Thursday, September 18, 2014

Miracle for Kathy Taylor

There are many stories of melanoma warriors that have touched me through the years, some who have lived on well past their prognosis and are thriving, others that were taken too soon.  Each time I read these stories, I am always reminded of how blessed I am to still be here.

This story pricked my soul in a different way, on a deeper level.  This young mom of five (pictured above) was recently diagnosed with aggressive Stage 4 melanoma while she was pregnant.  She chose to forgo treatment at first, to give her baby a chance to live, but ultimately, became so sick from the cancer, that she was told she needed to deliver the baby early (at 26 weeks), so that she could start treatment to save her life.

Baby Luke was born and doing well for a preemie.  Kathy, on the other hand, was declining fast, and doctors at first thought she wouldn't live past the weekend following Luke's birth.  Kathy's liver was failing and doctors needed to do something fast.

Then the miracles started happening.  All of a sudden, Kathy's health took a turn for the better slowly but surely.  Kathy got to a point, where the doctors were able to stabilize her liver so she could begin treatment for melanoma.  After she was only given days to live, now all of a sudden, she was living weeks beyond this devastating news.  And not only that, she was given the ok to be released from the hospital so she could go home! (Under the care of doctors and healthcare providers, of course.)

The unfortunate news is that baby Luke didn't make it.  He passed away due to complications in his digestive system.  I can't even imagine how Kathy or her family feel.  But I'm also comforted to know that they feel peace and reassurance that they will be with their son again in heaven.

Please pray for this mother and wife, as she continues to astonish doctors with her progress, but needs our prayers and support all the while!

You can read the first news story here , the updated story here, or for the family's blog and updates, read here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Social norms and melanoma

I read a very interesting article the other day about how social norms in our culture have influenced the spike in melanoma in the last 30 years.  If you think back to the turn of the century, for the most part, people covered up (in regards to clothing).  They also idolized porcelain skin, in which was also meant a "higher" class in society, while tan skin was usually found in people who worked outdoors in the fields and were "lower" class in society.
The article also points out that earliest evidence that UV exposure could lead to skin cancer was found in the early 20th century, but ignored by most people. As the years went on, from the 1940s to the 1960s, tan skin hit its stride, and bikinis and T-shirts were the clothes of choice. But incidences of melanoma went up 300% in men and 400% in women between the 1930s and 1960s.
And now the incidence rate of melanoma is an all-time high.  What's interesting to me is that awareness and education for the disease is also increasing, yet people seem to be ignoring the statistics and opting for the tanning beds, the long, unprotected exposure in the sun, and less clothing.
Can we change this?  Yes, we can, but it's going to take small groups of people to change and make an impact, before we see any real decrease in incidence and deaths from this melanoma.
You can read the full article here.