Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What to expect when you’re newly diagnosed!

Hello family & friends!  Here is a little "what to expect" post - a little insight from a newbie.  I'm sure this applies to any diagnosis - not just cancer.  This can be for you or for a family/friend that was diagnosed with whatever "IT" may be.     
  • Nausea:  This one may just be me, although I doubt it.  Holy shit was I feeling completely ill.  I got the “hey, you have cancer” call while I was at work.  After I sobbingly relayed the info over to the hubs, I headed to the bathroom stall, where I had to stand for a bit because I thought I was going to lose my lunch.  I not only did this once, but three times that day.  I stayed nauseous for the rest of the day and little into the next.  It gets better, I promise.  I also became nauseous the day that I received the pathology report, after researching what it said of course.   Again, the bathroom stall became my buddy.
  • Eating Habits:  You may be an emotional eater or an emotional starver.  I happen to be the latter.  I haven’t been eating quite as much since the diagnosis.  Let’s say I am super hungry, but then once I dig in, about half-way through, I am done.  My brain thinks that the hunger level is still there - but my stomach doesn't. 
  •  Freak out!  Le Freak, C’est Chic!:  I don’t care how stoic you think you may be, you WILL be in freak out mode at one point or another.  Your freak out mode may last an hour, a day, a week, a month – only you can decide when that will end.  Just be prepared that it can absolutely sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it.  It could be a song you hear or even one of those freaking Sarah McLachlan sad puppy commercials (I can’t change the channel fast enough!).
  • Sleepless Nights:  The way that I handle this is to try to relax before bed.  I know, I know – easier said than done.  I already have a dash of insomnia (thanks, Mom!) and stress turns that into a colossal glob of insomnia.  What I do is make sure I am showered, try to drink some ‘Sleepytime Tea’, take some melatonin and possibly half of a non-addictive sleeping pill, throw my pasty butt in bed and try to do some reading; yes, in that order.  I’ve tried muscle relaxers, three different kinds to be exact, and all it does is make me an uber-relaxed annoyed person with random thoughts racing through her head.  There may be a test run of what concoctions work best for you.  Whatever works - stick with it!
  • Emotions:  There will be a torrential flood of emotions that will come to the surface.  Me – I’m a crier.  I cry all the damn time, especially when I am about a week away from starting my lovely period.  This makes it worse, MUCH worse.  Oh jeez, my poor husband!  Honey cakes, I’m sorry and you know that I love you, right?  It’s just the hormones, I promise!  I don’t even want to think about …..(drum roll please)….The Change!  With my hormones, I may just go on a three-state kill spree.  Wait, how the hell did I get from crying to menopause?  Anyways, you’ll be a little on the emotional side.  More on this later.  
  • New Friends:  O-kay, they may not technically be “new” friends, they may be old ones that you never, ever physically speak to.  I weeded through my Facebook friends list and got rid of about 50 people before 'coming out'.  And I'm still deleting people *cue 'Jaws' theme*. 
  • Knowledge:  To me this is one of the best outcomes of any diagnosis.  Knowledge.  I've researched my pasty butt off.  I'm sure if there was a way to disable Google on my computer at work, my boss would have done it.  Just because she thought that I was freaking myself out, but I wasn't...well....I wasn't freaking myself out TOO bad.  I need information, o-kay!  Knowledge is Power and don't forget it.
And there it is.  You (or your family/friend) may have all of these or not - there may be even MORE things.  This is just what I went through (and still am going through).  Diagnosis can be scary - I think it means "Fear of the devil's goat eyes" in Latin.  Just kidding, that is completely false.  But I had you going, right?  :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Give thanks where it's due

Luckily this Melanoma business is much more curable when it’s caught early.  I don’t know if I will ever be completely free of it as we now know that my body knows how to make the cells and not to mention it will forever be in the back of my mind.  At the moment we aren’t 100% certain of what is going on below the current biopsy, but Dr. Surgeon is pretty confident that it was caught early enough.  In fact, he said that going to see Dr. Dermatologist at the time I did saved my life.  Whoa.  Trip out on that for a bit…

First of all, I want to give thanks where it’s due.  If it wasn’t for my pestering husband bugging me, sometimes several times a day to get this thing checked out, I’d still be walking around with a ticking time bomb on my back.

I know that his pestering was all done out of the love for me and my health.  I can’t thank him enough.  Shuggy – I love you so much!!  I’ve never been loved like you love me (parents excluded of course, it’s not quite the same).  I can’t tell you how incredibly grateful I am that I have you in my life.  I love you with every single fiber of my being.  Please know that I love you so very much.  You’re my best friend, my partner in crime, my comfort, my world and now I can proudly add to the list – my savior.   
Thank you for your pestering.  Now that you’ve saved my life, you’re stuck with me!  Fooorevvvvvvaaaaar!

Little, Stupid Mole

Moley, Moley, Moley.  Holy moly.  Why has that mole grown, so?  I grew up, being moley.  That’s just what us pasty folks have to look forward to…moles.  JOY!  Soooo attractive.  When I was younger I realized that I had ’spots’.  Not only freckles after being in the sun, but I had moles…well, everywhere.  My mom used to tell me that men loved them; that they were “beauty marks”.  For a long time I felt like the only beauty mark that I had was on my face.  A cute, little “beauty mark” about ¾ of an inch above my lip on the left side of my mouth.  Very movie-star-esque.  Everything else was just a mole.

I worked out.  And you know what I did after working out?  I went tanning.  I went to a very popular chain tanning salon.  I only put sun block on my tattoos because, of course, I didn’t want to affect my tattoos with fake sun.  I remember going into the tanning salon and them telling me “we have new bulbs in this bed!”  I used to get burnt in tanning beds all the time.  So much to the point I would have tiger stripes on my back - from new bulbs in the bed.  The most recent time I went tanning was preparing for my husband’s, cousin’s wedding in Cabo San Lucas last year, May, 2011.

Fast-forward to at least 6 months later.  I cut my hair in February 2012.  I do this a lot, change is good.  Brown hair, red hair, blond hair, short hair, long hair – it’s all whatevs to me.  I feel like that’s when I noticed the mole had grown.  Where the fuck did that come from?  Jesus, that thing is kind of big; I don’t remember that being there?  I showed it to my husband about 3 days later because I was mentally obsessing on it.  Why is it so big now?  We had randomly stumbled upon our wedding photos and saw a photo of my back.  The mole used to be tiny.  Little.  A stupid, little mole.

In March of 2012, my husband lost his job.  The mole took a back seat to our now changed lives.  One income impairs quite a few things.  Rent becomes priority - not seeing a dermatologist!  It should have been the other way around, however me being in the “employee benefits” industry, I knew all too well how things would work if I were to get this mole checked out.  Deductible, office copay, lab coinsurance…then lastly dealing with the billing department and fighting over why we’re sending in partial payments.  I could literally see it in my head.  Beatrice, this is all we can afford right now.  No, I can‘t send the rest of the $400 due.  And this was ONLY having the mole checked out. 

I did go in and out of a “what if” scenario, and frankly - we just couldn’t afford a “what if”.  My amazing husband did continue to lovingly pester me about seeing a dermatologist to have the mole removed, however I think I was subconsciously scared of the “what if” I typed about moments ago.  Honey, we can’t afford this right now - I promise I will go once you land a job, I promise.

Everyone in good ‘ole ‘Merica knows the status of our economy.  Being in Southern California is no different.  It took my husband 9 months to find a job.  He had to get licensed first to do so, however he IS now employed.  YAY!  Guess what happened next?  Yes, pestering.  The loving pestering started again, which I reluctantly made the appointment.

I saw Dr. Dermatologist on Thursday, February 21st.  I called to make the appointment the previous Wednesday.  I remember thinking, “Whoa, I don’t even have time to mentally prepare for this appointment”.  I knew I was going to have the mole removed and from what I’ve researched, it doesn’t sound fun – at least the recovery part.  Anyone that knows me knows that I absolutely MUST research everything - from new restaurants to medical services.  I need information.

Dr. Dermatologist took one look at the mole and responded with a quick “Oh yeah, that needs to go.  I’ll take it and send it to the lab, everything should be fine”.  He left, came back into the room with the mole-removal goods and got started.  I laid down on my stomach on a bed/table that electronically adjusted height by the tap of his foot.  I start to sweat. 

I hate needles.  Judging by my piercings and tattoos you wouldn’t think so.  Now, I am not heavily tattooed or pierced, but I do have a nice collection going.  Dr. Dermatologist numbed me up, which I didn’t feel a thing and my husband video’d the whole thing.  You aren’t going to YouTube that, are ya’?”  To which my husband responded, “Not unless you want me to…”  The process was really easy and I was somewhat sad that I hadn’t put on my big girl pants a months ago, or two - three months ago when the hub’s started working.  Oh well, at least I have it taken care of now.  Dr. Dermatologist advised that I will get a call or something in the next 2 weeks. I had all forgotten about it and gone on with my life.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nelly Wartman

I have always been a little bit on the nervous side.  Hence the ulcerative colitis.  I’m also not much of a verbal sharer of information.  Hence the reason why I write.  I have a couple of journals with ramblings of a mad woman scattered throughout.  Unfortunately, my amazing husband knows this all too well.  I am fine talking, for a little bit, until I start to get uncomfortable and then I shut down.  I am a phenomenal wall builder.  For some reason I keep people at a steady arms-length distance from me.  Tony is the only person that has been able to break down the walls that I have put up for security, but unfortunately I always have brick and mortar in hand waiting. 

Not only am I a nervous Nelly, I’m also a worry wart.  Hello, nice to meet you, I’m Nelly Wartman.  Actually, I don’t like the way that sounds.  Amber Vasco sounds better.  This is where things get funky - being a nervous Nelly, worry wart that doesn’t like to share information.  It’s almost stuck in my head, deep in my subconscious.  I actually don’t even know that I am stressed out until my body tells me.  And let me tell you, my body is screaming.

When I get stressed out, my stomach acts up and I have issues sleeping.  Sleeping becomes almost a daunting task.  I can go to sleep just fine.  Leave me on the couch under a blanket once it’s dark and I can be asleep in 15 minutes.  The problem is staying asleep.  I will wake up to go to the bathroom, hearing something outside, moving to get in a more comfortable position, being thirsty - the list is long.  I wake up and stay awake. 

The first couple of days it’s fine.  It’s an annoyance, but I can deal with it.  Once it extends past 3-4 days is when it also extends past the annoyance category.  Once I’m awake, I’m not really thinking of anything other than going back to sleep.  Although, my subconscious is like Marianas Trench.  Really fucking deep.  The last couple of weeks have been terrible on my REM cycles.  I don’t think that I’ve had any.  There are no “shiny, happy people holding hands”.  Both my dad and father-in-law have given me some muscle relaxers and those don’t do anything except make my muscles like Jell-O while I am lying in bed trying to force myself to sleep. 

I hope that this journey will allow me to open up more, to not hold shit in.  Also, I hope to retire from my wall building empire and let people in.  Kind of shitty that cancer made me realize this - but at least it’s a start. 

Something to be concerned of

It was appointment day with UCI.  I think that I was the calmest one in the waiting room. Tony was SUPER nervous. Like ’I can’t sit down’ nervous.  This was a huge stepping stone.  What was the next step?  Where was the next step?  I didn’t know and neither did Tony.  The fear of the unknown can be downright terrifying. 

Sitting in the waiting room I felt very really happy, actually.  Even though I didn’t know what the next step would be, I was happy to find out; excited for the next step.  I brought my camera with me, as I tend to do.  I want to document this journey for me, for my family and for anyone else that may gain from not only just my ramblings, but photos, too.  Photos of the good, the bad and the ugly. 

I took a picture of Tony and me sitting there in the waiting room.  There was an older gentleman there waiting to get his blood drawn.  He said “Why don’t you take a picture of me because they will take half of me when I get in there”.  He appeared to be a member of the Melanoma Club, too.  I am only capitalizing the “M” of Melanoma because it’s something to deal with.  Something to be concerned of.

Mr. Older Gentleman in the waiting room had half of his right ear.  He was still FULL of personality.  As he was bracing for a solo picture, I said “Hey, I’m coming over with you!”  We took a great picture, thanks to my lovely camera and two great personalities sitting next to each other.  I hope I see him again :) 

Amber Vasco?  Oh, that’s me!  I respond with “I’ve got my crew with me, can we all fit?”  My mom, dad and of course my nervous husband were all there with me.  I was putting on a happy face for them.  Or it could have been the fact that I had actually slept the last two nights prior to this appointment.  I had all of the standard doctor appointment things; blood pressure (which was high because I was - ahem - nervous), thermometer reading (which was also higher than normal - I like to think that I ’run hot’) and the scale.  This scale was HUGE.  It was in the floor, I can only assume for people that are in wheelchairs.  I’ve never seen anything like that before.  I actually liked it, only because the numbers - aka my weight - wasn’t staring me in the face.  

A man walked into the office as the nurse is asking me questions.  He introduced himself,  Hi, my name is Mr. B.  I’m a volunteer, but also a patient.  You will LOVE Dr. Surgeon!"  As I move from the new patient questioning area into the exam room, Mr. B follows and he’s talking to my crew about how awesome the doctor is.  I asked Mr. B what stage he was and he said that he’s a stage IV survivor!  He was given 3-9 months to live and that was almost 4 years ago.  He had Melanoma on his head, back and also liver.  He had lots of surgeries and lots of chemo.  He looked great.  He had to have been around 65+ and that made me feel pretty confident about the doctor. 

The nurse asks me to get undressed and wear one of those lovely open back gowns, which ladies, we ALL know that a man designed them.  My dad not wanting to stick around to see his grown daughter get undressed split and went to the waiting room, even though there was a perfectly good curtain that I could have hid behind.  The doctor comes in with his own entourage which included a nurse and a student.  The first words out of his mouth where “Shit, there’s a lot of people in here.”  I knew this was going to work out just fine, a cursing doctor.  Awesome!! 

The consultation begins and he shakes my mom’s hand, my husband’s hand and then puts his arm around me and places his forehead to mine.  He makes jokes, which helps ease the tension in the room; I think that all of the tension is purely radiating from Tony as he is still not sitting…  He pulls out the same pathology report that I had from the Dr. Dermatologist and circles two things - my age and the mitotic rate.  Age being good, mitotic rate being bad.  He was very confident and quick.  Quick, as in witty.  I’ve heard before that people that are quick witted are quite intelligent.  I tend to agree.  I don’t know why ALL doctors don’t have stellar personalities.  I’m not saying that I am super smart, but my brain fires rapidly.  Sometimes there is no sensor between brain and mouth.  Sometimes words fly out of my mouth so fast that I have no time to think if that is appropriate to say at work, let alone in a meeting…

He visually scanned over my body using a nifty Melanoma magnifying glass - no other moles or freckles were of concern.  That was a HUGE relief to me because there was a curious freckle at the end of my big toe on my right foot.  His term was boring.  These moles are boring.  Since I am a pasty, blonde hair, blue eyed, primarily German chick, I am a prime target for Melanoma.  I will need to go to the dermatologist initially every 3-6 months and then after a few years it will be once a year. 

Now for the game plan.  The game plan is a wide excision.  Due to the location of the mole, the excision will need to be diagonal on my back.  They will also need to take out a couple lymph nodes.  For some reason when I was talking to Dr. Dermatologist during the phone call heard ‘round the world, I assumed he meant like checking them.  Like feeling them through my skin.  Or looking at them under some sort of super cancer x-ray machine.  Wrong. 

They will inject me with a very, very small dose of radiation and also blue dye.  The injection site will be where the biopsy was.  I’ve read this is lovely, comparable to wasp stings.  Stings as in plural.  I was stung by a wasp once.  I was doing laundry at the last apartment complex that I was living in.  I wear flip flops all the time; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  All of a sudden, I get this quick feeling like I had stepped on something sharp.  I kick my leg out thinking that I had something stuck under my toe.  I put my foot back down and there it is again, this time stronger.  It felt like a hot needle piercing through my skin, aaaaaand it lasted for about 30 minutes.  joy.

The injections will take place two hours prior to the surgery so that way the injection has time to flow to whatever lymph node would typically be receiving fluids from the body.  There is some sort of radiation “radio”, if you will, and whatever nodes are playing the loudest radiation rock will be removed.  I think the blue dye is to assist in the locating them - so they can be seen during surgery.  They assume that the nodes that will be affected will be in my left armpit.  Although, they did explain that there may be some in my neck, near my collarbone and possibly on my right side. 

My surgery has been scheduled and I am excited to get this over with.  Let the scars begin to heal and figure out where I stand.  I think that’s what I am so nervous about is the results again.  I only “think” what I am nervous about because I don’t completely know.  I am SO not in tune with my emotions…

Back to the Pathology Report

Two weeks exactly after the mole biopsy, one week exactly after the diagnosis, I received the pathology report.  I used to like Thursdays.  Thursdays are the day before Fridays - Hooray!  Friday!  Good thing Fridays haven’t been infiltrated.  Anyways, back to the pathology report…

I asked Dr. Dermatologist to send me the pathology report for insurance reasons.  I luckily signed up for what is known as a “bridge” plan, similar to the insurance plan that has the Duck.  These types of plans will pay you “X” amount of dollars for services that you’ve had done, such as anything preventative.  I signed up for this 4 years ago - to which I was told that I wasn’t going to be approved because of my colitis.  Come to think of it, I don’t even remembering being told that I was approved. 

I had my annual woman exam, which is always a good time.  I remember my bridge plan and then started wondering if I just have an accident, hospital or cancer.  Cancer…wait a second - I have cancer.  Not a club I particularly wanted to join, but hey - now I am a member I will make the damn best of it.  I wonder what happens if I have had a biopsy like I did?  I wonder what happens if I am diagnosed, like I was?  Being the sleuth that I am, I go to their website and it does in fact say that they will pay upon initial diagnosis.  I start searching for bills that my company pays to confirm what plan I have.  I find it with the help of my manager.  Where’s my name??  There it is!!  Clear as day: Amber V and Shuggy V - Cancer Policy.  YES!  There is a light in this dark room that I’ve been thrown into.  Anyways, back to the pathology report.

I received the pathology report from Dr. Dermatologist and of course, as I’ve mentioned, I research as much information as I possibly can.  There are so many words that I don’t know.  Never missing an opportunity to learn something new, I dive right in:

            Type:                            Superficial spreading
            Clark’s Level:              At least III
            Breslow Level:             At least 0.5mm
            Vertical Growth:          Present
            Ulceration:                   None Identified
            Mitotic Rate:                Intermediate (3 per square mm)
            TIL:                              Present, Brisk
            Surgical Margins:         Present

The notes said that the tumor (which I can’t stand that word - it’s gross, isn’t it?) was basically cut off in the middle so the depth is estimated and will need to be adjusted upon further excision.  Based on my research, there are good and bad things with this report.  Let’s start with the bad…

Bad News Bears:         

Clark’s level at least III: This typically means that the tumor (shutter - hate that word) has basically completely penetrated the epidermis and more than likely the papillary dermis, too.  Of course, this will possibly need revision once the surgeon cuts more out.

Vertical Growth Phase: Since I was luckily was given the superficial spreading melanoma (as opposed to Nodular) this type begins growing outwards first and foremost.  Hence the “why the hell has this thing gotten so big” revelation.  This type grows across the epidermis first, then it begins to grow down further into the papillary dermis, then into the dermis…and finally wherever the heck it wishes via the lymph node highway.

Mitotic Rate: This is the rate in which infected cancer cells are dividing.  Apparently “good” would be less than one per millimeter.  I’m at 3 per mm; it’s an intermediate rate.

Good News Goons:

Breslow Level:  This is good, I’m under 1 mm - however, this is only based on the section of skin that was removed.  This can absolutely change once they perform the wide excision.

Ulceration:   There was no ulceration present which is essentially your skin breaking down due to the cancer.  This is when your skin swells, bleeds, sheds, etc.  My mole just looked like an oddly shaped dark mole, with an almost light/white halo around it.  No ulceration is good.  Ulceration is not good.

TIL (tumor infiltrating lymphocytes):  Wow, this scared the shit of out of me when I initially read it.  I took it as exactly how it reads - the tumor is infiltrating the lymphocytes.  WRONG.  This time, I was excited about being wrong.  What?  Who honestly likes being wrong?  What this actually means is the lymphocytes are infiltrating the tumor.  My body realizes there is an invasion.  There has been a security breach on my skin and these pasty cells are putting up a fight!

So, all in all, I know things can change upon the surgery.  I will have a wide excision on my back for them to take out more of the tumor (I’ve got to stop typing that word!).  It will be the shape of a triangle, or an eye.  This will help them sew it up because of the fact that the skin is typically pretty tight (unless you were pretty big, lost weight and now you have a bunch of excess skin - makes sense, right?).  And going back to the conversation from Dr. Dermatologist, they will need to look at some lymph nodes.  From there, we will find out what the next game plan will be.  I’m betting on Good News Goons to win the game! J

Diagnosis of an IT word

February 28th.  February 28th, 2013.  That should be just the last day of the shortest month of the year, but for me that was the day I got a call that I will never forget.  I was at work, I had just returned from one of the many bathroom visits (what, I drink a LOT of water) and noticed I had a voice mail.  Humm, that name sounds familiar - must be an employee that I‘ve worked with before at one of our clients.  An hour later, I have time to listen and help.  I listen - it’s not an employee, it’s my dermatologist.  Why is HE calling me?  Why didn’t his office manager call…why didn’t they just send a letter with the results? 

My hands immediately start to sweat.  I call back, leave a message with the office manager.  No more than 5 minutes later, which absolutely could have only been 2 minutes, I see that name again on my caller ID.  Shit.  That was fast.

“Hi Amber, it’s Doctor Dermatologist.  I heard ’Office Manager’ say your name, by the time I got to her you two had already hung up so I called you right back.  Your test results came back and you have Malignant Melanoma, mmmkay?  It’s fine, I think we caught it early and you will need to see a surgeon to get more removed and they will probably need to look at some lymph nodes”

Mali….did he just say Malignant??  I go over and over in my head ‘Benign is fine, Benign is fine'.  Oh.  Wait, did he REALLY just say Malignant?  Fuck the Melanoma part, I am completely stuck on Malignant.  I immediately call my husband and tell him that I just got a call and "it's" malignant.  It.  Such a small word, such a large impact to so many things.  “It” can be…anything, right?  The name of a Stephen King book of a creepy ass clown with sharp teeth comes to mind.  Suits “it” well. 

I cried to my husband over the fact that IT was malignant.  After I got off the phone, I went back to my desk to research what in fact Malignant Melanoma actually is…what IT actually means.  I was more worried on the malignant part.  That is, until I googled.  I immediately became more worried about the Melanoma part than the Malignant part.

I thought that all skin cancer was called “Melanoma”.  Melanoma is NOT just skin cancer.  There is Basal Cell, Squamous Cell and then there is Melanoma, the ugly step-sister that no one likes.  She’s actually quite a bitch.  The bitchy step-sister that no one likes.  Yes, that’s more like it.

I’ve learned a considerable amount about Melanoma since my diagnosis.  Diagnosis is another one of those “it” words.  Diagnosis holds power.  Diagnosis is certain.  Diagnosis is also uncertain.  This is the second diagnosis that I’ve had in my life.  First one being February 14th, 2007 - diagnosis = ulcerative colitis.  My body must like February.  I gave the first diagnosis power - my stress.  I’m stressed out now, but I can’t give this recent diagnosis power, I wont.  I’m bigger and stronger than a little, stupid mole. 

At this point when I wrote this, I had scheduled an appointment with a UCI Melanoma Specialist and Surgeon.  The three people that I love the most were there with me.  They are support.  They are family.  They are my angels, the ones that will look after me indefinitely. 

Just getting started...

Initially, I started writing to get these thoughts out of my head.  As you will read, I am not a big communicator.  You probably wouldn’t know that if you knew me.  I’m outgoing, funny (at least I think I am damn funny!), witty (again, this is a pure assumption) and generally quite personable.  When I get stressed out, I shut down fast.  I don’t want to talk about anything; I would rather do anything than share my feelings.  The only way that I can share is by writing them out.  No judgments, no conversation; just me.

I’ve got a few “stories” built up now and it’s only been a couple of weeks since diagnosis.  When I was first diagnosed, I scoured through the internet for someone else going through the same thing.  There are threads of people asking questions about their diagnosis and several different people responding, but responses varied and they were so damn doom-and-gloom.  Who wants to read that when they’re already freaked the F out?  Not this guy…

After chatting with my husband (who may be known as  ‘Shuggy’, ‘The Hubs’ and his real name), we decided to go for it and jump in with both feet into the Blog Pool.  I don’t know quite yet what I am doing, so please bear with me.  I’m just getting started.  If I can reach my family and have them understand what my thoughts are – that would be amazing.  If I can reach others that I don’t know about the dangers of tanning beds and not wearing sunblock, even better! 
As many others that get any type of diagnosis, they want to help the newbies in the club and they want information.  I am still VERY new in the club, but I absolutely want to extend a helping hand to anyone that could use it.  This is my blog.