TKW in the house!!!

I am beyond thrilled to have The Kitchen Witch hanging out on my blog today!  TKW is the third person in my series of AWESOME moms this week reminding us that we need to take better care of ourselves.

I’m excited about this post because it speaks to a cause so very near and dear to my heart.

*********************************************************************************

I live, in my opinion, in the most wonderful state in the nation. I know that sounds arrogant, but it’s true.

Allow me to explain. The state I live in has four gorgeous, distinct seasons. It is rarely blisteringly hot or teeth-chatteringly cold. It is home to active, slender, educated, friendly people. And (if the official Colorado web page is accurate) those people are lucky enough to enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year, on average.

(Miss D. and her Grandpa, my daddy-o, Ron)

300 days of sunshine a year is pretty freaking awesome, don’t you think?

I think a girl who wears a team jersey with a hot pink tutu ROCKS…don’t you?
On most days, I feel so lucky to live here. Sunshine is a mood-lifter, a flower-grower, an activity-enticer. It’s
the thing that makes you smile in the morning, tilt your face upward, shuck off that sweater.

It can also kill you. Very quickly.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to crush your groove. It’s just that almost two years ago, a beautiful, active, spunky woman named Mary Beth Driscoll died. She was a wife, a nurse, a dog lover, a foodie, an optimist, a fun-seeking missile. She was also my friend, and she died way too soon, at the age of 46.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 8,420 people died of melanoma in 2008. Mary Beth Driscoll was one of them. The ACA estimates that this year, the mortality rate will rise to 8,650. I don’t want anybody reading this blog to be one of those casualties.

The good news: melanoma is easily detectable and, when caught early, quite treatable.

The bad news: in its “distant” stages, when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, survival rate is a dismal 15.3%.

Mary Beth was a nurse; she understood exactly what she faced when diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma in the winter of 2007. A little voice in the back of her head, the practical one, the scientific one, told her: prepare to die. The other voice in her head, the feisty one, the hopeful one, disagreed. It told her to fight, and that’s what she did.

9 months after her diagnosis, Mary Beth lost–but she went down swinging. She left in her wake an amazing and loving husband, a doting mother, a beautiful sister, and legions of friends.

It is in her honor that I ask you to visit http://www.melanoma.com/quiz_risk.html and take the time to asses your risk for contracting melanoma.

It is in her honor that I ask you, if you are even the tiniest bit at risk, to make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist and undergo a full body mole-check. Every year.

And it is in her honor, and I hope you’ll join me, that I raise a glass and toast the life of a magnificent broad. I miss you, Bubbles. You taught me so much about courage, and the way to spend my remaining days on this planet. Cheers.

*** While TKW writes for her dear friend, I dedicate this post to my sister Heidi.  She passed away 1 year after her diagnosis of stage IV metastatic melanoma.  Thanks Heidi for showing me how to live, how to love and how to be at peace.  I miss you!

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About Brotherly Love

I am a mom, partner, teacher and a lover of life. I have two fabulous boys who define my life as I know it. One of my children has been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, Asperger's and anxiety disorder. I blog as much about him as I do about my life and the lives of my immediate family.
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6 Responses to TKW in the house!!!

  1. Tiffany says:

    I go every year to get checked out. Beautiful tribute to 2 beautiful women!

  2. TKW says:

    I am so dorky! For some reason, I had it in my head that I was slotted for Wednesday…I have a serious case of Mommy brain.Thanks, Heather, for hosting me!

  3. Gibby says:

    Thanks for the reminder, TKW.

  4. Ink says:

    Oh, wow. So sorry for both of your losses!

  5. Stacia says:

    I had a good friend who was diagnosed with melanoma the day before his daughter was born. Within a year, he was dead, at 35. Thanks to both of you for bringing more attention to this terrible, terrible disease and the women (and men) who bear it with such grace.

  6. Thanks for this important reminder, Kitch. As a pale-skinned, former sun worshipper, I log plenty of time at the dermatologist getting precancerous things sliced off me. I know how lucky I am that I have caught things early, but I still wish I could shake that 16-year old version of myself and yell, 'Cover up, girl!'I am so sorry to hear about both Mary Beth and Heidi. You do honor to both of their memories by reminding other women of the dangers of skin cancer.

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