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 katie@prettyinpale.org.

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 checkyourm8.org to send an e-card or share via social media.