Saturday, January 15, 2011

New year. New fear. New life.

My long overdue and accordingly lengthy blog post is finally here. Where to begin? Well, if you have been following our Facebook page you probably know that after 6 long years of half-time college, work and raising kids, my husband (and all our family, for that matter) have finally graduated Summa Cum Laude back in October. That is exactly when we have decided to participate in our first major Midwest trade show. We have been accepted and began the preparations.
Very quickly I came to realize that I will never be able to meet my own expectations by doing everything on my own. My good friend Sofia, who some of you have met at the shows, had started her carrier as a psychologist and had moved to another side of the town. Coincidentally or not, a few months earlier I have met a local talented MI beading artist who also had a great vibe about her. I had purchased some very beautiful pieces from her, she had bought from me and, long story short, I felt comfortable enough to invite her to my humble studio and offer her to be a part of Marmalade Hills small but very passionate team of my mom and I :) Christine is an amazing person and a very dedicated Marketing Director at Marmalade Hills. Before I get into many details of my recent life experiences, I have to say that I am forever grateful to these girls, Sofia and Christine, for helping Marmalade Hills succeed this past year and doing it with such enthusiasm! You are the best!! XO
It was still pre-Christmas time when I spotted a small spot on my torso that would just not go away. After a month of observation I mentioned it to my dermatologist who offered to wait another three weeks for it to go away and come and see her if it didn’t. We have completed all our Christmas shows with Sofia, but the spot was still there... Now, let me take a brisk step back in time: 6.5 years earlier, four days before our older daughter was born, my dad passed away from melanoma. Those were very, very dark times, thinking of which still bring chills on a warm day.
So, a month and a half after first noticing the spot, and I was back at my dermatologist’s office, bright and early in the morning few days before Christmas. My doctor was casual and showed no concern; she just said that we will take “it” out because “it” was there for too long. “I’ll call you in a week if there is something to report,” she said. I was pretty sure it was nothing. Why would it be? I’m just 30. My body is strong, I don’t have fair skin, I don’t have many moles (like my dad)… Less than a week later we got a phone call from the nurse, it was basal cell carcinoma (BCC): non-melanoma skin cancer. Even though it is a very slow growing and non-invasive, non-life threatening type of cancer that some people don’t even consider as cancer, that word put me in a complete shock. After losing my dad and hearing so many stories about people’s feelings when finding out about their diagnosis, I had NO idea how scary it could be.
If you know me and my husband personally, you probably know that we follow every interest of ours with great passion. Same was for cancer. We got on Google, we got anti-cancer books from the library and just spent hours of talking about science. The only way to fight fear is knowledge. And getting more knowledgeable in cancer mechanics did help. Although all those vibrant pictures on the Internet did raise nerve-wracking suspicions about melanoma and my certain moles.
And there I was: first week of 2011 at my dermatologist’s office, once again. We had to do a re-treatment for the BCC and also a MUCH closer full-body check. When I went in, I knew that I had one spot that I was concerned about the most (I saw a similar one on Google image search). Doctor said: we should take a closer look at it. One week later I got a call: it was dysplastic mole. For some doctors it means nothing, and for others – early stage of melanoma. A very, very early stage (if it is). It takes 5 to 20 years for cancer to develop into melanoma as we know it, and only 1 in 10,000 cell will turn into cancerous.
Even though it was a very scary time for us and there are still many full-body exams to come, we will come out on top in the long run. You can turn almost any situation into an opportunity or into a disaster and we are going to make the best out of our situation. As of January 2011 our family have adapted an anti-cancer diet and life style that will help our kids to develop right habits for life and that will make us healthier and happier people overall. Anti-cancer life style includes many good ol’ practices like exercising, meditation and healthy diet that are important for every person who wants to live a long and healthy life. If you wish to understand on cellular level why it was always important to live a healthy life style, I strongly recommend you read or listen to this book: “Anticancer: a new way of life.” by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, Ph.D. It explains so many things in a very comprehensive style and points out major flaws in present western diet and life style. This book is full of precise scientific references that make it even more fascinating.

Thank you for making it to the end of this post! And I hope I was able to refuel your New Year resolutions ;)

Health and happiness all!

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