Sun Worship Part III

Time’s Up…We Know Better

Yeah, I’ve written about my childhood days in the sun and my days as a naive adult, too. But how did I manage to continue this sun worship until I became another cancer statistic? Those of you who are still sun junkies will want to read this I hope.This sun habit is no longer sensible. It kills.

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With adult children with lives of their own, my time beyond work was…well, mine! A novel idea, I readily choose more warm weather vacations in the Spring, sought out time at the beach, and did a lot more mucking about with boats. For me, life has always been best when on, in, or near water.

My sun-safe habits were moderate. Because of sun damage at a young age, I applied sunscreen to my nose regularly. Super solar days, I’d put on a baseball cap and bring a long sleeve shirt for the end-of-the day sunburn. If at the beach, I’d turn my chair away from the late day sun. On a boat, I’d be sure to cover up my skin as the day floated along. I started wearing sun glasses more…I mean who had heard of ocular melamona?

Feel the Burn

For those warm weather Spring vacations, I did something that I felt was very smart. I went to tanning beds. Being a logical person, I wanted to not burn on vacation and be able to participate in whatever sand, sun, sea adventure that came along. By tanning, my skin had a base of tan allowing me to be out and about without worrying about frying. I wouldn’t call myself a frequent flyer for tanning, but felt better for going. Perhaps it was a vitamin D boost or perhaps it was feeling warm?

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Whatever my source of sun, mindfulness had a different spin. At the end of the day, using lotion to prevent sun damage was part of the routine. Some days, a soak in an oil bath rejuvenated my dry skin. Different home remedies might include using a vinegar soaked wash cloth or a cold compress for sunburn. What sunburn remedies do you know of? I’d like to include them in a future blog listing so let me know!

The BIG Burn

The result of my sun-safe habits?  Metastatic melanoma. Hear my sarcasm? I wasn’t protecting myself. For the most part, I was doing “after: sun damage care. In my lifetime, our culture had no fear of the sun. We worship tan bodies, warm heat, and the relaxation of the hazy, lazy days of summer. My logic on how to have that healthy glow was actually setting me up for the big burn, the burn of fighting for my life.

Are you thinking you won’t get skin cancer? Or that if you have a little area removed, that life is good so grab that beach chair? There are different types of skin cancer, all of them are scary and melanoma is deadly. You don’t want to hear this but neither did I when I got that biopsy result that changed my life. Please think again!

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Thanks for following me and please let me know how you are changing the sun worship culture in your life. #Sunsmarts are in! Love being outside and  being sun shy is where it is at now that we know better! Save a life-yours! Be practical and learn sun-safe habits. #melanoma #melanomatheskin #naturalskinrocks #cancer #mindfulness

We can-cer vive!

Janis

 

I Can See Clearly Now

sky-red-art-blue-9333.jpgOcular Melanoma (OM) is a rare, yet all to common cancer that effects the eyes.  Melanoma, as a deadly cancer, can be diagnosed in the eyes.  I’ve had melanoma on my face and with no eye issues.  With a need for new eye glasses, I’ve just been to an optometrist for basic evaluation. Let me also mention that an optometrist does the typical eye exams, lense changes, adjustment of frames, and non-urgent eye health process. An ophthalmologist is a specialist who works with the study and treatment of disorders and diseases of the eye.  Ocular oncologists treat patients with ocular melanoma and other eye cancers, and may also be an ophthalmologist.  I chose to go with an optometrist as I have no signs of OM.

In The Blink of an Eye

My oncologists recommend having my eyes checked for melanoma and  it was long overdue! The visit was all very routine though I did request a doctor (in advance) that has diagnosed eye cancer. No tumors or questionable areas were found and a routine eye exam ensued.  With a mother with macular degeneration, I witness the importance of eye health and the tragedy of eye damage on a regular basis.

Whether you are a melanoma patient or not, schedule your next eye exam with a request to be “looked over” for ocular melanoma and other eye disease.  Eye health should routinely include close examination of all areas of your eyes; the exam is painless and I felt a tiny bit of relief, knowing my eyes are melanoma free.  Skin cancer is a reckless fugitive that I deal with daily, and why not feel confident that your vision is okay?

Easy on the Eyes

 

Ocular melanoma is NOT a  cutaneous skin melanoma.  I just thought it important to discuss OM where it is often considered a skin cancer (cutaneous) and from what I read, it is not!  Uveal melanoma and useful information about eye cancers,  as described by the National Cancer Institute, is more specific to the tumors that can go undetected in the eye and are often fatal.

OM is rare and early detection matters. Each year approximately 2,500 people are diagnosed in the United States.  According to studies, this is not a melanoma that is sun related, though over 50, fair skin, and blue or green eyes are commonalities in most patients.   Tumors start in the pigment cells (melanocytes)  of the uvea that gives color to the eyes.  This information still has me wondering if there is a connection to the sun with this type of eye cancer?

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We don’t need to have eyes in the back of our heads to know eye health is essential.

  • Make an appointment for an eye exam
  • Be aware of changes in your eyes
  • Protective glasses are critical anywhere that effect your eye health
  •  Avoid unnecessary brightness and sun situations
  • Wear your sun glasses (ultraviolet (UV) protection is just sensible as it filters the sun’s rays; polarized lenses block intense reflected light and reduce glare)
  • Let tired eyes rest

Ocular melanoma is not common and is lethal. While it is not known what causes this type of eye cancer, consider eye health a part of your whole health agenda.  With so many unknowns in uveal melanoma, all the more reason to practice good eye health.  New glasses for me next week!

I hope that those of you working through eye cancers will consider adding comments here.

We can-cer vive!

Janis