke (which means I graduated from Basic COS) and am a Local Licensed Pastor in the United Methodist Church. I've got science AND religion covered!

A word of warning to any student who may come across this completely serious study and wish to cite it in a paper. Probably not a good idea. I have received no Federal Funding for this important project. It is completely unbiased, unpaid for, and the only "Think Tank" involved is my brain.

So, let's grab a fork...uh, the recipe, and study. This is the one I use.

Philadelphia New York Cheesecake  (complete recipe)

6 Honey Graham crackers, finely crushed (about 1 cup)

3 Tbsp.  sugar

3 Tbsp.  butter, melted

5 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup  sugar

3 Tbsp.  flour

1 Tbsp.  vanilla

1 cup (8 oz.) Sour Cream

4 eggs
(An important note in case you actually make this: the first three ingredients, crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, are the crust...do not mix those in with the rest!)

This will bake, slowly, in a 325 degree oven for a little over an hour. The constant heat will refine the goodness and torture the badness. The goodness will remain while the badness is killed.

Now, we can look at this right off the bat and see "sugar" and "eggs", and not much "sugar" at that. Both ingredients come from nature and have health benefits unique to themselves. Both were in that wide realm of stuff pronounced "Good" at the beginning, before "The Fall." They have, both, been given a nod by God and by science. To be fair and impartial, too much sugar can have its downside.

Butter. Dairy. Food group.
Cream cheese. Cheese that has been creamed. Dairy. Food group.
Sour cream. Cream that has been soured. Dairy. Food group.
Flour. Ground from wheat. Grain. Food group.
Vanilla. From vanilla bean. Vegetable. Food group.
Honey graham crackers. Honey. From bees. Just plain good and nutritious.
This is the list of ingredients of Honey Made Honey Grahams. Lots more flour. There's some iron in there and some calcium. No problems there.

So, my unbiased and completely unfunded, but not "unfunned", study reveals, conclusively, that Cheesecake is made up of all natural ingredients blessed by God and by science...it has its bases covered...and that it is a necessary component of a healthy diet.

I could not be more pleased with the results of this study.

Life's short. Eat cheesecake.

And be grateful!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Prayers For All In Cancer-World

Seventeen days from today it will be Christmas. So, here is my "Prayer Countdown" beginning today:

Prayers for Healing. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Strength. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Hope. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Mercy. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Wisdom. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Peace. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Courage. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Goodness. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Patience. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Joy. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Encouragement. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Relief. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Victory. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Faithfulness. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Wholeness. Lord, in Your mercy...

Prayers for Families. Lord, in Your mercy...

Christmas Eve Prayers. Lord, in Your mercy, people all over Your creation look to You this night with anticipation, expectation, and our hopes and dreams are wrapped in many things. There is fear that can come with the night and a dread that this night will not give way to life. Many who have cancer in their world are not filled with Your joy and peace tonight. But You reside in this world with us and You know each heart. You know each life and You are THE Light that shines, boldly, into our dark night. It is at night that the angels light up the dark skies and fill the darkness with singing; tune our ears to hear their songs and our hearts to join in their hymns of praise. As Your Light and Hope pierce our darkness, remember that Your children are all over the map spiritually, physically, and emotionally tonight. Fill each with hope for a bright tomorrow and an assurance that You hold us all in Your amazingly tender hands. Thank You, Lord, for the Promise tonight holds! Amen and Amen!

Christmas Day Prayers. Lord, in Your mercy, the day dawns and this is the Day that You have made! We will rejoice in Your Promises that are being fulfilled! We will be glad that You are among Your people. We will rest knowing that God Is With Us, Emmanuel. Cancer is a dark blot, but You are King! For unto us a child has been born who Is Christ the Lord, and we will stand and join all angelic choruses on earth and in heaven. We will continue praying, living, breathing, dying, hoping, singing, continuing, growing, believing, dancing, lifting, soaring, holding, and doing. Christmas speaks to life, hope, and peace and those are always Your final words to us, O Lord, and we thank You! Amen and Amen!

All Prayers Wrapped in Much Love

Lord, in Your mercy, thank You for hearing Your children praying. Please grace our lives with true riches from Your Heavenly Throne and we will be satisfied. Thank You, Lord, and Merry Christmas! Amen and Amen!