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In the gift of the five years since — equal parts blink and eternity — I've milked the minutes as they've ticked.
Lucky isn't picking the right six numbers. It's seeing that the sad times let you better love the sweet ones. That sickness lets you better love health. Lucky is milking every word out of the good chapters. And when you're in a bad one, lucky is having enough strength to turn the page.
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The recent awareness campaign #MelanomaHeroes speaks to me on an even more personal level, as it afforded me the opportunity to publicly thank the two most important people in my life: my twin daughters. Claire and Cass, my right-and-left-hand women. My heroes, melanoma and otherwise.
I am a survivor of advanced melanoma: skin cancer which spread to my lymphatic system. I was able to receive eight powerful - and expensive - immunotherapy treatments which quite possibly saved my life. It never occurred to me that, should the disease come back, that I might not receive further treatment.
I am consoled by having the ability to share my story in the hopes that it can help others. Whether or not a fellow melanoma warrior speaks openly about their own diagnosis, I can give my perspective, and my new-found optimism, to those who may feel as isolated as I did when I found out I have stage 3b skin cancer.
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The sun. It's a beautiful thing, and when it's shining, the streets, parks and beaches get really busy. The city comes alive! But it's not all good. The sun can burn! And, a history of sunburns increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanomas. Sun exposure can also cause wrinkles, dry skin and age spots.
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My daughter saved my life. In the doctor's office for her sore throat, she urged me to have our physician look at my mole. The mole I had had on my hip all my life, the mole that had changed colour and shape over the course of six months, the mole that I would quickly learn had mutated into stage 3b melanoma.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It forms when the DNA of your skin is harmed, doesn't repair itself and instead mutates to form cancerous cells. Melanomas often look like moles, or develop from existing moles. It can spread from the skin to other parts of the body.
Growing up, we never talked about the importance of sun protection. We ran and played outside, without even thinking about applying sunscreen. Had I known that ignorance would lead to a stage 3b metastatic melanoma diagnosis in my mid-30s, I would've done things a lot differently.
"We all did it — together. Julie is going home."
The former U.S. president said doctors found no evidence of the four lesions discovered on his brain this summer and no signs of new cancer growth.
"I don’t know what to say except, I am sorry."
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Sun exposure is no joke. It is not to be taken lightly. Tanning salons and oils irk me with the same intensity as marketing fast food to children. Since 1970, the incidence of Melanoma has nearly tripled, while most other cancers are in retreat. Here is a breakdown of what you should know.
Canadians are spending more time in the sun without adequate protection. What's even more concerning is that an alarming number of young women are going to tanning salons. It's not worth risking your life for a tan. Here are 10 of the most common myths about tanning.