Thursday, January 22, 2009

Melanoma News, Videos, and Links, etc.

I have found so much information in the last few years that helped me do what I could for Rachel. There are many websites and blogs that provide information, statistics, news, and support regarding melanoma. I will be from time to time doing what I can to share some of these with you. I will offer a bunch of links at the bottom of the post for you to check out...

One of the most interesting and similar cases of melanoma I have found is the story of Claire Oliver, a young woman who was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 22 and died at the age of 27. Like Rachel, she tanned when she was younger. Like Rachel, she was a very beautiful young woman. Like Rachel she died five years after her initial diagnosis. Below is a short video that could have been shot from Rachel's hospital room or our living room at home. I can't lie to you, it is sad, and is bound to arise emotions in you. It is not long; maybe thirty seconds long or so. But it is powerful. I originally saw this in a post on Miss Melanoma's blog, which itself is one of my favorite resources. Check it out:

I know that has to scare some of you, and it should. No tan is worth dying so young.
Here are a few links for you to learn about melanoma and I will post more as I find them:

Melanoma Patients' Information Page (MPIP)
Melanoma Research Foundation
Melanoma International Foundation (MIF)
Rachel's Memorial on the MIF website (Thanks Lisa!)
National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention

This is just a short list of links; do a Google search on Melanoma or Melanoma Statistics and you will find literally thousands of pages.

One thing I do have to say in closing is a warm and heart-felt thank you to all of Rachel's caretakers at UPMC (Hillman Cancer Center and Shadyside), including her oncology team; Dr. Tarhini, Dr. Appleman, Jan, and Pam, Chuck and the nurses of CTRC; also the fine nurses over at 5-Pav; the Lindas, the Lauras, Faith, and of course Diana. Rachel's mom and I made a trip down there today to tell them how thankful we were for the treatment, the care, the work, the love, and the compassion all of you showed Rachel. You all truly became family to us.

I will be posting more in the near future talking about home health care, Hospice, and the amazing folks that work for those companies. They are people who are not normally thought of until it is too late. Hospice to many means a death sentence; it is not. But they are such a special group of indiviuals that make the job of family caretakers so much more managable. God bless you Linda(s) from UPMC Jefferson, Pam, Sabrina, Danielle, and all of the fine folks at Southern Care.

I will also be posting a few tidbits about lymphedema, a very much unknown condition often brought on by cancer treatments and surgeries. There are very special people like those at TuDor Physical Therapy that assist those that are aflicted with lymphedema.

Keep checking this blog for more stories, memories, education, warnings, and other things I think Rachel would want me to get out to all of you. Lately, my friends and family are trying to get our story put out on a nation and even international forum, like talk shows and news shows. Please, pass the word of our story and her struggle. The more people we can save through Rachel's life and death, the better!
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Tina Sullivan said...

I found your blog on Miss Melanoma's site. I am a 35 year old melanoma survivor and I read your blog through tears. It is devastating to learn of a warrior lost.

My heart aches for you and your family and thank you for your continued efforts to educate others on melanoma.