Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A belated cancerversary

Last week marked four years since I was diagnosed with melanoma. It seems fitting that on my four-year cancerversary I had a meeting with one of the co-founders of AIM at Melanoma and that later in the evening I had an orientation for my PCORI Pipeline award on patient-driven melanoma research. Somewhere along the way, I've transformed from scared patient to a fierce advocate for cancer prevention.

Earlier this year, during a period of self-reflection, I struggled with the fact that perhaps all my blogging and fundraising and whatnot was taking up too much of my free time. After four years, I thought, maybe it was time for me to stop obsessing over the past and to move on. But I can't. Every time I try to step back and "take a break," someone makes an ignorant comment about skin cancer, or I overhear two teenagers talking about their tan lines on the bus.

I've also recently found new ways to become involved in melanoma research. Not just as a subject in a study, but as a patient who can partner with scientists to develop better strategies for prevention and earlier detection. There's lots to learn, which can be a little intimidating, but I'm excited to see where things lead.

I'll leave you with this fabulous infographic I found on Chelsea's Pinterest today--9 Sneaky Places Skin Cancer Hides. Check it out and help spread the word!