Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May-Melanoma Awareness Month 2017

I’m a blogger. So I guess I’ll blog.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. We are on Day 3. For quite some time, I’ve been trying to limit my activity on social media. When Jillian first died, I was a mad woman trying to promote awareness to this horrific disease. Billboards everywhere, TV interviews, calls and emails with people touched in some way by melanoma….I couldn’t stop. I had to share what I knew, I had to keep Jillian’s name alive. I was horrified by the thought that she would be forgotten. I did not want another family to experience the searing grief that we do.

I began to realize that all of this activity was hurting me. I would scroll through Facebook and read the stories. Stories of young children fighting for their lives. KIDS! Stories about young wives and husbands trying to pick up the pieces of their lives after their spouse has died. How do they deal with the aftermath? How can they possibly explain this to their young children? “Daddy is in Heaven, sweetheart”. “Mommy loved you so much, she’ll be watching over you and will always be with you”.  (I want them here with me!)

And then there are the young girls loving their tanning beds, showing off their Golden Glow. Getting their “base” tan. Soon after, having to hold their best friends hand as she explains she now has Melanoma Cancer.

And the photos of the scars. Some of them would literally turn my stomach and make me sick. So much mutilation.

But let’s not forget the people I have known and loved that have died from this disease. The Melanoma community is a tight knit group of individuals. We support each other, we share, we cry and we love. And when one of them dies, we all grieve. It brings back every single moment I experienced with Jillian. AND IT HURTS!!!

Mothers and Fathers who have lost their children to melanoma, swimming in grief. How does that work? I can safely say, not very well.
Parent's aren't supposed to bury their children.

And then, we have the dear friends that we have grown to know and love. Some we have even met in person. The ones whose melanoma has progressed. We stand by helplessly. We pray for them. I hate it.

It makes me angry when people know the dangers of the sun and tanning beds but they choose to go ahead and risk their lives in spite of the warnings. Even the people who knew Jillian personally. I wonder if they truly understand that they are not only hurting themselves, but they are hurting the ones that love them. The ones that depend on them. Good grief.

I cannot change the world. I can only change me and do what is right for me on this day. This moment. And it is always changing.

For this Melanoma Month of May, 2017, I will pull up my big girl pants and fight for you. I will continue to post information in the hopes that you listen. I will do this in spite of the pain it causes me. We all do in our grassroots community. I’m not alone in this, not by a long shot. We do this for YOU. And for those that love you.

So, when you roll your eyes and move past these incessant melanoma awareness posts in your news feed this month, think about the intentions behind them. Perhaps we might just save a life. Maybe it’ll be yours.

Maybe mine.

~ Peace