Wednesday, February 4, 2015

World Cancer Day Soapbox

Today is World Cancer Day. I'm not entirely sure what that means. Are we raising awareness of cancer? Celebrating survivors? Remembering those who fought the fight but didn't make it? Facebook was vague on the details but one thing is for sure. I had it. It sucked. You don't want it. I strongly suggest preventing it. 
Port Surgery
If you've read my post before, I don't regret my cancer. It was a growing experience for me, personally. If you've never read "my cancer story" they're linked here and here and various places throughout my blog but I think those best sum it up. Though I don't regret my cancer, I can't say it was my favorite season of life, either. It was my 1st year of marriage, my 1st year of my "big girl job", it was EXPENSIVE, it robbed me of fertility (but PRAISE GOD for my MIRACLE BABIES!). Yes, it took my hair but let's just be honest.... I rocked it Sinead O'Conner style. Who wore it better?!

 Don't answer that.

What cancer didn't take was my faith. My hope. My joy. My marriage. My will. I never gave it that power.

I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Doctors aren't sure what causes lymphoma but as most of you know, there are many things that we DO know that can cause cancer. 

This is Derick's soapbox...I'm going to borrow it from him for a moment. If I knew how to use photoshop, I'd photoshop my own little soap box but since I don't, I'll steal Derick's. I bet he won't mind.
Cancer can happen to you. It happened to me at age 23 and I learned a very valuable lesson....I am not invincible. Not all of you have figured that out yet. Be informed and make your own decision based on your knowledge of facts. Not all cancer can be prevented but many CAN be! Other cancers can be cured with a high remission rate with easy detection. Tonight, I beg you to inform yourself of your risk and decide if your choices are worth it. 

Smokers, here is a black lung vs a healthy lung. Have you ever seen someone die of COPD? I have. It's awful watching someone struggle to breath. I don't want that for ANY of you. Is your cigarette worth it?
 For those of you who like stats and math.... I'm no math wizard but I'm pretty sure this means 90% of lung cancer is attributed to actively smoking. That seems like a pretty good reason to not smoke.

Tanners, I was once one of you. The best naps of my life occurred for 20 minutes at Palm Beach Tan. Fact... Tan fat is prettier than pasty white fat. I get that. Thus the reason I got the BEST SPRAY TAN OF MY LIFE for these family pictures. 
We all know tanning beds can cause cancer. I have a friend currently going through a YEARS worth of treatment for melanoma. A YEAR. A whole year of her life feeling sick, fighting for her life.  I'm sure she would be happy to talk to you about her experience with skin cancer and how she also thought it would never happen to her. It happens to 1 in 5 Americans. Wear sunscreen... the good stuff  and get out of the tanning bed, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. I will rub sunless tanner on you for free. You're welcome. 

Terrible Eaters, I too love M&M ice cream cookie sandwiches. Yes, Cool Ranch Doritos are absolutely considered a meal on Super Bowl Sunday.... but on Monday, eat some kale. Fact with no merit or link to prove it but I'm pretty sure it's true.... Americans eat awfully. We consider this food:
Apparently these are McDonald's Chicken Nuggets...not strawberry yogurt as my husband thought
I'm fairly certain (with once again no facts to back this up) that the majority of us who have had cancer have put it in ourselves by the crap we (including myself!) eat. Would you eat the cleaning solution under your sink? You'd be surprised that most chemicals under your sink are in the food in your pantry, 

 Don't get me wrong, I currently have NO interest in curbing my once twice a day Dr Pepper but be smart about it. Dunkin Doughnuts for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch and McDonald's for dinner isn't food. Just go drink some 409.... it's got the same nutritional value. 

Get Groped.  Get Naked.  The survivor rates of all cancers are infinitely higher when detected early. Be in tune with your body and it's changes but make sure to get checked. Men have a lower survivor rate of cancer because they wait so long to get checked. It's once a year. It's the doctor's job. What may be awkward for you isn't a blip on their radar. Strip for a dermatologist. It may save your life. Have your breast smashed in a machine. It may save your life. I've never had a prostate exam and nor do I want to google it but you should get one... whatever that entails... just do it... it may save your life. 

Some of you may not like this post. It may make you feel guilty. Good? I mean, I'm NOT judging. I have tanned. I sometimes eat Doritos chased with a Dr Pepper and one time I smoked a cigarette in college... I choked. (sorry mom & dad) I Googled facts and graphs from websites that seemed legit... who knows if they are... but what I DO know is that cancer is real. It happened to me. It can happen to you. I care enough to make you feel uncomfortable and my life from 2007-2008 gives me a platform on which express these opinions.

My hope is that each of you will take your health into your hands. While much of this post is written in jest, the message is serious. Reduce your risk, get checked yearly and live a long and healthy life. 

 OK, OK, little squirrel. Off my soapbox! Happy (?) World Cancer Day, friends!


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