Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bloggin' & Billboards!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Holy Moly Melanomy....Happy Birthday to YOU!

My bouncing, baby blog has turned one today!  365 days ago I launched this bad boy.  I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into or how it would turn out...the only thing that I knew at the beginning of all of this is that I needed to do this.  I needed to start this blog for myself (and my loved ones) because otherwise the stress from holding in my fears and feelings would eat me from the inside out.  I needed to shout my story from the rooftops in hopes to prevent anyone else going through the mental anguish. This blog was a complete necessity for my sanity.  I never could have imagined the impact that this silly, little blog has had on me.  

People that know me wouldn't think that I am not forthcoming with my feelings since I talk about everything else with no regard if the subject is appropriate or not.  I am completely, in every sense of the phrase, an open book - except when it comes to my feelings.  This blog has allowed me to open up in ways that I have wanted to, but never had the courage or strength to do.  Thank you to blogger for being there on days when I needed to vent and thank you to everyone who reads my silly ramblings.

With all of that said and done - I have another announcement to make and it couldn't come at a better time!  It is almost as if it's a birthday gift to my one year old baby, blog. 

On March 24th through April 20th a billboard for Melanoma awareness will be up in Grand Rapids, MI.  I did not think this up, I did not put this together - heck, I didn't even give any funds towards the billboard...but I am included on it and I couldn't be more proud.  I just found out about this a couple of days ago and I was so humbled and overjoyed to be included in such a huge effort.

Amazing Susan Hayes (affectionately know as mama bear in the Melanoma community) is the mastermind behind the literal HUGE WARNING SIGN!  She is posting this in time for spring breakers and prom go'ers in hopes to make these young people realize that Melanoma is serious.  I didn't know - seeing something like this on the way to the tanning salon in my late teens would have made me stop and think about it.  Even more so if I saw this leaving the tanning salon while smelling the scent of my burnt skin permeating the car. 

Our roar is getting louder...we will be heard. 
**If you want to read some of Susan's story about the loss of her beautiful daughter you can read here (

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm a weirdo...

"Hello, my name is Amber and I am a weirdo!" 

This morning I woke up, each day getting more and more used to the new time change, and my first thought was my doctor's appointment set for tomorrow morning.  I feel the familiar fluttering of little butterflies: I am excited.  Excited for a doctor's appointment.

I was not this girl before.  I really hated going to the doctors.  The smell of the rooms, the waiting around, the magazines...actually, I still hate the magazines - I never touch them - they creep me out (especially the "Highlights" children magazine - I give those ones the stink eye). 

Now, I am the weirdo who gets excited for a doctors appointment.  Hey, it's been a long time since I've seen a white coat - I am almost getting withdrawals!  The last year has been a whirlwind of doctorate degrees and if I had to average it out over the last 12 months I have probably been to an appointment of some sort twice a month...maybe even three times in some cases.  So, yeah - I miss those smartasses. 

This appointment tomorrow will be with my new primary care.  I have an HMO now, so I gotta see my PCP first and foremost and then have him refer me to a Dermatologist, Oncologist (which I may ask the dermatologist for his opinion), Gastroenterologist and finally an OBGYN.  I have a lot of shit coming up!  I am due for my annual lady parts exam, I am overdue on my 3 month derm appointment and I am 5 months overdue for my 6 month follow up with Dr. Surgeon.

The sad part is I won't be able to see any of the doctors that I have been seeing over the last 12 months.  The happy part is that I have insurance and I will be meeting new doctors.  As I wrote that I actually grimaced that I am excited about meeting new doctors...I'm telling you, I'm a weirdo.... I guess getting the chance to tell my story to a set of ears is sort of exciting... the possibility of new tests. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No Smoking Day!

This year will be me and the hubs 10 year "anniversary" of being together (we'll be married 7 years in April).  This year will also be the five year anniversary of me quitting smoking!  Woooo Hooo!!  Actually, come to think of it - those two anniversaries that I just wrote about will fall on the exact day. I smoked for 12 years and quit when I was 28. That's a long time!  Seriously, I was just a few years shy of smoking half of my life.  

Anyways - back to where I was going with this.  I tried to quit a few times before but this last time worked because I was just over it.  That's the winning ingredient - being over it.  You can't quit unless you are 1,000% ready to.  When I think of it now, I almost can't believe that I even started.  When you first smoke, your body tries to reject the smoke by making you damn near cough out your lungs.  The first two or three times I smoked I had to lay down for 30 minutes each time because the cigarette gave me such a stomach ache.  What did I do the next day?  I smoked another one. First if you don't succeed, try and try again!  I was such an idiot.  I wanted to be with the "in" kids.  What?  Everyone was doing it. 

This wasn't the last time I was 'peer-pressured' into something.  I was peer-pressured into getting my nose pierced.  Yeah, let's talk about it.  I was with some friends and we stopped by this guy's piercing shop and he had all the nose piercing paraphernalia ready to go - then the chick backed out at the last minute.  Since everything was sterilized and ready to be punched out I got it done for free - and it hurt.  Eyes watered like crazy, nose got swollen - I kept on accidentally rubbing it because my hands have a mind of their own and they would grab my nostril curious of why it hurt...then it'd hurt worse.  Stupid hands.  I actually think my nose piercing is super cute and I will probably keep it forever.  Can you picture it?  80 year old Amber rocking a nose stud!

Since my fingers obviously have ADD, let’s go back to the original message of this posting.  Smoking - or the contrary - NOT smoking.  Today is No Smoking the UK.  I think this is an awesome campaign and the US should totally follow suit and have a day dedicated to it.  Or shit, go back to those creepy as commercials of all of the people pretending to be dead outside of Phillip Morris, Inc - representing how many people are killed annually from smoking. 

Support our British neighbors across the pond and put out your 'fags'.