Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes today! In case you aren't friends with my wife and/or have managed to miss many of the posts, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma in January and have been fighting it with the help of MD Anderson since.
I just wanted to say a few things to all my friends:
1) If I don't respond to an email or a text message from you, please don't take it personal. There are stretches of days sometimes where I'm so wiped out that I barely get out of bed. So when you send me a text or FB msg that says "How you feelin?", and you don't get a reply. Just know that it still really makes me feel good to know that you care, and helps me stay positive throughout this whole ordeal.
2) Go see a dermatologist and get your moles checked out. Even just once a year at your General Practitioner doctor is good enough. And if you notice a mole start itching, changing color, bleeding, or changing shape, then RUN to the doctor. Stage 0/1 melanoma treatment is simple. Thank God they have invented a lot of new Stage 4 treatments, but they are super super hard on your body and still fairly close to 50/50 propositions. (FYI, mine started under the skin where there was no detecting it. You guys know me, I am NOT a sun person, lol!)
3) STOP GOING TO TANNING BOOTHS, unless you are just using a spray booth. From cancer.gov, "Women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer."
4) GET YOUR VITAMIN D level checked!!! Most standard blood tests don't test it. DEMAND IT from your doctor! If your doctor refuses, find a "wellness clinic" that will. Until you get it checked, start taking 5k IU daily. Don't worry, you can't overdose on it and it can't hurt your baby. They did a study with pregnant women taking 100k IU, and there were no side effects. If you are low, take 10k IU daily until you are no longer deficient. The scientific link between D deficiency and skin cancer is growing everyday, and my level of anecdotal evidence from spending weeks on an entire floor of nothing but skin cancer patients makes me believe it!
5) I have a 10 yr old and a 2 yr old daughter. My grand goal of sitting on the second story porch of my as-of-yet unbuilt house with my wife in one hand and my drink in the other and watching the sun go down feels more like a pipe dream now. My new grand goal is being around long enough to watch my kids graduate high school and maybe college. Take the suggestions I made above to heart, they could save your life and save your family lots of heart ache.
I love you all so much for caring about me and keeping me in your prayers!