Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My 100th Post! I've decided, it's going to be an angry one! No, seriously...it's about anger :)

Santa, this year I want a punching bag so I wont' hurt my fucking hand anymore.  K?  Thanks. 

I feel as if a furnace was lit, deep within my soul.  A fire that once ignited, it grows and grows until I can no longer contain it.  And then I explode.  I want to scream as loud as I possibly can and the inanimate objects around me are the focus of my fists.  Or my fist, I should say.  It’d be weird to use your left hand/jabbing hand in a match against a wall or a door… which both have been my recent ‘opponents’...both shouldn't have been.  
All of this anger is super embarrassing to me, well...after the fact of course.   In the midst of my fits of rage, I only see red (sometimes there is crimson and maybe a little maroon).  Regardless of the shade of red, once the color is seen - there is no turning back - just like there is no reasoning with an angry bull. 

Unfortunately, this isn't something new.  I’ve had a bad temper for as long as I can remember.   Actually, that’s not true.  It was only after puberty hit that I became the delicate, fuming psychopath that I am today :)      Good ‘ole puberty!  I wasn’t given acne, I was given anger
I remember one lovely day in high school, I was walking to class and I was pissed off at one stupid thing or another.  I had my arms crossed across my chest and this boy that I wasn’t particularly fond of threw a crumpled up, ball of paper at me.  Did I act like a normal person would and just ignore him?  Nope!  Not at all.  I grabbed the piece of paper, charged him while screaming at him at the top of my lungs.  I don’t recall what exactly I was saying (*ahem* yelling), but it was loud enough that it brought teachers out of their rooms and he was backed up against the locker.  I got to class and was completely furious.  The main problem wasn't how mad I was; the problem was that I didn’t know why I was mad.  I had to think hard about what just happened to cause this kind of emotional reaction.  I essentially blacked out from anger.  And...that wasn't the last time that would happen.  And that’s not cool. 

As we all know, anger is one of the five stages of grief.  Yay!  Let's go ahead and add intensified anger to an already irritable person (and, to top it off, I am close to my period right now = triple whammy!  Instant bitch!)   My poor husband...  Shuggy, I AM so sorry - I'm crazy, kookoo bananas!  I love you so much and you've been great through this whole ordeal thus far (and you were stellar through the whole cancer dealio, too).  You're a rock star honey cakes, don't you forget it.  I love you, Tony :)  <3

Here is what I am planning to do to stay out of the red/crimson/maroon :)
  • Groups.  Today I signed up with a bereavement group for young'ish people that are grieving - most of who lost one (or both) of their parents.  They meet once a month and sit around talking...not sure what about, but I can only assume they talk about how they cope with things, which I obviously need some guidance in.  I am SO glad I found this group because I really wanted to avoid any groups of anyone/older people talking about how sad it was when they were able to tell their older parent(s) good-bye because of an 'expected' death and they died peacefully in bed.  
  • Punching/Hitting.  I found this 'reflex' punching bag that has a pedestal base and when you hit it, it sways back at you so you have to block yourself.  I kind of love it (I had one similar growing up along with a 60lb punching bag. I obviously like hitting shit).  This one particular model, a woman reviewer said that she "can use this to rid of negative energy safely".  Whoah...I need this thing...like yesterday.  
  • YOGA.  I'd love to learn yoga, I plan on learning it because I know I need to do it.  Almost all of my doctors have told me to calm the F down (prior to my padre's passing).  Seriously, I've even had an eye doctor tell me that I needed to do yoga because my stress levels were causing my ulcerative colitis to flare, which in turn subsequently caused my eyeballs to swell.  Yes, I just wrote that - yes it happened - my colitis caused my fucking eyeballs to swell.     
  • Writing.  I will continue to write because it really does calm me down.  Writing gets these random thoughts out of my crazy head so that way I don't explode, implode or there is that little thing called spontaneous human combustion.  Maybe that's why I am always so damned hot??  
  • Laughing.  And last but not least, I'd like a sign that typically factories have that say "It's been  (however many) days since we've had an accident" - Although, I am going to make my sign and it will say "It's been (however many) days since Amber has punched furniture".  I'll post a photo of it when I make it.  I'm for reals.  I think it will be funny and also keep things in check for my silly ass brain/temper/fists of fury.

***UPDATE - this was NOT my 100th post!  Errr!  I was looking at my blogger account and it included all of the drafts that I have.  That being said, I have 88 posts and 12 drafts of ramblings that I did not see fit to be posted to the world.  My brain is mushy and angry, what can I say!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Two tough subjects

I originally started this blog to help get my crazy thoughts and emotions out of my head about cancer; about my Melanoma.  I never could have imagined that this silly blog would help me with thoughts about a new, different and even tougher subject: Death.  Death of our father...death of my dad.

So far, one of the hardest parts about all of this is grappling with the feelings that I wasn't worried when he was 'missing'.  My aunt was concerned and that's what made me concerned.  Auntie K reached out during the day and I reassured her that nothing was wrong...although when I got home that Monday evening, I just couldn't get dad off of my mind.  Almost a full fucking week, and I wasn't worried!?  Dad had been gone for 6 full days and I felt nothing; I was oblivious.  And that makes me feel really, really shitty.

No dreams.  No intuition.  No...nothing.

Dad did the same thing about a year ago - he took off to camp/fish/gold pan/whatever the hell he was doing and was gone for about 5 days without really telling anyone anything.  The obvious difference with this story is that he arrived back home, alive and well. So, I guess that's why I wasn't worried...he's done this before.  But that doesn't change the feeling of absolute, guilt - kind of like I let him down.  Now...I understand that knowing where he was wouldn't have prevented his accident by any means, but at least he wouldn't have been lying in a cold morgue as a fucking 'John Doe' for however many days.  And that makes me feel really, really shitty.

Another hard part is that I still don't feel like he's gone.  Maybe that's normal.  Maybe it's because we're taking someone else's word that the "body" they found was his?  They told us the finger prints matched, we have his truck, his keys, his wallet, his phone and last but not least, his ashes; but we never got to see "him".  We never got to see our dad's body.  Not that we necessarily wanted to see it given the circumstances of the circumstances (i.e. major head trauma, his upper body being in moving water for about 2 days and...well, he'd been 'gone' for 7 days at that point).  His body, our dad, wouldn't have looked anywhere close to the big, happy man that we knew and loved so well.

I guess in a way, there will forever be an opening in the closure that we all so desperately need.

Sometimes I get a short break in reality to see this fleeting glimmer of hope that he will show up somewhere, but I know that's never going to happen.  Then there are other times when I think that he can now go wherever his little heart desired.  He could be ghosting around a beautiful beach somewhere checking out chicks in teeny, tiny bikinis.  He could be ghosting around an amazing lake skipping rocks.  He could be ghosting around any river/creek with huge boulders and standing on the edge without a care in the world.  Regardless, I miss him :(

This is all totally new.  It's a terrible emotional roller coaster ride and we have just passed week two (since finding him).  Week two, people!?!  jesus, it seems like so much longer...and I have the rest of my life to go...   I just need to get used to, or at least sort of used to, the movements of this roller coaster and go with the flow because there's nothing that I can do to change it.

We love and miss you SO much, dad! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Part Two: No-Thanks-November

Wednesday morning my brother and his wife drove from Temecula to my mom’s house in Hawthorne and picked up the hubs and me.  The four of us drove out to Bakersfield to the coroner’s office, then to Lake Isabella to see “the rock” and lastly to snag dad’s truck. We essentially set out on the worst scavenger hunt on one of the worst driving days of the year: the day before Thanksgiving.

While driving we spent most of the time trying to figure out what the fuck happened?!  We were going through different possible scenarios, but nothing fit.  We just couldn't wrap our heads around (pun so-not intended) someone slipping off a goddamned rock and dying.  Who does that??  I mean, seriously….who does that?  We wrote down questions to ask when we finally arrived at the coroner's office, which finding it was a challenge in it’s own right.  I swear, this whole process has been a damn debacle…trying to do everything right and proper while dealing with these new feelings of 'what the fuck?’, anger and grief is completely...well, bizarre.

Stop #1: Kern County Sheriff’s/Coroner’s Office
This stop was first purely because of it’s location.  I was told that morning (and the night before) that dad and his belongings were at the Sheriff’s office in Lake Isabella, but after a call made while we were on the road confirmed that he and his belongings were at the office in Bakersfield, on the way to Lake Isabella.  *What an easy place to find in a lovely, clean, beautiful city! It must make grieving families feel less stressed; what a great experience! *Excuse my sarcasm, it’s way too easy for me…  

After arriving to the coroner's office, we're sitting in the waiting room and well, waiting on instructions on what to do next.  Within a few minutes an older gentleman walks in through the front door; he’s wearing a white, button down shirt and black slacks.  As soon as I see him walk in, I think ‘he looks like a mortician’ and then boom: I know what he’s there for.  He goes up to the bullet proof glass and tells the receptionist that he’s there to “pick up Glenn Davis”.  Here is this mortician to take “his” body...our dad’s body.  The same body that we've hugged and loved.  We all started crying because shit just got real.  Really real.  If this mortician guy, or we, would have arrived 15-20 minutes later or earlier, we probably wouldn't have had this encounter.  But maybe we all needed this?  To know this isn't a horribly, cruel joke, to know that this is in fact real life?  Regardless, it happened.  Regardless, it is real.

Stop #2: “The Rock” Around Mile Marker 23 off the 178 hwy
The next stop was the “spot”.  We stopped at a few places along the way and those areas just didn't make sense.  The river bed was too close, the rocks were relatively small…seeing them just made less and less sense, adding more and more to our question list.  We kept on looking close to the 23 mile marker….although it really was closer to the 24 mile, maybe mid-mile, I’m not sure, it's all still sort of a blur.  We then continued our mission and drove up on this HUGE rock ledge….HUGE.  It was a pull off and completely obvious once we saw it.  That was the spot.  That’s where “it” happened.

Arial shot - just to see how large it is.  There are two cars on the road, this can at least show some scale
This is where the majority of our questions were answered.  This wasn't just a rock...I don't even know what to compare it to other than an enormous boulder?  Probably an enormous boulder of granite that was carved out of the earth?  Some spots were smooth, most of it was shiny in the sun.  We saw why it was that our dad stopped...it was beautiful.  There was a slight decline to it and I know that I was waaay nervous walking on it.  The boys (Craig & Tony) were getting damn near up to the ledge which was scaring the hell out Kathy and me.

Craig & Tony scaring the hell out of Kathy and Me (and showing the divots in the boulder

Stop #3: Towing Place 
It was a shock, to say the least, that we needed to pay to get my dad’s truck out of impound (aka: a dirt filled lot that was absolutely, completely empty) when we just learned about his passing the day prior.  His truck had been there since Thursday the 20th, we were there picking it up on Wednesday the 26th - almost a week's worth of impound fees when we had no damn clue it was even there.

Once the hubs got into the driver's seat and I hopped into the passenger seat...I sort of lost it - the whole way home - I cried off and on.  I cried so much that the next day my forehead hurt.

I don’t know what is worse.  That I called them on a hunch and physically heard them confirm that this random body was my dad?  Or the fact that they didn't call to confirm that this random body was my dad.  They had his truck, his wallet, his fucking driver’s license.  Seriously, just call us and tell us that they have his truck!  If they didn't want to mention a body - then don’t!  We’re smart people, we’d be able to say “Well, that’s strange that you have his truck, he hasn't been home in a fucking week!“  At this point it’s obvious what is worse.  It’s the latter option of  the two.  I need someone to blame…and that’s fine with me because I am sure as hell not blaming our father.

To our fam - let's get our light shining bright - he'd want that!  I love you all!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Part One: No-thanks-November

The last couple of months I haven’t really put too much time, thought or effort into writing…anything.  Because of that, a few weeks ago I was thinking about writing something in the form of things that I am thankful for since I haven’t written in a while. My family and I will NEVER forget This Thanks Giving, this month of November of this year, 2014.

I almost don’t even know how to start this, but this was one of the first things on my mind this morning.  To write.  To get things off of my chest.  I’ve written a bunch of random sentences that don’t make sense even to me…so I deleted them.  My thoughts are scrambled.  I have so many feelings coursing through my body - some that I never hoped to feel in this magnitude: LOSS.

I’ve had a few family members die in the past, but they were old (sorry grandmas & grandpa - but you were).  They lived out their life and died in bed, where you’re supposed to. We all know death is certain; we know our days are numbered.  It’s weird to feel that someone definitely had more numbered days than the ones that he was given.   I guess there are no true rules in life or death.

My dad was “missing” for a few days.  Was this uncommon?  No, not really.  He’s done this before.  He would grab his fishing stuff, grab his gold panning stuff and go up to a river and hang there for a few days without telling basically anyone where he was going or when he was coming back.  And jeez, back in the pre-cell phone days, no one could get a hold of him for anything.  See, he’s always been an ‘on the move’ type of guy.  He put a camper on his truck and he’d just drive around - sleep where and when he wanted to, eat where and when he wanted to and shit where and when he wanted to.  I wouldn’t hear from him for months.  He’d miss his weekend to come get me and I’d sit by the window and wait for hours - the whole weekend even - only to get a letter a month later saying that he’s sorry he hasn’t talked to me.  Actually, come to think of it, almost all of the childhood letters that I have saved from him start off that way.

When my mom mentioned that he hadn’t been back by Friday of last week, I didn’t think anything of it.  It wasn’t until Monday that I received a message from my aunt, my dad’s sister.  She was concerned and then of course, that made me concerned.  I tried to reassure her that nothing is wrong, he’s just up in the mountains/river/lake, wherever he felt like going to get some fresh air.  That Monday night, I would think “what if something happened?” - then I would kick it out of my mind.  He’s a strong man, he’s a smart man and he’s a tough man - he could kill a bear with his hands.  Last part is a fib, but I know he‘d say “Damn right I could!” as he’d stand up tall and pump his chest out.

Tuesday morning while at work, on a hunch, I think that I’m just going to look for ‘incidences’ near Frazier Park.  Google kept on correcting it to ‘accidents’, but my gut was saying to look deeper into ‘incidences’.  On the Kern County Sheriff website, I see…umm….I see something that I will never forget: body of unidentified man found in Kern River.  I look further into this and based on the reports, they assume that he was a man out by himself.  My brain starts swirling around and all arrows are pointing to my dad.

I call my mom and mention this to her and she tells me not to worry, to not start going down this dark street in mind; my dad was fine and she’s sure he’ll be coming home any minute now.  I then call and mention this the hubs and he’s like “Babe, you NEED to call them!  Just ask them if they can tell you this man’s approximate age, his race even.  Shit if you don’t call them I will!”.  So, I do.  I call the coroner’s office.  I start off the call telling them this is completely weird that I am even calling, but my dad likes Kern County and I am wondering if they can answer some questions regarding ‘this body‘.  Part of me was thinking they would say “Oh, he’s a 30 year old, 5’6” Hispanic man”.  Phew!  Bullet dodged.  But, it didn’t work out that way.

I can hear the woman typing on her computer and to lessen the silent I am spitting out things about him:  “He’s an older man, about 68.  And he’s a big dude…like 6’ and about 250lbs on a good day”.  She then asks what his name is and I respond: Glenn Davis.  She sighs and says “Oh dear”.  Two words.  Six fucking letters.  “Oh dear” changed my life.  I start shaking, crying and repeating “Are you serious?  It’s him, isn’t it?  Are YOU serious?!“ She puts me on a brief hold and then pulls up more information.  I ask her to confirm his birth date…it’s right, it‘s his.  She says that they have his truck…it’s right, it’s his.  I ask if we need to come down to identify him.  She mentions that he had extensive head trauma; it appears he slipped off of a rock and basically landed on his head.  This unidentified body was a man that was full of life.

I get off the phone and go into my boss’s office and pretty hysterically yell out that I need to go home, my dad is dead and they’ve found his body.  My dad is dead.  It feels so weird typing that.  I can barely think it, I can barely say it, but my fingers are capable of writing it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shutting the door on cancer

Sometimes I think to myself that I need to shut Cancer out of my life.  Just close the door, lock that shit up and walk away (preferably with a bomb going off in the background...OH - and in a slow-mo sequence!)  Besides the bomb idea, I really enjoy the thought of it slowly wasting away to nothing in a dark box/closet/cellar/basement/dungeon that I'd never return to.  

I hate thinking this and I hate typing it even more: I worry about it coming to get me ALL the time.  It breaks free from this box/closet/cellar/basement/dungeon and sneaks up and....it gets me.  This is a nightmare of mine.  This worry/nightmare gets much, MUCH worse when I have a health 'scare'.  For example, the first would be the large lymph node that popped up on my neck last year and the most recent scare with the mass/lipoma on my back last month.  These ‘scares’ severely fuck with my mental state and are absolutely overwhelming, in every sense of the word.  It takes me entirely way too long to bounce back to what is now my new “normal”.

As I’ve mentioned before, my body doesn't handle stress well.   Not at all!  Stress is a loud bitch.  Stress screams and wakes up my ulcerative colitis, during it’s well deserved nap time, and 'it' becomes a full blown brat ('IT' meaning: ulcerative colitis - which now may be known simply as U.C.).  Then it takes me weeks for the side effects from U.C. to go away.  My belly hurts - stomach AND intestines alike - my joints ache and we can't forget that I also get ulcers in my mouth.  Right now it hurts to talk and to eat – I just want to cry (again).   I am mentally and physically drained.   But my fingers don't hurt...that's why I am typing...

Due to my stage, statistically I have a 8% chance of dying within 5 years and a 14% chance of dying within 10…  and I’ve been “fine” for almost 2 years.  SO, why the hell am I freaking out?


I read stories daily of other people’s lives – their journeys, their family’s journeys – and then more importantly their deaths.  That’s why I freak out.  Plain and simple - that is exactly why I lose sleep, why I worry...  I understand it is ‘their’ stories, ‘their’ lives, ‘their’ reality – but the unfortunate fact is that we all share a common denominator: Melanoma.  Regardless of stage, Melanoma is the link that connects all of our stories into one, horrible, truth.   

I decided to do something today in hopes of helping (me).  As much as I hated doing it, I cancelled all of the notifications that I receive from this particular Melanoma group I am a part of on Facebook.  I see several postings a day and it’s just too heartbreaking.  I see one posting and then I get sucked in and I will continue to read comments and so forth.  I realized that I am in a constant state of sadness for other people and a constant state of worry for me.  That’s not a way to live – it’s not healthy by any means.   I didn’t have the courage to fully remove myself from the group because I have grown fond of several of the members, but I had to do what needed to be done.  I am too vulnerable at the moment; can’t see that stuff every single day.  Shit just got real!  So, I turned to avoidance like I do with other issues in my life - you know, since that's been working out so amazingly. 

In other news I have been itching to get another tattoo!  Haven't figured it out yet, but since I am impulsive with tattoos, I may never figure out what I truly want.  

See how I just changed the topic?  I'm so slick.   Avoidance and comedy kids...it's what's hip!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I wished for fat and that's what I got!

Finally, I received a call from the surgery office yesterday with the results - after calling/messaging them twice - the mass was just a lipoma!  Thank you, baby Jesus!!  You heard my wishes of "please, just let IT be fat - let IT be a lipoma".  Although, now thinking of it, you did conveniently ignore my wishes when I was little of "please, let me be a 36c" - but whatever, we're all good now, I'll call us even.  Wait a second, I see what you did there...you were trying to hook me up, but just accidentally put the fat on the wrong side of my body.  Oh, Universe, you're SO hilarious!!

But seriously, man.  This surgery center sure knew how to keep the suspense rolling like a M. Night Shyamalan movie!   I had the surgery on Thursday, September 25th.  A week goes by with no answer = suspense, level 1.  I messaged them the following Friday around noon or so.  The neat thing with Kaiser's online system is you can send emails with pictures to your doctor(s) and they will respond.  The even neater thing is you can see if they've opened/read your messages.  At 3pm on Friday, I see that my message was opened and read = suspense, level 2.  By Friday at 5pm with no response = suspense, level 2.5.

I go on about my weekend, rarely thinking about it.  O-kay fine, I might have thought about it a LOT!  So, what...  I would have my moments without thinking of it, but then I'd backtrack and wonder why they wouldn't just respond with a quick "no, they aren't in yet" or even "we had to send them off to another department"; the latter would have sent me reeling, but at least it would have been a response.  The dude knew how freaked out I was since I mentioned it to him at least three times.  I obviously didn't make much of an impression...

Monday rolls around and still nothing = suspense, level 4.  I end up having a minor freak out in the bathroom Monday night.  Of course, all of this thinking (*cough* WORRYING) made my belly also freak out.  My belly is such a good friend; it didn't want to leave my mind freaking out all by itself.  I mentioned to my dad that my stomach is making noises that I thought only dinosaurs made.  I hate ulcerative colitis...not as much as I hate Melanoma...but there is absolute, valid hatred there.

My belly is so jacked up that Tuesday I need to call in.  I was up almost all night in pain.  I wrote the guys at the office and told them that I'm not sure if I have "the bug" or whatever because someone had it earlier on in the week.  I'd force some soup in me and then come in after - but, my butt had other plans.  The soup backfired...literally (thanks, ulcerative colitis).  I laid around with no energy (thanks, ulcerative colitis) during the in-between times when I am not in the bathroom (thanks, ulcerative colitis!).  I decide that I am going to call Kaiser and ask them what's up so I don't have to deal with this shit anymore.  As I am on the phone with a nurse in the surgery center, she tells that the results from the surgery are in, but she needs to review them with the doctor.  Suspense...maxed the fuck out, level 5!

Then the call.  I am on the phone with the hubs and I tell him I need to go, Kaiser is calling.  Inhale...  "Hi, this is Amber".  Exhale....

It was a lipoma!!!  A stupid piece of fat...on my back....that decided to grow there and mess with my head for a full month (well, technically over a month after 'the discovery').  I told her thank you.  Thank you for calling me back....and thank you for allowing me to finally get some well needed sleep.  I slept solid from about 8pm until 5:45am.

Now the game plan is getting mentally back on track.  It took me a long time to get to where I was before this stupid ass piece of fat decided to fuck my world up.  So crazy how something so seemingly small can impact you in such a large way.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Today was the first day that I was able to walk around without a bandage on my new addition....the name is SCARlet.  Get it??  Because there is SCAR in it??  I amuse myself.  But for reals, I haven't really named my scars before - but I might start.  It's never to late to try something new, right??

Anywho - this morning I was awake at 3:15 - exhausted - but wide awake.  I toss and turn, not able to find another comfortable spot because as most of us know, when there has been a surgery on your back, it's a little difficult to get comfy.  It's not quite as bad as the wide excision, not only because the lymph node biopsy in my pitter was crazy sore, but also because they took quite a large chunk of skin off my back and sewed me up REALLY tight.  This one is a little different, however essentially the same.  I was sliced down to muscle, yanked on, fat removed - still sore.

This morning, delirious from the Tylenol PM wearing off, I started thinking of stories I might say to someone if asked what my scars are from.  Seeing that I have a stellar personality, my mind pondered through so, so many options.

  • "I was at a Kangaroo sanctuary and Momma Roo was upset that baby Joey took a liking to me.  She kicked my ass....I mean, my back."
  • "I go to Sturgis every year, riding my hog with no helmet.  I got into a knife fight.  You should totally see the other 5 men, waaaaay worse off than me."
  • "I worked at the Post Office and it was a terrible, terrible letter opening incident - we don't speak of this anymore."  
  • "You know those beds of nails?  Well, someone thought it'd be hilarious to literally pull my leg.  It wasn't funny."
  • "I was born half angel.  My right wing never sprouted"
  • "Horses are assholes!" (and just leave it at that and walk away)
  • "I used to para-glide....until I ran into the side of Mt. Everest.  The everest is history"
  • And the hubs' contribution: "My mother was stabbed in the belly while I was in the womb" <- I just had to add this one because it's too weird not to.  
But of course, none of those stories (*cough* LIES) will ever be muttered.  I will always be compelled to tell my/our story.  I'm like the honey badger, I don't care.  If they ask, then they can deal with the repercussions of the truth - however uncomfortable it may make the other person.

Saturday: 09/27 - right after the dressing from surgery was allowed to be removed.  Still pretty swollen, even though I had been laying on ice packs for two days.

Sunday: 09/28 - swelling looks better, bruising is a little yellow now.  And I think I might be more allergic to sticky things than I initially assumed??  Everything said latex free...but jeez, man!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The fat's in the wrong spot, Dr....

Well folks, I had a nice surprise today at the doctor's office.  As I mentioned, I was anticipating a discussion of options about the lump on my back.  Maybe a scan, maybe a biopsy - I wasn't anticipating the....dun.dun.duuuuun:  Surgery.  Removal.  Complete excision.  Not today, I was expecting it a week or two down the line.

Me and the hubs walk into the room and there is a fully dressed surgery table, the light is already on - surgery tools standing by on deck waiting to be put in the game.  I said to the nurse "wait a second, THIS is happening today - right now?"  She giggled and confirmed.  I sat down and turned to the hubs and mentioned that at least I wont have to freak out for another week or two until the actual date comes around.

I throw on my luxurious gown, which was WAY nicer than the last (big) surgery one that was paper and lined with plastic.  Of course, it's a photo op.  It's always a photo op with me and the hubs.  Yesterday we tried out this new sammy place (Firehouse Subs) and he got a kiddo meal and they give you this little, teeny plastic fireman's hat - to which I wore for unknown reasons.  What happens - he whips out his....phone and takes pictures.

Anyways - Dr. walks in and is like "Um, I'm not sure why you're here - your pathology report from Nurse Moreno just shows a standard Nevi".  Nevi is 'mole' in Dr. talk.  I had a mole removed from my left underboob that was ugly and depending on my bra would sometimes get clipped - I wanted it gone.  Literally like 5 days later is when the hubs found the lump on my back.  So, I explained that's SO not the reason why I was there and arched my back - the hubs quickly moving my my luxurious gown out of the way and pointing out the lump.  I should have named that bastard ....hmmm..... Quasimodo - I LOVE IT!!  That's suiting, yes??

Dr. begins examining Quasi - pushing him around and says that he thinks it's just a lipoma and I agree, but given my history and since I have been freaking out - I just want Quasi off my back.  He said "Well, you know - it's small and we could just watch and wait".  I am not of the 'watch and wait' mentality anymore.  I told him that I am more self conscious of the lump than my scar - I like my scar - I wear it as a badge of honor.  This lump is mucking my badge up...get that shit off of me!  Dr. mentions that he's in Club Melanoma, too, and completely understands why I am there and why I want it out/off of me.  His was caught super early, on his scalp he had a divot - about the size of a quarter.  That was it, that was all that was needed.  I'm glad I had a club member working on me.

So, we're off to the races.  He numbs me up and we get going.  I have never been awake, other than the skin/mole biopsies, while someone is cutting into me.  Oh,  My.  God.  SO fucking weird....Sooooo fucking weird.  Quasi was basically stuck to my muscle.  He loooooved it there.  The Dr. was tugging on Quasi and he did NOT want to let go.  I can't describe it.  You're numbed it, but you can feel an internal tug - then he started cutting and I could feel that.  More numbing stuff - numb me the fuck up - this is weird...

We're talking while he's evicting Quasi which is nice....weird, but calming.  I am trembling and sweating - just because it's such a bizarre experience.  I mention to the Dr. that the other day I was on the Melanoma Research Foundation's website looking for a support group in O.C. because I've been freaking out that much and the first person's bio that I read is someone that had an identical situation - someone with a history of Melanoma and two years later they had a lump near their scar - to which the Dr's thought it was a lipoma.  It was removed and it was that asshole Melanoma in disguise.  I told him that it shot me WAY deep to the dark side and I've been a mess since.   He reassured me that he sees nothing weird in Quasi.  Quasi is just a lipoma....but will be sent to pathology just in case.

We finish up - I get dressed and I ask the nurse if it's o-kay that I take a picture of the bloody instruments used.  "Go for it!  Do you want to take a picture of the lipoma, too?"

Heck yes I do!  Tony took a gnarly one, I wont share it here because seriously, it's gross.  And that's coming from me - I love gross shit - his photo is disgusting.  

And this is my back at the moment.  I can't take off this gauze covered in plastic tape until Saturday.  The Dr. put up his fingers and gauged out about 2-3 inches.  I laughed and said "That's child's play!" - kidding, I said that the bikers are going to think I am SO awesome (true story, I had a biker tell me at the store a few weeks ago "Awesome scar!" - I replied: "Thanks!  Cancer!").  
Dr. mentioned that my muscle was still a little 'thick' - not sure what the hell that means, but at least it's chubby buddy is GONZO!  I am stoked.  I will love my new pirate pizzazz.  And I will try not to worry about the results - I get them in about a week.  

Good thoughts that Quasi was just a lipoma.  Repeat - Quasi was just a lipoma.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't Worry, Be Happy

With tomorrow's appointment looming on the horizon, today has been a touch rough.  There is a website that I check out when need a giggle and one of the several collages containing several pictures that they frequently post is called "Don't Worry, Be Happy".  It's all inspirational type images - of course, I clicked - as today I need that today.  Badly.

Here are a couple of the pictures that were shared and in a small moment in time, I felt like these were put there just for me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

It is what it is

You know, I just recently realized that I take for granted the good days that I have.  They can sometimes last a week...a month or longer and I completely take them for granted.  I am going to squeal like a little school girl the day that they return.

This stupid g-damn lump on my back threw me for a fucking tailspin.  I am sure that it's nothing - I am actually almost 98% positive that it's a lipoma - but it's the other 2% that thinks it's larger, bigger and more important than the 98%.  That measly 2% is a bully...and I wish I could kick it's teeth in.  "Bite the curb you stupid, little 2% piece of shit!" ~ that's what I wish the other 98% would say....but it's not.

So, Moody McBunzy has returned fully.  I'm sure some of you have read in previous posts that the hubs calls me "Bunzer" or "Bunzy" - it's my nickname - along with "Hams" and "Lovebird".  The first three are because of my white-girl ghetto booty.  The last nickname is because, in all honestly, I can be adorably sweet...during the good days.  Definitely not during the bad days.  Bad days mean that I shrink into a hole - a non-communicative hole.  I've cried the last two nights.  Probably because I'm not sleeping, that clearly doesn't help matters at all.

I used to only go to the doctor when I was bleeding from places that I shouldn't be bleeding from.  Literally - or unless I was coughing up green crap for longer than a week.  That was it!  Now, EVERYTHING from random joint pain, random headaches, random bruising, random lumps and bumps and random other pain (such as currently my right outer ear which is totally bizarre) is a potential doctor's appointment for the very near future.  Not to mention whenever one of the aforementioned idiocies happen what is the first thing in my mind?  Melanoma.  Is that a way to live??  No - no, it's not.  Is that now what is known as my life??  Yes - yes, it is.  And it fucking sucks.

I was telling the hubs the other night that this is all SO weird for me.  It's been a year and half and Cancer is not good for someone that doesn't deal well with emotions.  The only emotions that I know are happiness and anger - I work with them just fine - two ends of the spectrum keeping everything balanced.  Toss fear into the mix and it throws everything off balance.  It's fucking stupid!!  See, there I go, trying to turn the fear into anger...trying to turn it into something that I can understand.  All anger and no fear make Bunzy a weird girl.  That 'Shinning' quote re-make doesn't really work, does it?

I'm not writing this to complain...just venting...which I guess are the same thing, but whatever - I'm venting.  I know things can always be worse.  I know that I need to look ahead for better days.  I'm just tired and needed this off of my chest (ahem, back).  My doctor's appointment with new Dr. Surgeon is coming up next week - next Thursday to be exact.  I am SO anxious.  I am anticipating the lack of sleep not getting any better until then...but, it is what it is.  Right?  Right.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Another not lovely lady lump...

So…I haven’t written in a while and realized that’s because everything is peachy.  Everything really has been just super and awesome.  But, now I have something to write about.  It’s not super and it’s definitely not awesome.

Last weekend the hubs and I went over to his mom’s house and she was showing us her xbox Kinects, which I totally want now.  It basically SEEs you – it really watches your movements so you get accurate, real time game playing (insert government conspiracy theory here).  Anyways, we played ‘Fruit Ninja’ and you use your arms (and also legs like I was trying to do) and judo-chop your way through the game.  Seeing that I don’t use my judo chopping abilities on a day-to-day basis, I was SO sore the next day. 

The hubs, being the amazing hubs that he is, asked if I wanted a back rub which lately I've been declining these offers because they just don’t feel good anymore over my back because of my scar area.  However, with the soreness adding up, I agreed.  As he is rubbing my back, he exclaims “Jeez honey, you have a HUGE lump on your back”.  He’s rubbing over it and I am able to contort myself enough to feel it, it’s not a knot.  It’s a lump.  A large lump. 

I don’t think really anything of it for the rest of the day, but after getting out of the shower that night I decided to have a peek.  I didn't see anything upon the initial review, then I arched my back and gasped when I saw it because I wasn't expecting it to be that large.  I took a picture of it this morning and I emailed it to the two doctors that I've seen at Kaiser (general doc & dermatologist).  I am getting SUPER antsy. 

It's not hard, it doesn't hurt and it's about an inch under the bottom of my scar (on the left side of my body).  No clue how long it's been there.  Is this common?  Yes and no.  Yes because it could be a Lipoma, which is just a collection of fatty tissue and totally benign. Although, Melanoma likes to mimic Lipomas...and they can be mimicked close to your primary melanoma (hence my concern).  Some people can get a local recurrence because basically that's where the cancer cells know where to go, they've already hung out there before.  

Another concern, because it's near my spine, is the last 2 months I've had sciatic pain that I've never had before.  Sometimes it's so strong that I have to stop walking and just stand there like a weirdo.  Also, my left leg tends to fall asleep more than I can remember it doing before, too.  Other than that, I haven't had any other issues with it - except for last night, but that's just because I was aware of it.

Trying not to panic....  Trying to remain calm until Kaiser calls me back.  Trying to keep good thoughts.  So, since I am trying to keep good thoughts - keep good thoughts for me, yes?  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Awareness & Ignorance

I was sitting on the couch with the hubs the other night and the baby blog was brought up and it dawned on me that I hadn't written in a while.  He points to his forehead and exclaims "I bet you have tons of stories a-brewin' up there".  I look down and realize that I don't.  The reason?  I'm good.  I guess the times when my fingers have things to say is when I'm worried...  But, things have been good over the last couple of months.

Then something happened.  I'm sure a lot of us Mel-a-land are fully aware.

The mother-effing G-Damn Surgeon General announced that tanning is (*gasp*) BAD FOR YOU!!!  Whaaaa?  The very first sentence from CNN's article (click here) states:
"Skin cancer is on the rise, according to the American Cancer Society, with more cases diagnosed annually than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer cases combined."

Now, of course that 'figure' they are coming up with is not just Melanoma.  That includes ALL of the lovely forms of it with the three head honchos of the skin Cancer world are Basal Cell, Squamous Cell and creepy Melanoma.

I posted something to my Facebook page about it and step-son D commented saying something along the lines of 'people are just getting this?'  Yes, D, people are stupid.  Stupid, dummy mono...stupid, dummy mono!  *Little tid-bit of Amber Info: whenever I heard the word 'stupid', I sing "Stupid, Dummy Mono, Stupid, Dummy mono" in my head.  Mono = monkey in Spanish.  Don't ask.  O-kay, FINE - you can ask!!  These boys I went to school with in middle school would sing that song if someone did something stupid...like, you know trip or say something dumb.  You wished I didn't tell you, huh?  Yeah me too....me, too.

Anyways - lets move on shall we?

The stupidity...ermmh....ignorance of people reminds me of a little situation that happened with the hubs a bit ago.  A co-coworker mentioned that his wife had gone through breast cancer...or he was going to be taking care of his brother that had Cancer - maybe both, not sure.  The hubs, having something to talk about himself, mentioned me and our story.  The dude sat there with a blank look on his face. The hubs asked "Do you know what Melanoma is??".  The dude straight up said "Yeah, skin cancer?  Not really the same!" and then threw in an eye-roll for good measure.  What a dick!

All in all, I am so very happy the media is involved.  We alone are loud, but not all people listen.  We needed this Surgeon General announcement.  It only took them years and years, but hey - we'll take what we can get!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hallucinating hallucinations

As most of you know, I've got a touch of insomnia that gets worse when my period looms on the horizon.  With that being said, I will be starting sometime in the next week, give or take a day or two.  Last night was a dreadful night's sleep.  I've come the realization that I get about 2.5 weeks of good, solid, sometimes 7-8 hours of sleep a night...per month.  Then the remainder of the month is spent either me angrily rolling around unable to get comfortable or simply angrily lying there unable to get back to sleep.

This morning was one of those days.  Bummer.  Total bummer - I hate these weeks of the month.

I tossed and turned from about 2:something until I got out of bed at 5:30.  I was laying on the couch, TV turned on with it's sole purpose of background noise while I play a game on my phone.  My concentration was broken by the sound of the hubs getting out of bed.  He's a heavy walker. Bedroom door opens and he mutters "'Morning, hun."  I sleepily respond with a single "hi".  Minutes pass and I realize that he's either being super quiet or I hallucinated the whole damn thing.  This wouldn't be the first time that I've hallucinated a person.  Yes, I just said that; those two words were just in the same sentence: hallucinated + person = scary.  First time ever was last month in May.  Shall we explore the depths of obscurity also known as my crazy dome?  Let's proceed:
  1. A little more than 6 weeks ago, the hubs and I spent the night at my mom's house so we wouldn't have to wake up so bloody early to head out to the Melanoma walk.  I had a terrible night's sleep. I was bouncing from the couch, to the recliner, to the love seat, squishing in next to Tony then finally back to the recliner where I tried to finish off the remaining hours of night.  Around 5:00am, I was woken up by (what I thought was) my dad nudging the chair I was sleeping in and then he continued walking down the hall to the computer room.  He didn't look back, just kept on walking.  I was stunned and almost blurted out "What the fuck, dad!?" but I didn't want to wake Tony, or anyone else for that matter, with my grumpy morning voice.  I sat and stared into the computer room, confused at what just happened...then I heard him in bed, in his room, that is not near the computer room.  I later asked my mom if she had went to the bathroom around that time and she confirmed - but it's not like my parents look at all similar.  She's a woman; he's a man. It was his walk, he was wearing the same thing he went to sleep in and he sort of dissipated once in the computer room.  Weird.  I know.
  2. About two weeks ago I was asleep on the couch.  This is a nightly event - I get in my little nook on the chaise part of the couch and typically within 20 minutes in a reclined position, I will be passed the hell out.  I was woken up by the couch moving; it's (what I thought was) the hubs getting up to go to the bathroom.  I open my eyes ever so slightly and I see him zombie-walk into the den towards a bathroom and I swear I hear the sound of the toilet lid.  I stay awake because I know when he is done, he will let me know it's 'bed-time' and then we will both zombie walk to bed.  Though, it sounds as if he's fallen asleep in there!  I can hear heaving breathing coming from the den/bathroom.  I start to get up to go find out what the heck he's doing and as I position my body to get off of the couch, I am startled to see him fast asleep lying next to me.  
And then comes this morning that sent me in a whirlwind panic.  I realized that I didn't hear the toilet flush from the hubs going to the bathroom, I looked up and saw the bedroom door shut.  I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that this time I was awake; I couldn't brush this off as being in la-la-land between dreaming and drowsy.  I started thinking that I am losing my mind - I saw my husband, he talked to me and I answered back!  All while he was actually in bed asleep!!  Holy shit!  Envisions of padded room and dirty hair fills my mind.

Then, I went to the dark side and immediately thought I've got a major tumor in my brain that is causing hallucinations.  Luckily - the logical side of my crazy brain jumped in.  'Um....Amber, why don't you just ask hubs if he was awake?'  Good idea, logic!  And he confirmed, he got up to go pee and then went back to bed.  I was too tired from not sleeping and too focused on my silly candy crush game to realize that the toilet had flushed and he went right on back to bed.  

I'm fine with two dream-like hallucinations, that's a 'couple of hallucinations'.  Three would definitely push it over the edge into a 'few hallucinations'.  Even as of right now, that has been the best part of my day - knowing that I am not completely crazy.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's kismet, I tell ya!

Today started out just like (almost) any other other Sunday.  I woke up unusually early...which is always SUPER fun!  Although, waking up at 2:45am because you are blistering hot is not fun!  I got out of bed after an hour lying there, wide awake, only to to be greeted by incessant 'clicking' noises in our walls that our G-damn apartment can't figure out how to fix after years of us living here!  Anyways...

The hubs and I ran our usual Sunday errands and stopped by a phone store to help the hubs out with a storage issue on his cell.  I sat in the car for a little bit finishing my 'candy crush' game (that I am TOTALLY addicted to, by the way), though it started getting a touch hot with the windows rolled up so I took off for an air-conditioned shelter.

My eyes, drawn to my silly phone, playing my silly game, were immediately fixated on one man.  I tried to not make it obvious as I am sure he's been getting stared at lately.  I know the feeling (except with my back turned).  You can always feel someone looking at you, even in an extremely dark room.  He had recent surgery done on his right cheek near his nose.  Still swollen.  Still purplish.  Still, I'm sure, very painful.  He had been diagnosed with Melanoma three weeks prior.

This is where it gets weird...at least to me:  

As I was walking to kitchen from the living room, I glanced at myself in a mirror and it dawned on me (I think I subconsciously expected this), I am wearing my "Fuck Cancer" shirt!!  Whoah, I know, trip out on that shit!!  Or should I say: trip out on that SHIRT??  But seriously, isn't that sort of kismet?  A chance encounter?  Fate?  I met someone in passing with my cancer, while wearing my cancer shirt?

O-kay, o-kay...I agree it might be a little far fetched, but I don't wear this shirt often.  The last time I wore this was on the Melanoma walk in May.  Prior to that...??  I don't know, it might have been...jesus, I don't know - maybe when it was lying on me prior to "the" surgery (almost 1.5 years ago) for a photo op?

In any sense, cancer shirt or no cancer shirt, I still ran into another Club Melanoma Member - a recent one at that.  Maybe I wore it because I...I don't know...    It happened for a reason, that's all I can say.  I gave him my business card and asked him to look me up on Facebook so I can add him to BAMW.  For those of you that don't know, it's a group on Facebook called: Bad Ass Melanoma Warriors - we're close to 800 members, if not more.  If you're in the 'Club' and want to be involved in BAMW, let me know and we'll get ya' set up.

Ohhhh....I do hope he contacts me...I want him to know that he's not alone.  We have a roar and we have an unfortunate new member to add to the roar, but the roar is still there and it's getting louder.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Missing Melanoma May

The month of May has officially ended...o-kay, fine - it 'officially ended' 10 days ago.  Kind of sad that now I don't have the additional excuse to bug loved ones about Melanoma.  So weird that half of the year is almost over.  Good lord time flies!  This is what I have accomplished - or at least tried to accomplish during the month of May.
  • I emailed the Angels baseball team and asked them to put something together like the Cardinals did (as shown in the below photo).  I went to the Angels' website and emailed the only email that I was able to find.  I explained that I felt that the entire MLB should follow suit pushing awareness due to the amount of time that the players, managers, field team and of course us fans spend in the sun.  And you know what?  I actually got a response on the same day!  Was it one that wanted?  Welllll......yes and no.  Yes - because I wanted ANY response and No - he forwarded it on to another person and I haven't heard anything else from it.  Boo!  Oh well, I've saved that email and I will start bugging them prior to next season so they can cut out a night game dedicated to Melanoma and hopefully hand over a percentage of proceeds to well deserved research.

  • I emailed one of my favorite websites (theBerry.com) after they posted a collage of photos...sunburn photos.  I couldn't stay silent after the sunburns, especially since it was during Melanoma May.  They have a daily collage of motivation stuff geared towards working out and I asked them to put something up geared towards NOT getting sunburns since so many young women are diagnosed.  No response.  Maybe I shouldn't have rocked down to depressing avenue in the email.  Oh well! 
  • The hubs and I did our first walk!  I am embarrassed to say that I was sore for two days after.  Hey - I don't really exercise, but it made me feel like I should.  Baby steps in the right direction, right?  Next year will be much bigger and I will actually fundraise and ask people to come along! 
  • Every Monday at work I send out a motivating email to the office.  Kind of like a 'get your head out the cloud called Monday and look towards the bright sun called success' sort of email.  I changed it up to a Motivational Melanoma Monday email and I helped some of my office family learn some stuff about the asshole more commonly known as The Beast.  I also sent out my biopsy video which is terribly embarrassing to me. 
So, all in all, this May was a success!  Looking forward to next year :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Real life scary stories...

The scariest threat in movies for me is always an unseen one.  Even sometimes that threat takes on a human form, though there is one much, MUCH scarier!  His name: Cancer.   His cover: Your body!

So, I had this "idea" (which turned out to be not so good) of compiling other people's scary stories and send them to the medical commissioner, to the senator...to the damn president - anyone that would listen.  My thought process was to send them to people to understand that lower staged peeps need to also have additional testing, such as an annual scan.  I thought that might help out, or at least be a nice well thought-out step in the right direction.

I got the response that I wanted, but not that I anticipated.  What I know is Melanoma is an asshole.  What I realized is this annual scan wouldn't technically help out because of the fact that Melanoma is such an asshole.  The scan might help us, mentally - but not physically.  Melanoma is such a creep that it almost knows when you have a scan and then invites itself in afterwards when you're not anticipating him.

That kind of bummed me out because I got such joy purely just from thinking about it....thinking that we can take a bigger stand.  I was hoping that it might light a fire under someone's ass to work harder for us.  But the fact of the matter is people ARE working hard for us. New progress is being made on what seems like a monthly basis for Melanoma - even though it's still one of the most misunderstood cancers out there. Even with knowing that, I still wouldn't mind sending up some letters to 'someone'.  Still not sure who.  Still not sure what effect it would make. It may fall on deaf ears, but what I do know is that it would make me feel good for at least trying.  So, I've decided that I am tip-toeing forward.  I'm still working on this and I really appreciate all of the responses that I received - I will share my letter(s) on the blog when I am done.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Scary Stories

I’m sure that most of you (that aren't my family/friends in flesh) see a lot of the same things that I see on social media.  We are friends with the same people on Facebook.  We've liked the same pages and blogs.  Sometimes we write about the same things.  And, sometimes we write about what other people wrote about.  And that’s exactly what I’m about to do. 

 I read a posting on Facebook from someone that is an early stage'r and she wishes that she had more availability to scans just like our fellow further staged warriors.  I think all of us under Stage 2 (even some at Stage 2) wish that there was additional testing other than an annual blood test and chest x-ray.  And that's if we’re lucky.  It’s a concern to everyone diagnosed with cancer...of any kind.  It’s an unseen threat and if it’s growing and gaining strength in the shadows, we want that motion-sensor flood light turned on full blast to expose that bastard. 

And it’s all too common of a scary story that you read online.  Someone is a stage zero, one or two and then after however long the cancer is “back” and spread… severely.  Sometimes I have to force myself to stop reading these 'scary stories' (for lack of a better term) - blogs - which is the very same thing that I do to cope in my own way.  It’s a terrible thing, you mentally put yourself in their shoes and start going down the ‘what-if’ spiral.  I try to remind myself that their story is just that: theirs.  Just like my story is mine.  Everybody is different as is everybody's body is different.   

The truth is that we will never know if the beast is far away, completely uninterested in us or if he’s right on our heels breathing down our necks.  We, regardless of stage, never want to find out that the damn thing has sunk its teeth in.  And I am sure that if that ever happens we would have wanted to know if we could have somehow caught it earlier.

The other morning I had this epiphany, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that has had the same exact one:  What if we work together, get everyone's 'scary stories' together and send them to whoever they need to go to? 

Yes, this I understand this is pretty damn vague.  But remember, this is a very early sketch with hopes of becoming a masterpiece, so excuse me if I seem a little ahead of myself.  I guess the idea really is gathering scary stories of lower staged warriors that became later staged warriors.  Then from there, send these up to...I don't know...the medical board?  The Senator?  The g-damn President of the United States??  Someone that would listen and possibly understand that even though it was "caught early" it can still come back because that is the asshole known as Melanoma?  Someone that would listen and possibly understand that we could use other testing - if not only for our health, but also for our mental well-being.   

I don't even know how to start this or where to take it, but I had to get my thought out in the open.  When I think about it, my heart flutters a little bit with excitement...excitement to be part of a potential movement.  I want to help others that are new to this sad and frustrating disease and also ones that know it well. Let's continue our ROAR!  

*Disclaimer:  In NO way am saying "scary stories" as a meaning of disrespect.  I know I am talking about other's lives here - I understand they are not just merely 'stories' - I have the utmost respect for anyone battling any cancer.  

Peace and Love ~ Am

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Melanoma Walk @ Universal Studios

The hubs and I attended our first Melanoma walk!  It was amazing. It was weird seeing SO many people that were there for the same reason.  The same reason....Melanoma!  It was much more than I anticipated.  I anticipated exercise.  I anticipated seeing the back lots of Universal Studios.  I didn't anticipate the sunburn or...lack thereof.

Everyone was slathered in sunblock.  Duh, right?  At a Melanoma Walk...it's obvious.  But there was one guy that was super tan, terrible tattoos, muscular and good looking.  I whispered to the Hubs that no girl here associated with Melanoma is going to be interested in him - since he's so tan; that he looks silly since he's tan at a fucking SKIN cancer walk/run!!  Seriously!!

Anyways, I actually felt weird telling peeps they were awesome for the sunblock (as I normally do).  I realized that EVERYONE was wearing sunblock.  Every turn, I saw pasty peeps (besides the random uber-tan-muscular-dude).  Pasty to me isn't a bad thing - Pasty to me is now a beautiful lifestyle.

Me and the Hubs super ready to start the walk
So, the race began and the hubs and I were jogging and we felt like we needed to because we were in the first....four rows or so of people...  I kept on telling the hubs that we needed to move out of the way of everyone that was serious - but they did that on their own.  

Next year will be different, we WILL prepare for it.  We just thought that it would be a walk...like you're walking around whatever.  This was different.  Within the first 10-15 minutes we were seeing guys blazing right around past us on their way to their 2nd-3rd mile.  It was amazing...these guys were red in the face and just going for it.  It was refreshing...to me...though probably not so their side.

Universal Studios has changed so much since the last time I've been there.  Although, there were parts that we went that a normal tram would not.  I'm so glad, so thankful that we were included in this.  Last night, the very first bad dream that I had (at my madre's house) was that we ALL missed every alarm that set and we woke up at 7:15.   Weird thing, that's about the same time we got there.  

Finally, all downhill!

After the race.  The hubs and I made it through the back lots and just made it under 50 minutes for three miles.  It was amazing...for us, it was amazing.  

Support Melanoma any way that you can.  The BEST way that you can is by wearing your sun block.  Just do it, it'll be the best thing that you do ALL day!  

<3  Amber ~ aka Holy Moly Melanomy

**Most of you have already seen the pictures included by way of Facebook.  If you haven't, be my friend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scar Tissue

The other night I was sitting on the couch with my left arm bent high behind my head, my ring finger running over the top of my scar.  I was doing it almost subconsciously - not that I do that a lot. I wasn't thinking about Melanoma.  I wasn't thinking about the scar; I was just ever so slightly touching it.  For some reason, in that moment I was completely comforted.

Scar tissue is strange, isn't it?  It's healed, but yet still there.  I guess in a way this whole situation with Melanoma is like a scar.  Physical scars...emotional scars.  What's the difference?  Even though you're "healed", it's always there.  It never goes away. 

The last few months I have mentally been doing really well.  Really, really well.  I feel almost like nothing ever happened; what I mean is I feel like the "old" me. Not a care in the world!  It took me a LONG time to get here.  The first few months were really rough.  Really, really rough. I took a turn to crazy town and I showed my "certifiable" driver's license to get there.  I felt like the doctors missed things, they weren't doing the right tests, there's no way that I was given a golden ticket and of course the doctors were just flat out wrong.  I was completely obsessing.

But, like I said - I am back to normal!  I actually wasn't really thinking of Melanoma much.  Yes, I would see things on Facebook as I 'like' several Melanoma pages.  I would see other warrior's blog postings (which I always love). I would see updates on new treatments for Melanoma (which I always love).  But, that was about it.  I am back to normal!  Or at least I thought I was...

The last couple of weeks though I have backtracked.  I know it's stress; lately I've been just so stressed out.  My intestines started acting up and good lord, that just zaps me of everything positive.  Since I've been zapped of all the positive juice that I've been collecting over the last 5-6 months, my mind has again gone to the dark side.  I'm tearing up writing this because I felt so great being the good 'ol me - it felt good not worrying about every single stupid fucking pain.

I know the pain is from the colitis, but its hurting in places that it has never hurt before and then my WebMD induced brain starts in:  "Well, Amber, if it hasn't hurt there before it's because your Melanoma decided to pay it a visit".  I don't like the WebMD in me, even though I kind of wish that every other MD that I've seen would have some sort of worry in them like I have.  Another shitty thing with colitis is that it mirrors things that would normally peak doctor's curiosity towards further testing: fever, weight loss and sorta high white blood cell count being the main players.  Oh, no big deal....it's just colitis.

Anyways.  That's about it.  I'm still trying to get used to things...  I guess it would be weird if I was completely back to normal in a year, right?  I am so over being a zombie to cancer.... And I hate using that word (if you think about it I always use "Melanoma").  But I'm sick of it.  I am sick of CANCER!  ugh.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Year Melaversary!

One year ago today, I was being sliced and diced.  Literally, I was rolled back there at 12:00 and woke up at 3:00.  Consider my shock and confusement seeing 3:00pm on the clock when the surgery was supposed to take 45 minutes.  My family was tripping balls!  Today is the day that I will celebrate!  No, not because my family was tripping balls.  I didn't want to celebrate my diagnosis date because it's not something particularly filled with joy. Neither is surgery, but I don't want to mentally celebrate the day the doctor called and told me that I have Melanoma. I will always remember it, I just would rather celebrate the day that Dr. Surgeon cut the rest of the cancer off of my damn back. That is something worth celebrating to me :)

Today is my Melanomaversary...did I just make up a new word??  I think I actually prefer that better than "cancerversary".  We can even shorten it to Melaversary.  Whoah.....I am SO onto something.  I just totally changed the title of this posting to, well - duh, you can see the title :)   I should expect a call from Mr. Dictionary to add these two glorious variations to his book; or at least a call from his cousin Mr. Urban Dictionary.

I took a few photos of my scars now so you can see what a year looks like after the knife.

This was about 2 weeks after surgery last year.

This was today: 04/12/14 :)
Left pitter two weeks after surgery

Left pitter today: 04/12/14
Remember kiddos: Protect the skin you're in!