Tag Archives: life

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month: For some, it’s awareness every day

This  month is Skin Cancer Awareness month; a month dedicated to educating people about skin cancer, how to incorporate regular skin checks into your wellness regime, stories, and other prevention strategies. For some, this may be a yearly reminder of skin cancer and how to be aware. For many, the awareness is an every day reality. I have a friend who is suffering from the effects of stage 4 Melanoma.  My father has had many instances of skin cancer in his life, and one of my earliest childhood memories is of his  head wrapped from a skin cancer surgery. In his older age he has had to have a skin graft to his ear for treatment of a malignancy.

Even with my relative awareness of the dangers of skin cancer, I find myself new to the daily awareness reality and the journey that is to potentially take me through the rest of my life.

November 27, 2018: I received a notice on my phone that my biopsy test results, from a spot on my forehead, had been posted in my online chart.  I opened it and while skimming through it, stopped at the words “Squamous Cell Carcinoma, in situ”. I showed it to my husband and we both froze on those words for a few minutes. The next day I set up an appointment to have the area treated with an “ED&C” (Electrodesiccation and Curettage) procedure, to remove any remaining cancer cells.  Due to my schedule and doctor’s availability, I had to wait until January 2, 2019. During that time I did a lot of reading and research and found out that in situ means the cancer cells had not spread.

January 2, 2019: I had the ED&C done which took only about 10 minutes.  Several days earlier I had noticed some small growths on my scalp, areas which had been treated in November with Cryosurgery (using liquid nitrogen) to remove suspect spots. I made an appointment for July, 6 months out from the ED&C treatment to have a follow-up and head to toe exam.

April 25, 2019: The growths on my scalp had grown exponentially and I sent photos to my doc comparing January to April.  I  was asked to come in immediately, First the area on my forehead that that been previously treated was examined.  Looking good!

Then my scalp was examined. There were three growths.  One was treated with cryosurgery and other two biopsied. My doctor told me it was good that I came in now instead of waiting until July. I had a massive headache the rest of the day and off and on head pain for the next 6 days.

May 1, 2019 – First day of Skin Cancer Awareness month, six days after the the biopsy. The test results came in:  Squamous Cell Carcinoma, *at least* in situ, possibly more deep since the margins were affected. Fortunately I was able to get this treated the very next day after the results had been posted. The two areas on my scalp s were treated via ED&C, with three passes and confidence that remaining cancer cells were eradicated.  I have been cautioned to look for any appearance of scaly areas around the treated areas and to come in immediately if that is noticed.  We all chuckled over my comment that I could now be called a “numb-skull” due to the anesthesia that numbed by scalp.

May 5, 2019: My scalp looks like it has two bullet holes in it.  The next 3 weeks will be spent attending to the areas as instructed to ensure proper healing.  I’m not sure if the damaged hair will grow back, and frankly I don’t care.  I am resigned to covering my head as needed and appropriate.

Three  diagnosed skin cancers in 5 months.  I’d like to think this is the end, however I thought that with the first one. “Hindsight is 20/20,” “It’s just skin cancer,”  “Be thankful it’s not melanoma,”  are all phrases I keep hearing.  My self-education and awareness, however, have led me to the realization that all skin cancer is serious, and not to be taken lightly. All one has to do is just read the stories of those diagnosed.  If that doesn’t help one’s awareness, a personal diagnosis of skin cancer for sure will shock you into awareness.

Vigilance will be my companion from here on out.  Advocacy, education, setting the example, checking myself, photographing suspicious spots ( I have files in folders on my computer now), wearing protective clothing, daily thoughts of living with skin cancer on my mind….all that and more are part of my daily existence now.

I say “part” because my existence is filled with so many good and positive aspects that help direct my focus and for which I am thankful.  And so my vigilance is the measure I must take to continue living  my life in those positive and fulfilling ways.

The photos throughout this post are representative of me in my life, often outdoors without protection.  I have always been a happy person and plan to continue my happiness, despite any obstacles I encounter or changes to be made as a result of those challenges.

 

 

Using the word “never” in activism

As time passes I realize that using absolutes like "never" or "always" is pretty unrealistic.

A couple of years ago I was faced with having to get an emergency container of formula for my grandson because we forgot to bring it with us.  The only place around was Walmart.  So the decision had to be made:  Do I allow my grandson to go hungry because of my political aversion to this evil corporation?  Or do I (gulp) push my politics aside (which dictated that I never set foot, let alone spend money at, a Walmart) and spend the money on the formula my grandson needs to satisfy his hunger?

The answer was obvious, of course.

For a long time I told myself I would never take prescription drugs over herbal remedies, especially since my health insurance mandates that I order long term prescriptions from a corporate drug warehouse.   After a few years of elevated blood pressure and herbal remedies not working, I found myself no longer being willing to take the increased risk of heart attack by maintaining high blood pressure.  I now take prescription meds and have been able to stay in control of my bp.

Currently I find myself in a situation where I have to gulp again with regards to my political stance on the new airport security procedures of forcing passengers to either pass through a full body scanner and/or succomb to a complete pat down.  My situation:  my aging parents who live 2000 miles away from me.  My employment situation does not allow me the time to drive back and forth.  So I must use my resources to fly back and forth at least twice per year, sometimes 3 or 4.  I know people who say they will never fly as long as this fascist state of affairs is in place in our airports.  How I would love to be able,with conviction, say this also.  But it’s a gamble that I have to take – as to whether or not I will be waved through the regular scanner or have to participate in the heightened police state procedures now in place.  

I am not willing to sacrifice providing for/being with/seeing the loves of my life for my stance on issues.  I would never be able to forgive myself if my priority  was politics over family to the point where my use of absolutes prevented me from ever seeing them or providing for them.  I am not willing to sacrifice my health, safety or well-being or that of my family because of my position on related issues. 

It is unfortunate that our systems currently in place have our hands tied in certain situations.  But this does not equate to "giving in".  It equates to knowing that some circumstances must lend themselves to a willingness to adhere to current practices, policies and procedures (ineffective and unfair and unjust as they may be) which in my view should strengthen one’s resolve to work towards putting measures in place for the change we want to see for our world.

What I will continue to do is to be as vocal and outspoken as possible about the inequities of our political system, our healthcare system, the violation and invasion of our individual and personal rights, the degradation of our civil liberties.  What I will continue to do is to live my life according to  my values as much as possible, realizing that nothing is perfect or absolute and that is is ok to deviate every once in awhile to do what is necessary in my life – and to not feel guilty about it.  

The most important thing for me is that the loves of my life see me practice what I preach regularly and are proud of me for it.  I know I am setting an example and making a difference when this message is conveyed to me.  My son once wrote to me during a very difficult time in our lives:

I am thankful that you are helping us. You are truly a great woman and not just because you help us when we need it, but because everything about you and what you do is great.

You are caring, loving and you generally care about the welfare of others. For this I look up to you; you are a big role model in my life. If I can take even 25% of what you do and who you are to my life, I know I”ll be okay.

I love you very much, Mom.

I keep reminding myself of this whenever I find myself having to engage in even the smallest activity that is out of sync with my beliefs.

The larger issue, then, is the question of using absolutes in our activism.  Is it realistic to say "I will never" or "I will always"?  I don’t think so. Having  the mindset and fortitude to be as strong as possible in our stance on issues  is much more plausible, realizing that there will be times where exceptions have to be made.  The key to practicing what we preach is consistency in that practice (Consistency does not equal "always" or "never" unless sacrifices are willing to be made.)  Being vocal about unfair practices, boycotting businesses and organizations which employ those unfair practices as much as possible, engaging in the political process to effect change (which may include civil resistance/disobedience), living one’s life in accordance to one’s values on a daily basis with as close to 100% consistency as is humanly possible…..these are  things that set the example for others and are part of the larger ripple effect that will travel through generations as it builds momentum toward mass change for the good of our planet.

I will – almost always – remember this.

50 years of life – part 2 addendum

Of course I can’t mention California state parks without a political side…..

Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed massive state park closures as part of his proposed budget, in an effort to "save" hundreds of millions of dollars.  AND he has rejected state Democrats’ proposal to add $15.00 to the state park fees for visitors.

News of The Terminator’s proposed park closures and parks on his hit list, which includes Sinkyone State Wilderness Park:

50 years of life – part 2

Next week Tom is taking me to one of my favorite places on earth to celebrate my 50 years of living – Sinkyone Wilderness State Park on the Lost Coast in Northern California.  The Lost Coast is so named due to the lack of major road and highway access to the area. 

Embedded in the 60 mile stretch of the Lost Coast, Sinkyone is a beautiful park rich with Native American History. To get to the Sinkyone State Park, visitors must get off the major highway onto a secondary road which ends at the access road to the park.  This access road is a 3.5 narrow/one lane, steep, and winding path which opens up to  a cliff that overlooks the ocean when you get into the park.  The road continues along the park to various areas where you can camp.  On any given day a visitor can see a herd of elk wandering through, take delight in watching seals play in the surf and on a clear day hope to see a whale off in the distance.  This is in addition to the pristine beauty of the surroundings.  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to this respite. 

From the California State Parks site on Sinkyone’s history:

For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone Indians lived in this part of the coast. They occupied permanent villages alongside streams and rivers, and moved out in family groups to hunt and forage in the hills during the summer. They spent time along the coast fishing, gathering seaweed and shellfish, and hunting seals and sea lions, and harvesting the occasional dead whale that had washed on shore. Fish were an important source of food during the winter. All kinds of fish were caught, but the seasonal salmon run was especially important.

Most park visitors today assume that human beings have had little impact on this area. But every trail, road, or flat spot has been modified by human activity. Game trails were turned into pathways for pack mules loaded with tanbark for the tanneries of San Francisco. Roads were carved and graded for lumbering operations. Open areas and marine terraces were farmed and used to pasture sheep and cattle. Occasionally, what appears to be a wagon road or a modern jeep trail is actually an abandoned railroad right-of-way.

Here are other links with additional information I found on the Lost Coast:

King Range National Conservation Area: The Lost Coast

Hiking the Lost Coast


Hiking the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

50 years ago….

I will be out of town on my birthday in the pristine wilderness of the Lost Coast in Northern California.  So I"m posting items now relative to my birth 50 years ago.

I researched historical items in 1959 and of course and below is what I found on Wikipedia.  It is not the inclusive list, but just some things I found to be interesting out of the whole list of events and other items of that year:

January 12 – Motown Records founded by Berry Gordy, Jr.
February 3 – A chartered plane transporting musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper goes down in foggy conditions near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing all 4 occupants on board, including pilot Roger Peterson. The tragedy is later termed "The Day the Music Died", popularized in Don McLean’s 1972 song "American Pie".
February 16 – Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.
February 18 – Women in Nepal vote for the first time.
March 8 – The Marx Brothers make their last TV appearance, in The Incredible Jewel Robbery.
March 11 – A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry opens on Broadway in New York.
March 31 – The Dalai Lama flees from Tibet and is granted asylum in India.
July 7 – At 14:28 UT Venus occults the star Regulus. The rare event (which will next occur on October 1, 2044) is used for determining the diameter of Venus and the structure of Venus’ atmosphere.
August 14 – Explorer 6 sends the first picture of Earth from space.
August 17 – Columbia Records releases Miles Davis’ groundbreaking album, Kind of Blue.
October 2 – Rod Serling’s classic anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS.
October 13 – Birth of Marie Osmond, American pop singer
October 23 – Birth "Weird Al" Yankovic, American singer and parodist
November 5 – Birth of Bryan Adams, Canadian singer and photographer
December 1 – Cold War – Antarctic Treaty: 12 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, sign a landmark treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on that continent (the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War).

Undated:
Pantyhose is introduced by Glen Raven Mills.
The Workers World Party is founded by Sam Marcy.
The first known human with HIV dies in the Congo.
Vietnam War (1959-75)

Help me celebrate 50 years of living!

I will soon be 50. Actually in 13 more days I"ll reach the half century mark. I knew it was coming. I’ve been anticipating it all year.

So now that it is inevitable, I"m celebrating! Here is one way that I am honoring my life on earth for 50 years:I will be celebrating 50 years of life on earth on July 27th and my favorite color is GREEN!

I am asking all my friends to please consider donating in my name to the Green Party at my green birthday page:

The Green Party is the party that represents people and their values. There are hundreds of Greens elected in various offices across the
country and are making good changes for our world! There are thousands of Greens in our country who are working hard on social,
economic and environmental justice issues as well.

Please help this party continue to grow by visiting my green birthday page and help make this 50th life celebration one that will do good in our
world!

If you want to send a check you can. If you do, please put the following code on the check or envelope: PS-DT-BDAY

Thank you!

Deanna "Dee" Taylor
July 27, 1959

Earth Jam this weekend

Earth Jam will be held this weekend, April 25-26, at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. It’s a great festival nearing its 20th year and this year looks to be even bigger and better. It’s a family event, so please bring everyone to the park to honor the earth.

Here is a promotional video for the event.