Wednesday, April 2, 2014

7 things that drive me absolutely crazy

While I'm typically the kind of gal whose glass is half full, there are a handful of things that drive me completely and totally batty. I pre-apologize if your pet peeves list includes bloggers' pet peeves lists. Mine includes:

1. Anything (or anyone) that stands in my way of being on time
I absolutely hate being late for meetings, appointments, events, etc. Even worse, I hate when being late is completely out of my control. For example, if I'm getting a ride from a friend to a birthday party and she shows up late, making both of us late to the party... %&#$@ Beware, you will feel my wrath.

2. People who are rude to bus drivers
This morning, I witnessed a man yell profanities at my bus driver for no apparent reason. I don't care if your wife just left you, if you just went bankrupt, or your March Madness bracket is busted--don't take it out on people who are simply doing their job.

3. These absurd "Got Vitamin D?" ads
These ads are in virtually every ladies room at every bar in downtown Portland. It's also currently on the billboard I have to walk past in order to get to the gym.

Stop trying to tell me that tanning is healthy. Because it's not. Just stop.

4. The words "We'll find out...... After the break."
I'm looking at you Chris Harrison. I cancelled my cable recently, so I missed the bulk of the most recent season of The Bachelor, but is it REALLY necessary to have that show go on for TWO HOURS?! No. Stop dragging it out. Just send the girl home.


5. #hashtags
Sorry folks. I don't like them. #sorryimnotsorry

6. Blogs that have so many ads on the sidebar that it takes 20 minutes to load
I came here to read your content, but now I can't, so I'll catch you later (or not).

7. When people cancel at the last minute
Saving the best for last. I think my all-time biggest pet peeve is when people cancel on me at the last minute. I'm like the dentist - I need 24 hours notice or I'm still going to send you the bill.

What drives you crazy?

Friday, March 14, 2014

3rd Annual Northwest Melanoma Walk and Fun Run, May 31

This May, AIM at Melanoma (with help from yours truly!) will be hosting the 3rd Annual AIM for a CURE Northwest Melanoma Walk and Fun Run in Portland, Oregon. New for 2014, all net proceeds will benefit the Melanoma Research Program at Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute and Department of Dermatology. Specifically, the event will raise funds for Portland's first Melanoma Tissue Bank, widely believed by the oncology community to be a key to major breakthroughs in melanoma research.

Northwest Melanoma Walk and Fun Run
Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 8:30 to 12 p.m. 
Wallace Park, NW 25th Ave. & Raleigh Street, Portland, OR 

 Register at: 
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The event is free and will include a health fair, hosted by OHSU's Let's Get Healthy, where the whole family can learn about sun safety, how to detect suspicious spots on the skin, as well as how to participate in life-saving research.

Questions? Contact Not local? Find an event in your area.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring break state of mind

Spring break
Sun Bum sunscreen / Butter london nail polish / Vintage cateye sunglasses / Stella Dot beige leather handbag / Gap loafer shoes

The past few weeks have been busy, busy. I have lots of exciting things in the works that I can't wait to share, but for the time being I'm going to keep my lips sealed and simply blab about my upcoming vacation plans.

When I was in college, I never went on *spring break.* My family paid to fly me across the country to go to college, so they couldn't rationalize spending $1,000 to put me up in an all-inclusive resort when I was 19. Fair enough. Nearly ten years later, I finally have the opportunity to travel to Mexico for the first time this April. After all the traveling I did last year, I've been getting a little stir crazy the past couple of months. Plus, I need an excuse to shop for shorts when it's still nearly freezing outside. Needless to say, I'm stoked.

Because of the whole skin cancer thing, traveling to exotic, sun-filled locations continues to present some challenges. I'm obviously not going to have a tan when I arrive in Cabo, and I'm probably going to be paranoid about getting a sunburn while I'm there. But that doesn't mean I don't like visiting tropical islands or drinking piƱa coladas on the beach. I love going on vacation. I wish I could travel more frequently than I already do. In fact, at some point during the next year or so, my heart is set on visiting a good friend of mine who is currently living in Australia. What this means is that I usually end up spending a fair amount of time under the beach umbrella and I pay extra to check luggage because I have too many bottles of SPF to fit in a quart-sized plastic baggie. Sometimes I wish I could be more "normal," but what does normal really mean, anyway?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life goal #578: Learn how to line dance

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated my friend Jessica's birthday by going to a bar where they do line dancing. We got all dolled up in our cowboy boots and headed out for a night on the... errr... country. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was definitely not a dance floor FULL of people who all appeared to know exactly what they were doing. My little city girl jaw was on the floor. I felt like I was in a movie where all of a sudden the whole cast busts out in a choreographed dance routine.

Not one to be a wallflower, by the end of the night, I was determined to learn how to line dance. Two weeks later, I am nowhere near closer to crossing this item off my bucket list, but the bar we went to offers lessons, so I'm excited to go back at some point to give it a try.

The moral of this blog post? It's easy for me to get stuck in the "same ole same ole" routine. Same restaurants, same stores, even the same route to and from work. Routine isn't bad--it helps keep life on track. But I don't ever want to forget how much I love trying new things, even if I fail, and even if it's something as simple as learning the two-step.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When business meets pleasure

A few weeks ago, I was recognized at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's annual awards ceremony for all the melanoma outreach work I did last year. It was kind of fun to have my name called amidst a room full of people I admire, but believe it or not, the intent of this post isn't to gloat. Instead, I need to spill about how my work life and personal life are becoming completely incestuous.

It all started a little over a year ago when there were rumblings that Oregon Health & Science University--my employer--would be lobbying for a teen tanning ban during the Spring 2013 legislative season. In addition to testifying, I agreed to share my story on OHSU's website and to do a number of media interviews.

To put it plainly: it's one thing to spill your guts to thousands of people you'll never meet in real life. It's an entirely different thing to do so in front of your boss, your boss's boss, your colleagues down the hall, and pretty much everyone else you know in a professional capacity. My landlord saw me on TV and sent me a note. I got Facebook messages from people I hadn't spoken to since 2008. Almost a year after those interviews, I'm still running into people at meetings that say, "Hey, I saw that article you wrote about melanoma." Suddenly, my personal life isn't so personal anymore.

For the most part, people have reacted positively, although I have had a few people make offensive comments. In a way, bringing my personal life with me into the workplace has been a bit like dating a roommate. And you know what they say about s@!#$ing where you eat.

As my work and err... "outside of work" work become more deeply entwined--I'm now collaborating with OHSU on the Northwest Melanoma Walk, too--I've become hyper conscious about how my patient advocacy activities will impact my work and vice versa. It's been my lifelong dream to do work that I'm passionate about, but making myself vulnerable to colleagues has and continues to be a bit nerve racking.

I'd be curious to hear if any of you have gone through similar situations and how you've coped. Do you think that having some overlap between your work life and your personal life is harmful or beneficial? Feel free to shoot me an email at

Monday, February 10, 2014

Check your mate this Valentine's Day

I love a slightly provocative public health campaign. Something that catches my attention, but also helps me remember to take care of myself. These clever "Check Your Mate" e-cards from the Prevent Cancer Foundation do just that--and are available in time for v-day.

Here's what their website says: "Whether in bed, in the shower or anywhere you might find yourselves in the nude with your partner, take a few minutes to look for abnormal changes in your partner’s skin. The ABCDE rule is a quick and easy way to remember red flags for suspicious moles.

A word of caution: It would probably be awkward to do this on a first, second or third date. But if you're cuddling up with your hubby or live-in significant other, keep your eyes peeled. Moles or freckles that look abnormal or are changing are worth having looked at by a dermatologist. Skin cancer? Not sexy.

Visit to send an e-card or share via social media.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meet Amanda from Marry Mint

I'd like to introduce you all to my new friend Amanda from Marry Mint. Since we started chatting a couple of weeks ago, I've become smitten with her bubbly personality, adorable pregnancy photos, and most importantly, the courage she's demonstrated since being diagnosed with melanoma at age 19. Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your story.

Hey everyone! I’m so thrilled and honored to be here today :)

Goodness, putting my “story” into words is much harder than I thought it would be. I’m FIVE YEARS cancer free and I only recently found the courage to begin sharing my experiences with melanoma. So, I’m sure you can tell from my photo that my skin is quite fair. As a little kid my parents were always careful and kept my skin covered either by clothing or sunblock. Were they perfect about it? Probably not. But they were certainly cautious. Then came those awful teenage years… Am I the only one who wishes I could get a do over? For more reasons than one. Ew. Just ew to being a teen. Anyway, I still wasn’t a sun worshiper but was definitely self-conscious about my pasty white mole covered skin. I knew enough to know that I was someone who was at a higher risk for skin cancer but of course “it won’t happen to me.” Was I a sun worshiper? No. Frequent tanner? No. Did I always make good choices about sun safety? Most definitely not.

The most common question I am asked is: “how did you know?” The answer is, I didn’t. Even my dermatologist didn’t. I had a new “spot” on my shoulder that was just weird. It was new, kind of blue-ish in color and got on my nerves because it was exactly where my seatbelt rested in the car. So new spot= go see your dermatologist, right? So I did.

At my initial visit with him we decided to leave it there and keep an eye on it. It didn’t remotely resemble a melanoma. About a month later I still had an unsettling feeling about it so scheduled an appointment to have it removed. Just a couple of days later my dermatologist called saying it didn’t look good. Pathology showed it could be one of three different things, one of those of course being melanoma. The next step was to have the area excised AND complete the sentinel node biopsy while the pathology was being sent off for multiple opinions. Long story short, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma with spitzoid deviation stage 3b.

{The ‘spitzoid deviation’ is what made my particular disease complicated. It is a lesion that is most common in very young children and it’s behavior really isn’t known. SO we had to just treat it as aggressively as possible even though it is believed to be less invasive than your garden-variety melanomas.}

My treatment consisted of a modified radical neck dissections followed by the standard year of interferon, one month of induction and eleven months of maintenance. All while having regular scans and check ups with my dermatologist.

On my blog I try and open up about life after cancer. My anxieties, my family, different support systems, lessons, plus million and one photos of my sweet daughter. My hope is to show the world that life can and does go own following something as horrific as cancer. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t always pretty, but it can be damn good! :)

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