May 9, 2017

May brings us into Melanoma Awareness month! Aaaaand… in the event that you’re new here… uncontrolled mutant “mela-meat” is what tried to kill me. Needless to say, I’ve developed a bit of an overprotective mom response to young people and tanning. Today, I went to the bank to deposit a check. Yes, people still write checks. As I stood awaiting an open teller, I noticed a gallery of frames sitting on a table for folks to peruse while they wait. Thankfully, the hubs had warned me about this table of advertising disaster prior to my bank visit, or I might have come completely unhinged. Yes, I can, on occasion, be known to flip my lid when adequately provoked. There, splattered all over the table in front of me (just in time for prom season!), was a salon advertisement for “Unlimited Tanning ONLY $21!”. Wow, you can now get your cancer at a discount! In a neighboring frame, stood a color photo of their tanning bed (aka “cancer causing chamber”). Having just left an hour of yoga, I closed my eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and reminded myself “Not my monkeys. Not my circus.”. I am well aware that I cannot fix the world. I am also well aware that not all cancer is preventable, nor will everyone with a “bad habit” necessarily develop cancer. But still. There are factors known to increase one’s chance of facing diagnosis. If folks want to fry their bodies at the risk of death, or smoke until their lungs fill with mutant cancerous cells, or **insert bad habit here**… no amount of preaching is likely to change the behavior. Buuuuut, that damned mom response in me… argh! I’m still in self debate about whether or not I should frame up some gruesome surgical photos and return to the bank, neatly placing them on the table along with a few statistics, each in an eye catching, beautiful frames…

  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans.  Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation
  • More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
  • According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma, kills more young women than any other cancer. It is now the most common cancer in young women aged 25-29, second only to breast cancer in women aged 30-34.
  • The incidence of melanoma has increased 15 times in the last 40 years. This is a more rapid increase than for any other cancer.
  • About 9,730 people are expected to die of melanoma in 2017.
  • The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years.
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

Are we aware yet? Good. If not, please don’t hesitate to email me… I can send you photos and stories of people who haven’t been so fortunate as myself, and have either lost their battle, or are currently holding out hope that a research trial can grant them more time. YOUNG people. Under 40. Many under 30. **insert deep inhale here… and now… exhale** Positive vibes, or prayers (if that’s how you roll), for those roughing through the “It’s only skin cancer” darkness. Rant over.

And on the brighter side… get your abundant supply of sunshine through some good news…

BRAIN: Once again, no new tumors and no progression in the pieces parts we’ve been keeping watchful eyes on! There is still a visible 3mm tidbit in the left occipital region. We remain of firm belief, that this lesion was already gamma zapped in the past. January of 2014 to be more precise. Granted, this bit is some “meh” news. It would be preferred to have gone away and stayed away. Its “return” to the scene could have a multitude of explanations, including (but not limited to): a case of someone noticing and pointing it out again, slow re-growth, the development of necrosis, irritated scar tissue… blah blah blah. The fact is, unless we were to stick a biopsy needle into my head, or cut the little bad seed out… determining exactly WHAT it is, is impossible to do accurately via imaging. I don’t particularly feel the need to go putting any additional new holes in my head. Sooooo… we watch, we measure, we wait, and we watch some more. I’m not thrilled that old news is current news again, but am happy to report, that it looks exactly as it did 2 months ago. In my blonde-is-bliss little world of make believe, I’d like to think of it as mini-melameat “Mike” (that 6 mm of persistence in the right frontal gyrus) getting a new pet. This new-old bit is only half his size. I suppose I don’t mind “Mike” getting a new kitty or puppy, so long as it remains as well behaved as “Mike”, and doesn’t begin peeing all over the place! Little pissers that cause neurological issues are dealt with aggressively.

Thankfully, for now, I am neurologically sound. Passed the usual “drunk tests” once again. Not terribly surprising, but nice to be able to still pull some of these stunts out. Particularly given the lower dose of anti-seizure meds, and the fact that I hadn’t managed to make a yoga class (excellent for balance and focus practice!) in roughly 3 weeks! BOOYAH! The old broad has still got a little edge of control over the brain-fried-betty!

BODY: Still no new news here. Next CT is in a couple of weeks. In other “body scan” news, my hot shot surface goal tender (aka Rockstar derm) didn’t spy any lumps, bumps, patches, dots, or spots of concern! Diligent sunscreen use once again saves me from knife wielding dates with the doc!

Still riding my bike in an attempt at maintaining mental stability. Hey man, stress will kill ya… ooor get you arrested for punching some jackhole in the neck! And nobody wants to be getting their cancer screenings via the prison system! Ha! Aaaand on that note… I should let you take pause from the computer to GO ENJOY LIVING in the real world for a bit! Just remember to put on your sunscreen before you go… and don’t be too late in coming back! I’ll have CT news and a brand new life rant in the next few weeks! Maybe we’ll talk politics and what’s new with federal health care. Ha ha ha! Umm… hell no. Although… a substantial amount of eye roll-able commentary might allow me to keep real time oversight of these remaining mela-bits in my brain… hmmmm. Could save my brain genius and his minions from having to so diligently pick over the next MRI. Ha!

Niki News May 2017
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