109. May Madness!

I will start with an immediate clarification that this is not a blog post about politics…I mean why bother… Brexit & elections, I think we all know that only those with gold currently lining their wallets will survive anything the conservative government have in mind for the rest of us! I am super uninterested with anything to do with Theresa May. I believe that a woman can be an excellent leader…I am just not sure she is all woman…

May madness in my world hit the day we flew off on holiday….Holiday!!! I hear you cry…I know – utterly foolish. We didn’t go last year before the conference & I didn’t really think it would be a problem to head off for a family adventure in the sunny wonderland that is Florida over Easter.

A perfect mix of family visits, theme parks, dolphins, rollercoasters, amazing food & more walking than most normal humans do in a year…condensed into 2 weeks of fun…I have popped a couple of pictures at the end for those who want the extra jealousy. Suffice to say it was hot…I applied the fake tan generously before I left & despite all that heat and walking around in shorts & a t-shirt all the time I actually had to re-apply fake tan to my legs for a family wedding in London this weekend!

I am proof that it is entirely possible to have a truly relaxing (if 26,000 steps a day can count as that) holiday in the sun without becoming paranoid or burning.

Common sense in the sun is worth it.

May..for those of you that didn’t know…is known in the world of skin as “Melanoma Awareness Month”. In my world, every bloody day is Melanoma awareness month…but for the sake of desperately trying to turn the tide on some seriously worrying statistics it is where patients, the media & a few wise souls will try to advise you that it’s about time you started to think about hats & suntan lotion.

These worrying statistics aren’t exactly unexpected. The rate of deaths in the UK has fallen from 7 a day to 6 a day – thanks to the advances in drug treatments. The rate of people being diagnosed is crashing through the roof & doesn’t show any signs of slowing down until at least 2025.

Oh & by the way…there is a national shortage of dermatologists & there is still no cure other than early detection for Melanoma.

Those who read my blog – you – are generally already aware. It would be like my preaching to those who already know the facts.  But go ahead & share some of the facts that people should know. As far as statistics go, sadly, and of great concern these rising rates will get worse before they get better…much worse.

Of all the men diagnosed with Melanoma, over 40% of them had a Melanoma on their backs.”

“Melanoma is increasing faster than any other cancer in those aged under 30”

Sun bed use before aged 30 increases your risk of Melanoma by 75%”

“It only takes 1 blistering sun-burn to double your risk of Melanoma

May is when the sun really starts to come out. May is when you get caught out the most. In the summer months you might think about sun hats & sun lotion….you are prepared & ready. In May you take a walk on a bright spring morning & get home 3 hours later feeling “tingly”… In May you catch “too much sun” sitting outside the pub on a nice evening…or your child comes homes from school with shiny pink cheeks…You chastise yourself – because in the summer this wouldn’t happen – you are careful. Me too – been there. Not any more…..

I am part of an online support group for Melanoma patients…a fabulously supportive group of people who all have to share the knowledge of what we face. Individuals who apologise to our friends and family for being “bores” when it comes to nagging them about putting on sun-lotion….who feel that we can’t share “too many” tales of Melanoma on our personal Facebook pages because our friends have had enough of us being kill-joys! It’s not that you can’t enjoy the sunshine – I do – I did in Florida remember….it’s just that the general population in the UK think they are immune & they aren’t. You cannot take this away once you have it.

Anyway…soap box stepped off …momentarily!

May is also the month when my “proper job” work gets busy in the run up to events & summer & simultaneously the email numbers to the conference seem to multiply out of control. The Melanoma Patient Conference is just over 6 weeks away & there seems to be an unbelievably huge list of jobs left to do.

I thought that the 2nd year would be easier…less challenging….. I thought that having done it once a year ago I would not have forgotten half the things I did & the order that I did them in & therefore feel as though I am once again a goldfish in an ocean!

Whilst it is stressful, it is also exciting – more than before…this time around I know what to expect…and so do other people & they are looking forward to it! I am rewarded daily by their anticipation!

May is where my life becomes a blur…if it wasn’t already.

As consolation….I will remember that politics are just perspectives…..my family at least are sensible in the sun….and that I have 2 weeks of wonderful memories to keep me going when I suffer pre-conference insomnia as the madness escalates out of control!