Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where did April go?

When life gets tough, I just need to remind myself: I climbed this!

I can't believe it's almost May. This month has been a blur. It probably seems like I've gone MIA, but I've just been really, really busy with melanoma-related activities. Earlier this month, I traveled to Utah for a meeting with SolSurvivors, a patient advocacy organization based in Salt Lake City. (This is the group I'm working with on the PCORI-funded project.) Then today, I had a chance to meet with this guy in Seattle. Everyone I've met since I began working on this project has been incredibly receptive to the idea of involving patients in the design of cancer research and outreach projects. There's still lots of details up in the air and lots to figure out, but I'm feeling very confident about being able to engage more laypeople in the melanoma research process going forward--and that's incredibly, incredibly exciting to me.

Meanwhile, it's crunch time as we prepare for the Northwest Melanoma Walk on May 31. I've connected with several new partners for the the walk this year, so it'll be interesting to see how the event evolves from last year.

Protecting my skin from the hot Cabo sun.

On a slightly unrelated note, this month I also accomplished something I never thought would be possible: I turned off my iPhone for five full days while I was in Mexico.

Coming from someone who checks her email at least 50 times a day and practically cuddles her phone when she goes to sleep, I was expecting to go through withdrawals. But, surprisingly, the company I kept while I was vacationing was enough to distract me from that constant nagging feeling that I needed to check my email. I suppose the margaritas and shrimp tacos didn't hurt either.

Disconnecting during an incredibly busy time--both at work and for my patient advocacy activities--was oddly liberating. I embraced relaxation to the point where I barely felt like myself anymore. I danced until 4 a.m. and climbed a huge mountain of rocks (see photo above), even though I'm ordinarily scared of heights. I heard people talk about their tans and sunburns, and I barely batted an eye.

My amigas!

I think one of my strengths as a human being is my ability to be empathetic and compassionate to others. But let's be real: caring is exhausting. It was nice to know that I could almost "turn it off" for a few days, just so that I could get a little down time.

Coming back to work on Monday was a bit of a rude wake up call. My inbox was full and I had several major deadlines to meet. Regardless, Cabo '14 will go down as one of the best trips ever. Crazy adventures with great friends--and I was finally able to chill out enough to enjoy it. Definitely just what I needed to get me through my busy season.

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  4. YES! Caring is completely exhausting! So glad you were able to unplug and enjoy slope


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