↑ Return to Skin Cancer

My Experience

Pay It Forward and Change Lives in the Process

What a ride this has been! Another great example that you NEVER know what tomorrow brings. One month I was having surgeries and serious health complications. Then the next month I was being flown out to LA on a moment’s notice to shoot a commercial for Nike.

My point is this: when you have a hard time figuring out what good could possibly come of something difficult you are dealing with in your life, the key is to focus in on where you want to be, as if you could wave your magic wand and everything could go your way. That’s what I did. I have learned with ANY obstacle in life… getting over it starts with your mindset.

I know this has all happened for a BIG reason. Part of that reason is to help bring awareness to skin cancer. Afterall, this is what sparked everything in the first place. It is the reason I soaked up the Secret… changed my way of life and way of thinking… and has made me appreciate EACH AND EVERY DAY I am here on this earth.

We all know that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, but more importantly- if you were gone tomorrow- what would you leave behind? I remember a quote I heard a long time ago that has always stuck with me. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away” (~ Joy Golliver). This speaks so loudly to my heart and I never really knew what I was going to do… but I have always known what I was passionate about in life and focused in on just that, knowing the rest would manifest.

A deeper look into my experience with skin cancer and malignant melanoma:

I was born and raised in Arizona, home of the SUN. I have always had a lot of moles, and in high school I started having the abnormal ones removed to be biopsied. I typically have some removed every 3-6 months. Over the years some of the moles biopsied come back normal and the rest come back atypical or dystplastic nevi (the pre-form to melanoma). Because of this, I have always been very cautious of what to look for. In 2004 I had new mole pop up over a few months and it was on my stomach (not a common place for melanoma), along with another suspicious mole on my back.

When the biopsy results came back, the one on my stomach showed as stage II malignant melanoma and the one on my back was dysplastic nevi. I went to the Mayo Clinic up in Rochester, MN to have surgery to remove them both, along with some lymph nodes. All came back clear in the end! I was extremely blessed considering melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. This is hard for many people to believe because moles look so harmless! In addition, melanoma is becoming more and more common these days- especially in younger people. It is so imperative to know WHAT to look for, any CHANGES in moles (in my opinion- this is the most important) and to know the IMPORTANCE of wearing sunscreen every single day!

Over the past few years I have been melanoma free, but have since had many more atypical moles removed, had Moh’s surgery 3 times, and more lymph nodes removed. Statistics say there is a very high chance of the melanoma metastasizing once you have it- but like anything else- you cannot live in fear based on what statistics say. I think AWARENESS is the key to saving lives. Plus, I am convinced I am here today because I knew exactly what to look for in regards to skin cancer and have always been aware of new moles that appear.

I am here to PAY IT FORWARD. One of the things on my list is to use this Nike experience not only to bring awareness to skin cancer (especially melanoma) but also to show cancer survivors all over the world- that the healing process STARTS in the mind. Then, by adding faith, a positive mindset, a good support system, a healthy diet, and exercise you will overcome ANY HEALTH OBSTACLE. You can either succumb to health problems (whether its cancer, weight issues, diseases, etc.) letting them define who you are OR simply change the lives of those around you because of your experience and overcoming them!

Let’s take a ride…