Monday, April 5, 2010

Dieing to have that beautiful tan?

In 6 weeks the changes in his leg have been devastating.  We watch as new tumors pop up and existing tumors grow.  His leg is very swollen and inflamed.  It is so hot from the activity of tumor growth that he keeps ice packs on it.
If you ever said or thought "I may get Skin Cancer but at least I'll look good!" then you are wrong. (Trust me I'm not judging you, I actually said those words to my mother when I was younger and tanning in a tanning bed.)  You may think you look good now, but you could be damaging your skin's DNA and your future may look like this.  Eric's mole was on his ankle so this is what his leg looks like.  He can hide the tumors by wearing pants, but imagine if his mole was on his face...

Since Eric was diagnosed with Melanoma in October, 2008 he has been in the fight of his life.  He's has been through several surgeries including an emergency crainotomy and gamma knife radiation to the brain and has been on chemo non-stop since February, 2009 due to progression of the cancer.  To this day, he is still on chemo because the other treatments have failed to stop his cancer from spreading.  As Eric does experimental treatment after treatment his options get more limited because there aren't many treatments for Melanoma.

Nov 2, 2010 it was discovered that the Melanoma had spread to his brain.  Melanoma loves to travel to the brain, liver and lungs.

Do we know for a fact that a tanning bed caused his cancer?  No, but what we do know is that it increases your chance of developing skin cancer and that's enough for us.
This is the entire leg on November 13, 2010.  Some of the tumors are on the skin and you can see some of them are internal.  The internal tumors put pressure on the nerves and muscle.
Don't become a victim of Skin Cancer.  Early detection is so important.  If you think you have a suspicious mole, see a Dermatologist right away.  If your mole is caught in the early stage, your cure rate is 95%.  If you catch a mole in Stage 4, the average survival rate drops to 11% for 5 years.

Download this Body Mole Map to do a Skin Self Examination.  Your life could depend on it.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Jill. We are praying for Eric's full recovery every day and also spreading the message about tanning & melanoma.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I just got diagnosed with melanoma, so I had to stop and read your blog. My mole looked “normal”. It was small, symmetrical and not “ugly”, so it did not fit the typical tell-tale signs of melanoma. I just noticed that I was pinker than my other moles, so I thought I would get it removed; I am so glad that I did. I was so shocked when I my doctor told me that I have skin cancer, because I have never been a person who goes to tanning beds often. I hope your blog stops at least one person from using a tanning bed.

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  3. Thanks for posting your blog Jill. I am a 9 year Melanoma survivor and I am hoping the same for Eric. It's a very scary disease and it affects all our loved ones too so I can appreciate your uncertainty and fear. I am so greatful that people like you get the word out. I have so many friends that worship the sun and post jokes on facebook about "burning at the beach today". I just cringe. I get tired of lecturing people about it and having them completely disregard my warnings.

    I wasn't a sun worshiper but I do have very fare skin and would burn regularly at the ocean as a child. I'm 40 so it was during a time of melanoma ignorance and nobody really worried about sunburns or sunblock. I was misdiagnosed for 3 years because, like Susan above, I had an atypyical mole. It was pink in color and not oddly shaped. It wasn't until I scratched it until it bleed in my sleep one night that my PCP would agree to take it off. My doctor was as shocked as I was to find that I had had a level 4 melanoma for 3 years. Luckily it was slow growing so I was only at stage 2 when it was removed and biopsied. At 32 years old I was given a 27% chance of living longer than 5 years. I'll be 41 next week so as you can see I beat the odds and after 9 years in remission I'm down to a 5% of a reoccurance at all. I will keep you and Eric and my thoughts and wish you all the best with your fight! Keep getting the word out, you are doing a great job!

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  4. I am so saddened for Eric. I do not know what to say. How is he now?
    Hugs to both of you,
    Zhanna

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