It's not what you are eating, it's what's eating you…

Archive for May, 2017

How many MORE people are going to have to DIE , before we can talk about Opioid addiction and other addictions without STIGMA???

(Extremely important disclaimer: I’m NOT  a clinically trained professional. If you or someone you know is in acute medical or mental health crisis, PLEASE seek immediate/acute professional help, in an acute care facility.

Because this blog is about the fact that clinicians are only human and can be in crisis, too, this is WHY I’m pressing for honest dialogue in our society about the Opiate Epidemic and removing the stigma that exists that presents a barrier for so many people being able to get the help they need that hopefully, save their lives)

http://www.cnn.com/2017/5/24/us/drug-counselors-overdose/index.html

Most of my blogs, as of late, have had to do with the opioid epidemic. Some of the blogs, have been out of concern of the war on drugs, having a potential to harm those who use prescription opiates, responsibly, but as a last resort to treating severe chronic pain.

Some of them have included though, the very real crisis that we are in because of opioids both prescription and illegal opiates.

My very last blog (which was extremely wordy, even for me) , had to do with my getting labeled at a an appointment with a pain management specialist, who had labeled me, due to my mental health issues and that I had very temporarily abused opiates, both almost 9 years ago (for 5 days leading up to an intentional overdose with pain meds that had been prescribed for me) and almost 7 years ago for 2 days both situations involved both being in medical AND mental health crisis.

And I’ve discussed those issues ad nauseum, in previous blogs, quite a bit, since I’ve launched this blog, almost 4 years ago.

I also had mentioned in my last blog, that I had done an internet search on that physician, prior to that appointment almost 2 weeks ago and had found that pain management specialist I had seen, in addition to being “pro Butrans”, which I didn’t think was appropriate for me, neither did she, also had nearly had her own medical license suspended due to opioid addiction, less than 2 years ago. And had multiple conditions to be able to continue having her suspsension stayed, by not being able to prescribe controlled substances, let alone be in possession of them.

It was never my intent in my last blog to shame that provider. What I did find offensive, is my history being a barrier in my getting medical care, with bias, because I had been labeled PRIOR to ever being on opiates and as someone who has a very short history that I’m not usually believed by most providers, with temporary drug abuse, just because I have mental health issues and even BEFORE my mental health issues were diagnosed in my late 30’s, just because I was a bariatric surgical patient.

The above link on my blog, that I just came across tonight, was about 2 drug counselors in a addiction facility who overdosed on heroin/fentanyl combination in Pennsylvania on Monday.

I have never not known or acknowledged that the Opioid Epidemic, not only is a VERY real crisis, not just nationally but globally, but that clinically trained medical and mental health professionals, whether they are physicians, drug counselors or any kind of practicing clinician, also can be patients with the propensity to have serious addiction problems that can be fatal, just like to any other human being.

Also, I’ve said as a mental health activist who’s also written multiple blogs about murder/suicide, what I talk about is, NOT the means of how people choose to kill themselves and MURDER others , but the desire to kill to begin with.

It’s not to minimize when I bring up gun control initiatives when talking about that. I say, with being crystal clear, that I’m not a medically or mental health clinically trained professional and/or in public safety or law enforcement professional, that taking away the weapon of choice, isn’t getting to the heart of the matter, when it comes to these tragic deaths.

That if people want to kill, if they can’t get a gun, there are many other ways that they can and WILL find to kill people.

The same applies to drugs, when it comes to addiction. If people even start out honestly because of severe chronic pain or any kind of severe pain, such as surgical or due to an accident  and whether or not,  it becomes their gateway to drug addiction and/or they just go straight to illegal drugs for emotional and or mental health health pain and find a dealer, unfortunately, it’s not always predictable who will find themselves in crisis of life ruining, if not life ending consequences due to that addiction.

Or ANY type of addiction and that’s one of the  the points of this blog. If we can’t talk about the multiple ways and multi-faceted reasons that play into addiction, honestly without stigma, whether it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, social media/internet/phone that present potential for abuse, addiction, the risk to public safety/personal health threats on humans and the fatalities that are occuring , we don’t have a prayer of reducing them.

It’s becoming obvious and it doesn’t take a clinically trained professional to state, that you can’t legistlate away addiction, it can make it only slightly harder to get drug of choice, it doesn’t take away the propensity for addiction, away.

Unfortunately, while it’s a lot easier to identify what barriers we are experiencing as a society when it comes to these threats, it’s a lot harder to find out what it’s going to take to make inroads in reducing addiction and both accidental and intentional overdoses.

But we  can’t just continue to believe it’s the epidemic itself, that’s killing so many people and/or ruining their lives.

Because the truth is, the STIGMA  and reluctance to have an open and honest dialogue is equally to blame.

This can’t continue to be a “don’t do drugs” or “ban all drugs” conversation, as prevention initiatives just aren’t working for so many. I’m in no way discounting them. They have value, it’s just not enough.

It has to become, why we are a globally, humans who can be prone to addictions of different natures that can be life ruining and life ending for almost anyone and everyone, which almost all of us, know someone who’s life has been ended too soon or ruined due to addiction, as well as loved ones who are effected by these crisies.

How many people are going to have to die, until the dialogues start and more initiatives are in place for study of, evaluation and better treatment options of disease of addiction themselves that don’t have the potential to lead to other addictions or other potential serious medical/mental health issues????

Note: I’m hoping this starts an honest dialogue to help. I always appreciate differing opinions if shared respectfully and responsibly.

Any comments that could be potentially triggering or are not constructive, will NOT published.

(Edit Note: Unfortunately, slight edits that were made before publishing didn’t take when blog was posted. It didn’t effect greatly my intention with this blog, just clarifying that I apologize that, it wasn’t as clear as intended it to be, from the start but also with the fact for new readers, I am a disabled blogger who writes about disabilities, in addition to topics like this one, that I feel passionately about)

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“MD-PTSD”….When doctors do more harm than help…

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I hoped that the next blog that I would write, would be in the realm of activism regarding mental health,  not talking about another devastating encounter with a new physician.

I admit that I  not an easy patient to treat. As I’ve said in previous blogs that my disabilities make it hard to express myself in logical sequence of order and in complete thought processes, which can make me difficult to understand.

It’s compounded a bazillion times, between anxiety, due to the fact I do have mental health issues, I have temporarily abused drugs, twice, in my life, that I’m quite forthcoming in this blog about that and the labeling I’ve experienced.

I had seen my long term PCP 2 weeks ago. Because we were at an impasse with my medication management, I had agreed to see a pain management specialist to give insight to the both of us, of what would be the best course of action.

As my physician didn’t feel comfortable increasing my dosages and I metabolize meds or have bad side effects to so many medications.

Or they just don’t work at all.

I was able to get into pain management today. I had anxiety of course, which I explained and it was hard for me to be concise.

While the pain management specialist was forthcoming about that she didn’t necessarily agree with my medication regimen, she didn’t agree or understand that after all the doctor visits I’ve had in my life, in the last 10 years between mental health and my gastric bypass complications, that I at this point didn’t want to see a bunch of doctors again and because of the severity of side effects from so many drugs, I didn’t want to try any new medications.

Nor did I want to be taken off the medications that I was currently on.

It was a long intake appointment with the understanding that while she didn’t agree with my being on opiates, that she’d leave that up to my long term PCP and she said, very clearly, that  she wouldn’t interfere with that.

So I did shoot off my prescribing physician, a few hours after I got home, a message of what transpired in my visit with her, while it was fresh in my mind, as I knew that it wasn’t a stellar visit for either one of us.  I detailed what she agreed with my physician, and of her urging me to be under the care of clinical mental health professionals and follow pain management modalities .

Unfortunately for me, I took her at her word that she said she would NOT interfere with my doctor continuing on my current medication regimen. That she appreciated as a pain management specialist, that I am concerned between having mental health issues, that I don’t want to have addiction issues and I would rather not be medicated at all for pain then risk addiction and becoming either a prescription drug addict or trying street drugs, something I’ve never done.

I try to treat myself, from a patient perspective, because I have an addictive personality and mental illness, of knowing that could be the case and it’s a mixed blessing that opiates don’t work as well as they should, because if they did, my circumstances could be a whole different story, and I’d have full blown addiction issues, which I don’t, but it’s nothing short of a miracle that I don’t.

Things that I’m completely honest about. Among other humiliating things in my life.

So imagine my surprise, after shooting my long term physician,  a recap of my visit, tonight, then deciding to check out my after visit summary from my appointment this afternoon, that not only did she think I was somewhat a mentally unstable non compliant  hypochondriac but that she was recommending I get taken off my medications.

Which is a complete contradiction and LIE, from with her at the end of my appointment clearly telling me that she would not interfere with my medication management being done by my long term provider.

Unfortunately for me, it’s my word against hers, a physician.

I’ve had doctors tell me, straight out,that they think I’m a drug addict. I’ve had ER docs when I’d be in the ER for my gastric bypass complications, at Fairview University Medical Center,  even bringing my meds and being compliant with controlled substances, having a ton of them, in their bottles, of them thinking I was drug seeking, when I wasn’t looking for drugs, but diagnostics such as with the pesky intractable projecile vomiting blood due to my ulcers both prior to gastric bypass reversal and after it.

Just based upon the fact I was a bariatric patient with my one and only suicide attempt, trying to use controlled substances to intentionally overdose, that’s explained on my 1st blog on here, in greater detail .

As well as being honest about an inability to be compliant on non controlled substances like ibuprofen (which I didn’t take much of prior to my gastric bypass reversal or of meds like Imitrex, PPIs, and meds in other therapy classes, other than controlled subtances, because I metabolize medications so bizarrely).

Which I’ve been quite forthcoming with providers as well on this blog. There are shades of grey, with patients’s prescription drug use. I’m obviously not compliant with most meds, it’s impossible to be, because my tolerance to so many meds, in so many therapy classes, not just with narcotics, is so high. But I by no means habitually abuse controlled substances, something that she said herself and somewhat congratulated me for, towards the end of my appointment.

Both unfortunately for me and HER, the pain management specialist I saw today,  I did do a Google search before my appointment, to get an idea of her medication philosophies (usually pro Butrans, something she thought I should consider, but apprently not, given her recommendation to my long term provider).

I also found that she nearly had her OWN license suspended due to drugs. Almost 2 years ago and the conditions of her “stay of suspension”, so that she could keep practicing medicine. Her conditions of being able to retain her license, which she is now under, is the fact she can’t be in possession or write a script for controlled substances for 5 years, in addition to other requirements for her to retain her  license and/or be eligible to apply for losing those conditions.

I don’t take any satisfaction in that. Both as a patient and as an advocate who’s trying to de-stigmatize and create dialogue about drug addiction amongst both providers and patients.

As well as in doing all the research I had to do past blogs, as a medical activist, as well as make an informed decision about my medication management I’ve thought about discussing physicians who struggle with drug addiction and trying to de-stigmatize that, too.

Because I fully am aware and sensitive to the fact, that physicians are patients, too.

It’s absolutely  NOT  okay, what I was put through today by her. It’s now going into a weekend.  I can’t talk about this to my own provider, until early next week. I did write a scathing message to the pain management specialist about her lie, and I am now  going to  be filing a grievance against her with the hospital system. And also against the hospital system, themselves.

Which I’ve talked about “md-ptsd” and I have filed one grievance before, with that hospital, which is in another blog.

I’m just beyond stunned, of  the hypocrisy that the hospital has, as well as that provider. They have a a more stringent standard of expectations on their patients, that they don’t even have for their OWN physicians. As it’s a travesty that my suicide attempt and being mentally ill, that history is held against me, apparently for the rest of my life by any provider, but her own isn’t?

How is that ethically fair? To not only as me, as a patient but any other patient who is seeing this physician, have any chance to be treated ethically and honestly, as she has bias, in addition to her own mental health issues and addiction issues  that create an inability for her to be effective of in providing fair  care to her patients.

Especially, especially, ESPECIALLY given the specialty she’s treating patients….

Lisa definition of “md-ptsd” (a “Lisaism” you won’t find in DSM V) – extreme psychological and physical distress of seeing clinically trained medical and mental health physicians, due to my being labeled as drug seeking hypochondriac, post epic mental health breakdown and suicide attempt in 2008. But I have also mentioned that I was drug tested prior to being put on opiates, during ER visits, since I had my gastric bypass.

So now, it’s made my “md-ptsd” expotentially  worse. I don’t love when doctors treat me like crap. That’s why I rarely seek medical attention, any longer. What I usually did in the past with unpleasant encounters when I’m being treated clearly with bias, due to having mental health issues, is I leave. I’ve left ER visits, including ones that I needed further attention. I’ve left appointments in the middle of a visit. I can be mean and not mince words, when doctors treat me like an unstable drug seeking hypochondriac, but I only use words and leave, if I’m going to be reactive (which most of the time, I’m NOT) . That’s it.

You want an example of that? Certainly. I’ll say to a doctor when they come off condescencingly and judgemental that I’m a mentally unstable and drug seeking hypochondriac with maybe other bias towards me (such as weight and being a cigarette smoker) that I’ll say “Wow, I didn’t know Walmart had a school of medicine!!!”.

I’m appalled and devastated, though that a pain management specialist with her own drug problems would do that to a patient who admitted everything I’ve said in this and in past blogs, would lack empathy and lie to me.

I’m devastated that I can’t trust most  doctors not to label me for the rest of my life, given my complicated issues with compliance of non controlled substances due to how bizarrely I metabolize most medication or have severe side effects.

I’m incensed as an activist that other patients might have gone through this and they don’t have a voice. I know almost 9 years ago, when I was acutely suicidal and in so much physical pain and had mentally disintergrated, that  I didn’t have a voice and no support. I write this blog, so that other patients don’t nearly lose their lives from being treated this way or have themselves AND their care compromised due to bias.

I’m hoping that if anyone has gone through this, they will message me privately, if they don’t feel comfortable commenting on my blog.

But I am going to fight back, an ethical fight. By filing a grievance and while I said in my very concise message to her that I hope she loses her license, I hope really she learns from this and at least gets reprimanded.

Although if she doesn’t learn from what she did to me today and has done that to other patients, maybe she should NOT be practicing medicine, any longer.

Because no mentally ill and medically disabled patient who’s been as forthcoming with providers, should have to go through what I keep going through with most physicians.

Actually, it’s been my hope as an activist and blogger, for years,  to encourage honest dialogue between patients and providers, whether mental illness is a factor or NOT, that patients aren’t necessarily penalized with non compliance of ANY medication.

Not only does that increase the risk of patients LYING to their doctors, if they are abusing drugs, it puts them at risk of getting involved with street drugs and the risk of safety and or accidental overdose and addiction to them.

And I didn’t fight so hard to stay alive and try to retain what’s left of my sanity, to let a doctor do something so unconscionable like what was done to me, today (It’s still  5-12-2017 in MN), but I’m going to try that some greater good comes out of it.

For both patients AND providers.

Not just for myself, but for many patients who experience bias and compromised medical and mental health care because of bias that physicians carry due to mental illness and other still stigmatized patient disorders.

Wish me luck…

Note: I have no problem publishing differences of opinions, if stated respectfully. And unfortunately my normal disclaimer of “seeking professional clinical trained professional guidance when in medical or mental health crisis”  doesn’t apply, because I’m not at that point but I’m seriously distressed that my anxiety is in overdrive and my medical care has been compromised by a doctor that knew fully my history and lied to me that way.

Especially given how vulnerable I was due to my medical health issues at that appointment and my mental health issues, as it was difficult for me to get to that appointment with my barriers, as I was exhausted physically and mentally frazzled due to some scary encounters on 2 crappy local buses and walking part of the way in the sun, which I have photophobia.

Again, I own what’s multiply frustrating by me, for ANY provider, including the most non biased clinical professional, of what it’s like to treat me. I’m not a fun patient to treat and I can get defensive. I’m wordy and all over the place. But I tell new providers that those are my barriers, from the start.

And the truth is, most patients are vulnerable, in some way, when seeing a provider, especially given all the factors that played in my visit.

Also,  I don’t believe all doctors are bad. Largely due to my long term physician, where we have a stance to agree to respectfully disagree, given what I’ve been through with mental health and having weight issues even with my needing a gastric bypass reversal.

And I realize other Fairview medical professionals who I know are excellent and ethical physicians, as well as other physicians from different hospital systems both locally and globally.

But regardless of a terrible experience with a doctor, I’m going to ALWAYS recommend that if a patient-provider relationship is not working for a patient, that they try to get help from another provider, whether in acute crisis or not.

Just please forgive me for being kind of a hypocrite about not being too terribly excited about seeing new doctors, in the short term, given my circumstances.

Also note: Unfortunately, I had to do some major editing, 10 hours after I first published  this, because I was so frazzled between being in a lot of physical pain and heightened anxiety, which was was made so much worse, after her saying one thing to me and a few hours later, she completely saying another, as far as her final recommendation would be, made this not as clear as I would’ve liked.

This still isn’t clear, due to the fact I am a disabled blogger who writes about disability and bias. But I feel like I’ve honestly and better presented a fair description of what I go through as patient, but at the same time, being fair with providers who have to treat me.

Reflections of a “temporary” Children’s Cancers Activist…(repost)

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(Note: I don’t have the ability to re-blog this. As this blog was originally written and published on 5-20-2014, which was a year after Zach Sobiech died. And I also lack the ability to copy and paste being on my tablet. As well as have the ability in me, to do another Zach Sobiech or try to do another campaign, to raise money for The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at CCRF, other than the paltry donation, I’ll be making today, which should’ve been Zach’s 22nd birthday.

In addition to donating, I also rewatched “My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech”, but I think of him at times, him being local to MN and for the many reasons that I’ve explained, in the other blogs I’ve written about him and his family and how they’ve inspired me.

If you’ve seen the above video mentioned, or you’re local, there still is initiatives to raise money every year at Mall of America. I live 4 blocks way from the new Vikings stadium and sometimes I think of him, and feel sad for him, his family and friends, as well as any one fighting cancer, but in his case, I wish he could’ve lived to do so many things. I wish he could’ve seen the new U.S. Bank Stadium and know that the Superbowl will be there in 2018, to name a few, and the fact he isn’t, takes my breath way.

So to honor the amazing human being that Zach Sobiech was, I felt compelled to reblog, in hopes of raising money, awareness and support, even though I realize I’m not the ideal person to be doing this. I dont really care if you read my blog, in it’s entirety. But if you want to honor him, the links below allow you to do so. Thanks )

  I’m on the 17th and (final) day of my social media campaign to raise awareness regarding children’s cancer, specifically Osteosarcoma which tragically took the life of Zach Sobiech, exactly one year ago today, on 5-20-2013. That’s when I first heard him about him, his family and his song “Clouds” and Soul Pancake videos because it was on People.com.. I started this campaign for awareness and donations to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund on 5-3-2014 which SHOULD HAVE been Zach’s 19th birthday. 

   I wasn’t exaggerating that hearing about him, his family and the song ACTUALLY did change my life. While as I said in my original Zach Sobiech blog on May 3rd, that it did change my life. I already had the life experience of being someone who was on campus from 2006-2010 at Fairview University Medical Center where he was (originally, as Amplatz didn’t open until 2011) , and while I suspected that when I saw the Soul Pancake videos, also exactly a year ago, I didn’t know that for sure, until I read Laura Sobiech’s book “Fly A Little Higher”.   

   So what did I actually learn from this experience in this last year and in the last 17 days???


    1. Don’t put off saying or doing anything that needs to be done today as you aren’t guaranteed in infinite time to get  what you want accomplished…… While my life experiences and circumstances have reinforced that, especially because of my memory loss issues, Zach Sobiech drove home how important what we be and what we do in the moment. And not to take that for granted. And be grateful for the experience.  

    2. Do what you believe in and not be afraid to fight a good fight.  I did that with finally launching this blog last summer. I also did that with filing a grievance against Fairview University Medical Center last Fall, in preparation of my being able to struggle a little less with this task. While I remain focused at this time in raising money for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund, the irony is NOT lost on me, that while I believe that there are many amazing medical professionals affiliated with the Fairview system, as I also have friends employed there in clinical and administrative positions, as well as friends who were extremely satisfied with their experiences there as patients,  they did make it harder for me to get medical treatment then it should have been and that had consequences on my own children. All I was looking was for an apology. That will be though a topic for a future blog. 

    3. Some people are never going to get behind a cause unless it hits home. Or it’s the same few people who you can count on support for anything else, as it applies to social media.  I naively thought that with how horrifying children’s cancers are, that it would be easy for EVERYONE to retweet a link or share a link on Facebook, to raise awareness or make a donation in hopes of a cure or less invasive life extending treatments for children battling cancer. People say about me or think because I’m not raising my children anymore, or that I have so much free time, is why I am doing this. I can’t say I’d be doing this on this level  if I was still was working or raising my kids. I’d be doing something though after spending so much time on campus at Fairview University Medical Center and listening to parents of catastrophically ill kids and meeting those children. After hearing about Zach Sobiech? Most definitely.  I’d be doing something in gratitude that my own children have only been to FUMC once, and that was in Fall of 2010 to visit me after my gastric bypass was reversed and that they have the privilege AND luck of being in great health. 

   4. Because we get sometimes get thrown on paths we never imagine…. I learned most of all that I could take a really bad set of circumstances and use them for greater good for others and myself. Directly as a result of Zach Sobiech, his family, friends and the song “Clouds”.  It won’t change my past but I can change my present and my future, even it means I can only change how I choose to PERCEIVE it.  And I have positively effected other people when sharing my truths on this blog. I also was forced to step out of my comfort zone repeatedly, in positive ways, fortified in strength and some comfort that the song “Clouds” has provided me.

Initially with my campaign not going well to raise money for children’s cancer and my paltry donation to his fund, led me to go to Laura Sobiech’s book signing, a task I wouldn’t done, had it gone well from the start. And I personally got to thank her and explain a little of the profound effect that Zach, her family and his friends had on my life.  I’m learning even with my complex disabilities, I’m stronger and more capable of things, then I give myself credit for. And I wouldn’t have been this way now, if there wasn’t people like Zach Sobiech, his family and friends and if there wasn’t Soul Pancake which I didn’t know about until exactly a year ago. 

    As I’ve said, my disabilities limit my ability to follow through with commitment to things. My commitment to this, I’ve seen through to the best of my ability. While part of me is relieved that I don’t have to be enmeshed in this for too much longer, I will on occasion go in “children’s cancer” activist mode. I realize that is a privilege and due to luck. As hard as it was to ask people to spread awareness or money, I’ve seen up close and personal of how hard is for these families to have to battle children’s cancers. I’ve lived life 2 1/2 times longer than Zach Sobiech was given the opportunity to and he did way more in his 18 years, than I could ever dream to  accomplish.

But at least I’m doing something.  I think of all those kids who no longer have voices, because their lives were extinguished way too early and we will never know what they were capable of and that they had to fight so hard and die such a horrible painful death, so young. Parents who no longer have children and those who no longer have siblings. Children who do make the best if they have battled cancer and survived but they had to fight such a hard and ugly fight but saw beauty in it anyway. I can’t imagine what it’s like to experience it and because I’m grateful that my children are healthy, I will try to continue to do a minute part in hopes to help spread awareness and find a cure, but remaining true to what I’m better suited for in what I normally do activism for. 

    In my last day of trying to raise awareness of children’s cancers , I’m doing one final strong push for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund. Share one of the links I’ll provide. Donate what you’d spend on a cup a coffee. Download or purchase A Firm Handshake’s “Fix Me Up”. I don’t care if I’m associated with this or not. I just hope whoever reads this, if you aren’t doing something. That to honor Zach Sobiech and other children who’ve battled cancer that you do something. Today or any day. Thank you. 

http://www.childrenscancer.org/zach 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zxXAtmmLLc My Last Days: Zach Sobiech Celebrity Clouds Video 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NjKgV65fpo My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iTImZGOtc4 My Last Days: Zach Sobiech, One Year Later 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDC97j6lfyc  Clouds by Zach Sobiech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvSYZHmhIAM Fix Me Up by Zach Sobiech, Sammy Brown/ A Firm Handshake….. It’s what Sammy is singing at Mall of America on 5/4/2014 at Laura Sobiech’s book signing of “Fly A Little Higher” ,that I took when I went to and took picture, featured above. 



Those pictures….

A brilliant blog about the conversation we need to be having about skin cancer, as the month of May is Skin Cancer awareness.

While I’m better suited for mental health activism (which May is also Mental Health Awareness), a local adored brilliant, kind and compassionate meteorologist started a blog, regarding his own battle with squamous cell carcinoma and now trying to raise awareness, support and prevention with this excellent blog.

Ian Leonard...

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately some of us are more aware than others. I am acutely aware of Squamous Cell Cancer, it stole a third of my bottom lip last year. Sadly I have plenty of company. Over 5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Of those, more than 400,000 cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.
I was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. In the depths of Canadian winters we measured snow in feet and rarely saw temperatures above freezing. The folks who were lucky to travel to warm destinations came back to the Great White North with dark tans and smiles. I wanted that tan. I wanted to smile and show off the teeth my parents dental plan had paid for. No passport necessary. No planes or hotels. Instead, a quick 20 minute nap…in a tanning bed. Unlimited tanning…

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