30 Year Survival Anniversary - A Time to Celebrate
Thirty years ago, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Thirty years ago, my life changed. Thirty years ago, I changed my ways. Thirty years ago, I began a new journey, the life with a skin cancer diagnosis. Thirty years ago, I began to care less about being tan and attractive and meeting all of my needs and more about helping others and their needs. I guess you could say that I became less vain and gave more attention to the other qualities that make me, ME.
Celebrating a full life
It’s a time to celebrate! Thirty years is a long time. In that time, I met my bride-to-be and got married. In that time, I saw the births of my two children. I saw them go from infants to college students. I saw my kids play sports, play instruments, act in plays and act in movies. In those years, I got my Master’s Degree, my Black Belt, and my Screen Actors Guild eligibility letter. I served others in Russia, Japan, Argentina, and Costa Rica. I have been blessed beyond belief.
Thankful for support
I am thankful to the lady in the Jacuzzi who first made me aware of my melanoma and my first dermatologist, Patty, in Pasadena. I am thankful for every doctor that I have seen since who have helped me survive. I am thankful for every friend or family member who cared enough to let me know that something needed to be checked out with my skin. I am thankful to anyone who put up with my advice and admonitions. I am thankful for being an advocate for skin safety. I am thankful for communities like Health Union where we can share best practices and encourage one another.
Purpose and meaning of advocacy
I take nothing for granted and try to make the best out of each day. Nothing is guaranteed and looking back, thirty years is more than I could have asked for. Each day, week, and year are gifts. I am motivated more than ever to use my remaining days making others aware of the benefits of skin protection. Sometimes in this busy and hectic life, it is hard for me to understand and pursue my purpose. Then, clarity comes and I realize that part of my purpose is to be an advocate for them.
The challenge for fighting skin cancer
I would love to have thirty more years. I have a lot to live for and I want to make every day count. Without being overly dramatic, I recall the words from the movie, Saving Private Ryan. In the movie, Matt Damon’s character was instructed to live his life well and “earn it”. He had been given the opportunity to go home and the expense of others during World War 2. My challenge for everyone is make the best use of their days in this fight against skin cancer. My main New Year’s Resolution this year was to be a better version of myself. I may not be the best version of me this coming year, but I want to be better than I have been and this includes my participation in the community. Be a better version!
How well have your skin cancer diagnoses been explained to you?