A recent post on the Melanoma Research Foundation’s community list made me sad, mad, and – very thankful for you all. The writer, a newcomer to the community, was venting her frustration at her siblings’ lack of understanding that she is facing a very serious situation – newly diagnosed, recurring melanoma. She wrote: “It is so defeating to know that there will always be a 'next time' for surgery, and stitches, and co-pays. And there will always be another social expectation of a sunny beach get together.”
The understanding from our families and friends – the outpouring of concern, favors small and large, visits, cards, and phone calls – has been so important to us!
- Some of you have come from afar to visit, and one of you gave up all her vacation to be here.
- All of you have been so restrained about calling us or expecting us to call you with every bit of news. We really appreciate not having to go over everything one more time when you can read the details here. That also leaves the phone time for important questions we didn’t think of – and just for keeping us in the loop about what’s going on with you.
- Some of you have plied us with comfort food and sweets – so sweet!
- One of you has spent many hours with me/us when I’m sure you had other things you would rather do.
- Some of you don’t believe in this, but I do: I feel positive energy coming our way.
I can’t imagine dealing with insensitivity from any of you while also going through this stressful time. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!
And now, the biggest understanding is yet to come!
We are going to the beach ...
This should not be a big surprise to those of you who know Robert well. He will not be held down. He will, for sure, slather with sunscreen of adequate SPF; wear a hat; cover up as much as possible and still enjoy himself; and limit the time we spend in the sun.
I understand completely why some – perhaps most – melanoma patients become sun-shy. We have considered all the factors at play here, and unless someone tells us not to, we will not stay indoors. We will hike and walk (and Robert will bike) to enjoy the beauties of the natural world. We will work our bodies and strengthen our muscles. We will breathe fresh air and suck in the smell of the ocean.
And we will be careful! That’s a promise ...