Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bad examples

We all know people in the media or public eye who, let's just say, don't always conduct themselves in the best manner or make the best choices? People who promote unhealthy habits, such as smoking, obsessive drinking, etc. Or how about people who promote use of indoor tanning beds?
We all know a few. Let us first introduce you to the Jersey Shore cast. We all know them. Some of us may even love them (they make for entertaining TV), but most of us probably think they are just trashy and obnoxious. What I dislike MOST about the cast of the Jersey Shore is their addicition and habit of tanning.
You might have heard of their famous tag line, "Gym, Tan, Laundry" or GTL? These reality stars have a problem and unfortunately, for a lot of Americans who watch them, they think that tanning is ok and not bad for you.
I hope that most Americans are smarter than that. C'mon, does this picture of Snooki in a tanning bed really make you want to go bake yourself?
I think not. And then there's the "Tan Mom", who we all watched or read about back last May (ironically Melanoma awareness month) who was accused of allegedly putting her daughter in a tanning bed. She made national headline news, and fortunately, in a GOOD way. Her addiction to tanning was obvious and DISTURBING. Just take one look at her!
She looks like a raisin! Or better yet, a burnt piece of toast! Even though her tanning addiction (from which they have coined the phrase, "Tanorexia") is a little extreme, it just goes to show that tanning can become a very serious addiction. Tan Mom even admitted to using tanning beds often twice a day and in different salons! The scary and real truth about tanorexia is that people who suffer from this disorder don't see themselves as TAN ENOUGH. They perceive themselves as unacceptable PALE.
What I am hoping is that these "bad examples" in the media actually turn out to be "good examples" of what NOT to do. Let's use their examples and their unhealthy habits to create some awareness for melanoma and the real dangers of tanning and/or not protecting our skin from the sun. It's already a proven fact (by multiple medical associations and organizations) that these UV devices, along with the sun, can cause MELANOMA. And melanoma is DEADLY if not caught early.
(Ever wonder why a tanning bed looks eerily similar to a coffin?)
Remember, melanoma is not just skin cancer. It's the kind of cancer that kills (often quickly) and takes too many lives each day. We need to do a better job educating people on this subject, so that these deaths can be prevented!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Big 3-5

35 was a big deal for me this year. Normally, I would cringe at turning another year older (and closer to 'middle age'), but I fully embrace this aging business now. To me, living to see another birthday is a gift and one that I don't take for granted anymore.

Almost 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with Stage 4, I remember my doctor at the time telling me I had less than a 10% survival rate surviving more than two years. In my mind, I recall saying the words, "I might not see my 35th birthday" (which was the next milestone birthday) and seriously doubting that I would be around to see this birthday. So, when I started treatment, I told my oncologist, "I just want you to get me to my 35th birthday!"
Well, here I am and in my opinion, healthier than I have ever been. I feel SO extremely blessed to be alive and healthy today. I don't know what the future holds (but neither do any of us), but I choose to live in the moment and not worry about the future or the unknown. I'm grateful for that perspective that I could've only gained going through something like cancer....

 35 is going to be a good year. NOW BRING ON 40!!!

Awhile back, I got this idea on someone's blog, and thought it would be a fun way for my readers (which most I don't know personally) to get know a little more about me! :)

So, here's 35 totally random facts about me:

1.  I eat an obscene amount of garlic.  I put it on everything and I always add double the amount when a recipe calls for it.
2.  I secretly want to take up Latin dancing with my hubbie.  I think it would be so fun!
3.  I can't stand pumpkin pie.  But I love pumpkin bread, cookies, and rolls.
4.  I dream of living abroad for a few years someday.  Australia or Switzerland is at the top of the list.
5.  I am deathly afraid of snails.  I hate admitting to that.
6.  I have a HUGE crush on Hugh Jackman.  My good friend, Lauren, recently wrote him some letters about me, hoping that he would maybe send me something in return!
7.  I have never tasted Nutella and I don't plan to because I think it sounds disgusting!
8.  I often fight the urge to break into a dance while working out and jammin' to my tunes.
9.  I won the 5th grade Spelling Bee at my elementary school.
10.  My greatest hope is to live to my 90's and be happy.
11.  I hate to admit this, but I'm a sucker for reality TV, like Bachelor, Project Runway, Real Housewives, Duck Dynasty, and The Biggest Loser.
12.  I haven't had a soda, such as a Diet Coke in over two years.  I don't miss it.
13.  I am obsessed with having clean kitchen floors because I hate walking on dirty, sticky floors!
14.  If I could be a different race, I would be Brazilian.  I'm not sure why, but I think Brazilian women are beautiful!
15.  When my kids are older, I hope to take my kids on a trip to do Humanitarian work in a third world country.  I think ALL kids in the U.S. need to know how blessed they really are.
16.  Certain food smells give me "food-gasms" such as fresh cilantro and basil, roasted garlic, and homeade apple pie!
17.  I love sleeping with a body pillow and my husband hates it.
18.  I am not a regular flosser, but I have only had 1 cavity in my life.
19.  One of my hugest pet peeves is people who are rude and have no manners.
20.  I didn't have my first "real" kiss until I was 16 years old.
21.  My toes are freakisly long.  Like almost as long as my fingers.
22.  If I could only pick one regret that I have in my life it would be not protecting my skin from the sun adequately enough.  Not only because I was diagnosed with melanoma, but because it has aged my skin.
23.  I want to write a book someday, but I'm not sure my life would be "cool" enough to read about.
24.  My eyes have changed colors in my adult life from dark brown to light brown/hazel.  My eye doctor has no explanation for that.
25.  I am a sore loser.  Especially at the game Phase 10.
26.  I can't say no to a dare (I guess that's the competitve side of me!).  This has gotten me in trouble many times in life!  I have jumped off a 60 foot cliff, wakeboarded nude, kissed 15 guys in one night, and ran topless through a park just to name a few....  ;)
27.  I am really bad at trimming my own bangs.
28.  If I could have any career in the world, it would be to be a writer for a travel publication or a host of a travel show.
29.  I always wanted brothers growing up, but now, I love having sisters!
30.  Whenever I am on top of a mountain or bridge looking down, I get the urge to jump!  (Not to kill myself, but for the thrill of it!)  I have no fear of heights.
31.  I would love to have a one-on-one with Oprah.  I actually think we would have a really interesting conversation.
32.  I have never been to NYC, but it's on the top of my list!
33.  I hope to adopt two kids someday. Maybe even siblings and maybe from a different country.
34.  I want to die my hair red one day just to see what I would look like as a red head!
35.  I have the greatest family and friends on Earth.  Really, truly.  I am such a blessed girl!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Living the Anti-Cancer Life

 I was fortunate to attend a lecture in Boise recently called, "Living the Anti-Cancer Life" given by Dr. Lorenzo Cohen of MD Anderson's Integretive Medicine department.  It was a great lecture that started with the different causes of cancer, how cancer is on the rise (especially in developed countries like the U.S.), and then ways to reduce our risk of cancer.
It was fascinating to learn how cancer is becoming an epidemic in countries like the U.S., where we have modern medicine!  However, I whole-heartedly agree with Dr. Cohen that is a consequence of living in a Western society, where we have fast food and processed foods a plenty, and where our farming has become more corrupt with pesticides and other harmful substances, as well as, GMO's.  Our rising incidence of cancer is a direct effect of our environment too--living in cities with pollution and breathing in toxic chemicals.
I will admit, it makes you a little more anxious and overwhelmed hearing and learning this kind of information because you realize you can't control 100% of your environment.  BUT you can control many of the choices you make each day regarding food and what we put into our bodies, which will in turn, reduce your risk of getting cancer greatly.
This was the part of the lecture that I particularly enjoyed because I love healthy eating and empowering myself with the knowledge of how to make my body healthier.  Many of the things that Dr. Cohen spoke about, I already knew, but it was a nice refresher!
Here are some key points that I came away when it comes to our nutrition:
1.  Eat organic as much as possible.  This includes meat and dairy as well.
2.  Your plate or diet should consist of at least 50% fruit and vegetables including lots of leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, and kale.  25% of your plate should come from whole grains, and the remaining 25% should consist of 10% animal proteins and 15% healthy fats.
3. Vitamin D3 is an important vitamin and one you don't want to be deficient in. Deficient Vitamin D levels can lead to diseases like cancer, and having sufficient Vitamin D levels can help improve the overall immune system greatly. You should have your Vitamin D checked once a year.
4. Sugar is the enemy. Refined sugar, that is. Several studies and research have led to the fact that sugar leads to all sorts of diseases, like cancer, and that sugar in our diet may by one of the main culprits in developing cancer.
5. Stress is also a huge contributor to disease, like cancer. Maintaining low stress levels is healthy for the immune system and prevents cell death. We can reduce our stress greatly by several different activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, physical exercise, getting adequate sleep, and social interactions.
There were many other interesting facts and tidbits, but this is the jist!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finally...Celebs are getting it right!

Watching the Golden Globes last night, I realized that all those beautiful celebs were rockin' their beautiful pale skin!  Wake up people, tans are so OUT!  Pale is the new IN.
I love that people are becoming more and more comfortable in the skin they were born in.  Rock it, own it, and relish in the beautiful, unique YOU!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bitter, frosty winter

I had to share a few photos of the beautiful winter we are having so far!  Sure, it's 5 degrees outside and I'm kinda over it, but on the bright side, we live in a winter wonderland with clean air, beaufiful mountains and trees surrounding us, and a safe place to call HOME!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pale is the new tan.

Pale is the new tan.  In 2013, let's embrace and love the skin that we are in!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Melanoma Miracle

The below post was written by a fellow melanoma warrior, Alisa Linton, 33 years old, fighting Stage IV melanoma. Her story is nothing short of miraculous.


 "In 2012:

I spent 1/10 of my year in the hospital in critical care.
Most of those weeks I couldn't walk out the room without blacking out.
I was too sick even to smile.
I gained 120 lbs.
I lost 115. :)
I put a binder together for my funeral requests.
My heart stopped for 7 seconds.
I grew 25 brain tumors.
I destroyed 25 brain tumors.
I got my first tattoos.
I explained to my kids how I was dying.
My kids stopped believing me.
I mourned a bit.
I celebrated a ton.
I had melanoma in my liver, bones, lungs, brain, and really all over.
I now have only three tumors left.

2013 is the year we get rid of this beast for once and for all!"
Remember, there are miracles all around us, we must never give up hope.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In 2013...

 Usually my list is about organization, goals I want to accomplish, and high expections and hopes I have for myself and the upcoming year.
One thing cancer has taught me is that life doesn't always go as planned.  In fact, most of the time it doesn't.  Sure, it's important to have hopes and dreams, but something I'm trying to do better this year is not make so many goals.  I want to get back to living in the moment, enjoying life to the fullest, giving myself a break (because I'm way too hard on myself), and spending more time with my family and loved ones.
What is your resolution for 2013??