"Cancer is an epidemic in this country and I'm confused as to why people aren't freaking out more than they are. Probably because they don't have it... yet"
I read this in a blog post today from a mother who lost her daughter to cancer. It's true...why are people still tanning? Why do I see posts in my Facebook news feed of friends who are talking about "getting their tan on" or "going to the tanning bed"?? Didn't they see our videos? Didn't they see our posts? Don't they know that it's not worth it? So many thoughts and questions go through my mind. Sometimes I get angry and sometimes I just get really sad. It's something I guess I have to work through. I see people who take for granted that their husband is alive and well and those feelings well up in me how if they only knew what it was like to watch someone you love lose their battle to cancer especially to something that could have been prevented.
Why isn't everyone freaking out about cancer? Why do we have this feeling of being invincible or "it's not going to happen to me"? It's something I've pondered often since Eric lost his battle to cancer. Most people live in the moment and just don't think about death especially young adults. Sadly, it's something I think about everyday... Sure, when you see a friend or a family member struggling with a terminal illness you may think about how awful that would be but then you lose sight of that and move on with your life.
Just this week my heart has been heavy for two people who lost their lives too young in my community and the cancer battles of three people I've become to know (two with melanoma and the other colon cancer) and a friend's 11 year old son battling brain cancer. More and more people are being diagnosed with cancer each year. Let me share with you a few facts from the American Cancer Society:
- About 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013. This estimate does not include carcinoma in situ (non-invasive cancer) of any site except urinary bladder, and does not include basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, which are not required to be reported to cancer registries.
- In 2013, about 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people per day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease,accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.
These numbers are staggering, so why do we still put ourselves at risk? Why aren't we educating ourselves more about our bodies? Eric was diagnosed in October, 2008. Before then, Eric was never sick and looked and felt great. We had no idea the beast was ravaging his body day by day. How can something that started out to be a tiny mole end up engulfing his leg in tumors, covering his brain in hemorrhaging tumors, make him paralyzed from the waist down and then taking his life from us. Just because you look and feel great today, doesn't mean that you are healthy.
So what's my point, right? My point is that you are NOT invincible. That YOU have a family that loves and needs you. Do you know what Eric would have given to see his granddaughter graduate from school, get married or to be a great grandfather to her children? You may think that by tanning now you will look good when you die right? Hell no, if you think that then you need to watch our videos. www.youtube.com/ericnjill Not only will you regret your tan, but you will suffer greatly and fight for your life. I guarantee you won't say, "I don't regret tanning." Those words have never been spoken by someone who battled melanoma.
Nothing matters to us most but our family right? Think of the pain your family will feel during your battle to survive. Think of how your family will suffer when they lose you... Melanoma took away my husband, my girls step-father, his parents son, his son's father, and his granddaughter's papaw. We lost a great man. We still struggle with the pain of that loss two years later. It's changed us forever. Don't take your life for granted. Live everyday like it's your last. Pay attention to your body and get regular check ups. You may be okay with your unhealthy habits, but is it worth the risk and the pain it will cause your family? I hope that I have left you something to think about and I also hope that you never have to lose someone you love to cancer.