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Time is Always Too Short

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This blog is kind of all over the place, so I hope you'll bear with me. My feelings are a total jumble.

I am really sad about the death of my former sister-in-law. She was only 50 years old. She was a woman who took care of herself. She was very thin, exercised a lot and watched what she ate. Her hair was always done and she had a standing appointment to have French manicures on her nails and TOENAILS!! She had lovely jewelry and always "dressed to the nines". Some would say she was "high maintenance" but she made a great living as a surgical nurse, so why not?

One of the things she routinely did, for years on end, was indoor tanning.

Now no one has said if her melanoma was caused by years of tanning bed use, but we all know it's bad for us. According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, the incidence of melanoma has increased eightfold among women ages 18 to 39 since 1970. "Melanoma is a new epidemic in young women," says Jerry Brewer, M.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatologic surgeon and author of the study, who admits even he was shocked by these findings. "Other studies have shown an increase, but this study found melanoma occurring in women 705 percent more often. It's astounding."

My former sister-in-law finally went to the doctor with a small spot near her navel, and once it was even diagnosed she was on the downslide to death. Seriously. They did one exploratory surgery but the cancer had already spread to multiple organs. About 5 months later she was dead. Her 17-year-old son has lost a grandfather and a mother within the space of 3 months.

Now with all the information about the dangers of tanning, I think: "What a dumb thing to do to put yourself at risk. What a shame she had to die over something so unnecessary."

But then, I find myself thinking: "WELL, just because you don't care about tanning doesn't mean you aren't just as DUMB or WORSE! Because I *DO* engage in other, self-destructive, risky behaviors. Eating crap is self-damaging. Being 15 pounds overweight (while better than 50 pounds) is still NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I carry a lot of visceral fat (around the middle) which is the worst kind and needs to go. Drinking alcohol is self-destructive, unnecessary, and spikes my blood pressure. I smoked cigarettes for THIRTY YEARS, which of course is THE most preventable cause of early death. Yes, even though I don't tan, I certainly have and continue to engage in behaviors that are risky and will eventually cause my death.

This has been such a wake-up call. My dad's death at age 85 was in the natural order of things. The death of a woman 9 years younger than me has really caused me to look in the mirror, and I'm not happy with what I see. So far I have dodged my own bullet, but only with luck and the grace of God. Now it's time to do better. It's time to earn the days I have in front of me, and honor the body I have been given.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sorry to hear about your former sister-in-law but maybe your blog about the dangers or tanning and making this tragedy real may help someone else avoid the dangers.

    You are also making this a positive in that we can all take a lesson here. I have a lot more work to do and this is a good reminder that time waits for no one!

    Take care of yourself!!


    1650 days ago
    But at least you are trying to take care of yourself.
    1651 days ago
    So sad! Big hugs to you and your family!
    1654 days ago
    I wih that I had something supportive and helpful to say...but I think your blog says it all.
    1654 days ago
  • NANCY-
    We never know how much time we have. But you are so right it is all about playing the cards we have been dealt well and that you have been doing. Sure in hindsight we could have always done better, but give yourself credit for doing so much so well. How many of your contemporaries can do PIke's Peak or the AT Trail with the vigor that you do. I know I do not have your stamina. Perhaps one day I will. That aside... you have made many healthy choices in the time that I have know you. Be kind to yourself.
    1654 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    So sorry for your loss. emoticon
    1654 days ago
    Thanks for writing this. It stirs up so many strong emotions in me I cannot even write a coherent response.
    1655 days ago
    I am cheering for your straight thinking and eloquent writing amidst the swirl of grief and so many other emotions. My heart is heavy for your loss.

    Thank you for sharing openly about this situation. You give me some much-needed clarity and a vigorous shake-awake!! Ahh, what a process it is to put into consistent action what we absorb intellectually....
    1655 days ago

    I understand the wake up call all too well. It is something you either, get right on, or bury deep and try to ignore. I have been, this past april, been ignoring it. I brush and still not totally avoided with diabetes has set me in motion. I am so sorry that this is what it takes to wake some of us up. Know in your heart though, that her death will not be for nothing. It may have just saved the lives of not only you, but others around you. Bless you and your family,

    Gini emoticon
    1655 days ago
    What a courageous and candid blog. My mother died of melanoma and -- however incurred -- not at all a nice way to go.
    1655 days ago
    Yes, sometimes it takes a big shock like that to take stock of your own "stuff." We can all do better.
    1655 days ago
    Bravo!! only we can do something about our own stupid and dumb things that we all are capable of doing but need to stop and consider the risks of doing so...I am so sad about your sister-in-law......and keep you and your family in my prayers but it is inspiring that in the midst of this time of mourning, that you recognize that we all have our own risk factors that need to be addressed and worked better....Our goal is "Being Healthy" I am with you on that.... emoticon emoticon
    1655 days ago
    Your loss is a sad one indeed. It is very helpful for you to do your thinking "on paper" to help you cement your desire to make adjustments in your life in response to her untimely death. It is also motivational to me and to others to take a careful look at what risky behavior we might still be tolerating in our lives.

    1655 days ago
    You have hit the nail on the head with this one and found your thoughts on this to be very organized and focused...right on the money my friend. I just did a rider this past weekend for cancer research and while so much cancer is beyond our control, it is still important to remember there are still things we can control to avoid an early loss like you have experienced. Kudos to you for recognizing that there are all kinds of destructive behavior and to be willing to make a change. Keep up the good work!
    1655 days ago
    I'm so sorry for the early loss of your SIL.
    1655 days ago
    Very good blog!
    1655 days ago
    Sorry for your loss. Your best tribute to your lost friend would be to learn from her errors and live accordingly!

    Make Today the Greatest Day of Your Life

    emoticon Until Tomorrow!

    1655 days ago
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