Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pet peeves

I understand that people mean well. Well, MOST people. But I can't tell you how many TIMES I am surprised, NO SHOCKED, but some of things people say out of their mouths when I a share my story. Most of the time I take it with a grain of salt and don't let it rub me the wrong way, but there are always the occasion when I want to yell, "CENSOR YOURSELF FOR PETE'S SAKE!" Remember--you must filter your words sometimes. My life is in danger, you know.

Here are just a few of the comments that I have heard:

"It's just skin cancer. Don't they just remove it and you will be fine?"

This simple statement has the ability to run me wild. Melanoma is NOT JUST SKIN CANCER. people! People are often surprised to learn that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is also one of the most difficult cancers to treat in late Stages. Just look up the statistics for Stage 4 Melanoma! AND yes, if caught early, melanoma can be "cut off of you", but you will just need to be followed closely by a dermatologist throughout the years and really you are never "safe". I was one of those people that caught it early as a Stage 1 and was told that most likely it would never return or metastasize! Well, it did!!! Melanoma is highly unpredictable and erratic. Need I remind you that your skin is your largest organ?

"But you don't even look sick?!"

Sometimes I think people would take my cancer more seriously if the treatments caused me to lose my hair. People associate cancer as a bald head with a scarf. I do not look like the typical cancer patient. Because I have my hair, people assume I am not that sick (or that I have cancer). You know what scares me most? I don't know what's going on inside of my body. I would much rather look like crap on the outside and know that these "miracle" drugs are healing me.

"Well at least it's not breast cancer!"

I am not trying to discredit breast cancer patients. Their own personal battles are no different than my own. Cancer is cancer. However, do not tell me that I should be thankful that I have melanoma instead of cancer like breast. Do you know what it feels like when your oncologist, a melanoma specialist, tells you that they just don't know the best way to treat melanoma? With many cancers, there are certain treatment plans that have been tested and have been proven to work time and time again. With many cancers, there are numerous years of extensive medical research. With melanoma, we are just now beginning to progress with research.

"I have a family history of skin cancer but I have never been to a dermatologist."

Family history is a huge indicator of what you will eventually have. Don't wait until it's too late.

"My cousin died from melanoma."

This is my absolute worst pet-peeve. I mean, c'mon people, I know that you're just trying to relate to me, but maybe you should filter yourself? Please, I am already scared. Instead, tell me something that will give me hope. Knowing that this cancer is not going away--ever--I need things that will inspire me.

"But I LOVE being tan!"

...I am pretty sure you love being alive too. Pick one.

And I repeat...

"It's just skin cancer."

"Melanoma - a word that changes your life forever.
To all the survivors you make us believe in miracles.
To all the beautiful angels you make us believe in love.
To all the amazing warriors you make us believe in hope.
We will never give in and will never give up. ♥"


Anonymous said...

Here's a comment to go with that "At least it's not breast cancer." When the radiologist at the breast center told me the lump in my armpit was not breast cancer but was instead melanoma, she said "It would have been better if is HAD been breast cancer. At least we have treatments for that."

The Path Traveled said...

Oh my God...these are so sad! Why don't they wake up and get some education? They could be in our shoes in a heart beat and not even know it. Very up setting!

Andy L. said...

I have had all of these said to me. I try to be patient and do some educating, but there are days when I want to slap them upside the head. For me the most frustrating is the "but you don't look like you have cancer." Really!!!! And at first glance you didn't look like an idiot, but opened your mouth and removed all doubt. Keep up the good attitude, we are praying for you. By the way, just had scans and all three of my tumors in my lungs are gone, just scar tissue left, and the other one in my clavicular area is shrinking. Thanks for the awesome posts!

Kalisha said...

Hi! My name is Kalisha and I'm the blogger for I have been reading your site for the last few months. I like how you are always positive and funny too. I would love to share this post on our website (with your permission) and interview you for a series of blog posts that I call MY Story Friday. Please feel free to email me at I look forward to speaking with you!