A fellow melanoma warrior, and the author of blog, Welcome to the Hotel Melanoma, Rich McDonald, posted the above picture. This photo was taken last night near Manitou Springs, Colorado. I’ve never lived in an area where there are wildfires, so it’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like living in the path of such destruction. But I can certainly imagine the fear and anxiety it would cause. Your family, your home, your loved ones are being threatened, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Sound familiar? Yeah…I’m making a parallel.
Melanoma is a beast. It’s a hot dragon that spews out fire and destruction in its path. It has no time table, it has no agenda. It just is. It strips you raw, and swallows up your whole family and everyone around it and then spits you out. It causes fear, and anxiety, and just like that wildfire, there is not a damn thing you can do about the devastation it causes.
This photo ties into the latest efforts in raising melanoma awareness. The face book page, The Faces of Melanoma. This page was created to reveal the Face of Melanoma. To show the world that melanoma cancer has a face, and to share those stories. It’s a place where one can go to post a message to a loved one battling the disease and add a word of encouragement. Or a place just to honor someone no longer with us. I have received several messages telling me that this has been healing for them. Knowing that people care and are supporting them in their journey IS healing.
The Scars of Melanoma was started because there are those who may see the faces, realize that so and so has melanoma, but they don’t see what lies beneath the face. How can they? This isn’t something that is shared easily. How can they know how vulnerable it feels to the warrior when they step out of the shower and get a glimpse in the bathroom mirror of their scared belly? How can they know how it feels when the scar on your back has gotten three times the size of the original site due to stretching and an infection that set in while trying to heal? How about when our warrior puts on a pair of shorts, or what about the eye patch that is needed every single day? But yet, these warriors post their scars for the world to see. Why? Because they want to share their stories in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, one person will see. Maybe one person will take this nasty black beast seriously. Perhaps save a life. It takes tremendous courage to push through the hesitation and uncertainty.
So as I look at the fire, and I think about all the devastation it is causing, I cannot help but see beauty. There is beauty in the devastation. These faces, and these scars are beautiful. They are beautiful because they tell a story. Your story.
So while you are fighting your battle with courage and determination, O mighty Warrior, know that you are the beauty in devastation.
The above pages are part of a multi-pronged effort with Rev Carol Taylor. She has created a website called Faces and Scars of Melanoma. This site is dedicated to honor those battling melanoma, and to remember those no longer with us. It also has a page dedicated to acknowledge efforts being made to raise awareness. Please feel free to join us. No. I encourage you to join us. :)