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Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yourself

CherryBlossom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
311
This is an incredible video that was made by some strong people discussing melanoma. I know one of the girls mentioned in this video and it still makes my heart break when I hear her friends and family talk about her. Please pass this on... especially since summer is creeping up on us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4jgUcxMezM

What other serious or silly advice would you give your 16 year old self?

If I could talk to my 16 year old self, I would definitely tell myself to have fun and not take it all so seriously. That boy that will hurt you is going to get bald, and although you think it hurts so bad you're going to end up getting over it and laugh about it.

I would also tell myself to enjoy getting my parents to drive me around as long as I can, because driving is a hassle.
 

charbie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
2,512
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Id tell myself to listen more and talk less.
Id tell myself not to smoke...ever. I was an on and off smoker, never super regular, probably 5/day or more when drinking. But 16 was when I picked up my first cigarette and wish I never had. Thankfully I haven't smoked for awhile, but wasted precious time with the few hundred cigarettes I have consumed.


(and id let myself know to go ahead and date whomever, but not to worry bc one day ill meet my match ;))
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

There's a song by Garbage called "When I Grow Up, I'll be Stable." I heard it for the first time when I was 23 or so, and, man, I wanted to go back in time and play it for my 16-year old self.

I'd tell myself never to mix different varieties of red wine, as it leads to a wicked hangover: to travel more, and earlier; to socialize more extensively instead of holing up with a boyfriend in college; to study languages more assiduously; to, for the love of god, avoid credit cards with high interest rates; to take a look in a mirror sans body dysmorphia and realize, yes, I looked fine, and, frankly, better than fine.

To not sweat the small stuff. :mrgreen:
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I would tell myself to enjoy the awesome metabolism while I had it.

I would tell my dumb ass to go to college right after high school, and not decide to just hang out and work.

I would tell myself not to smoke. I wasted so much time and health and money on it. And, it's nasty.
 

VapidLapid

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
4,267
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I would tell myself that nyc art dealers are Satan's ambassadors on earth

and not to smoke.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
17,904
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I would've told my 16 year old self to punk everyone else (punk being a euphemism for the "f" word) and move to Europe. The severe overprotectiveness but dangling of the "big city" and college in front of me (as in, "we're definitely paying for you to go to college") definitely stunted me and thank god I turned out as well as I did. Oh, and there was that whole "you're going to be a self-sufficient young lady, so you never have to depend on a man, but make sure to read this month's issue of Vogue even though you're 12") wasn't quite helpful, either.

So, yeah. At 34, after years of tanning beds and all around sun worshipping, I have crepe-y cleavage already. It's kind of gross. At least my boobs are still on straight, and as high up as they were at 14. Melanoma? Worst nightmare...I feel/fear for anyone who goes through it.
 

risingsun

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
5,549
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Dear 16 year old me,
Do not lay out on the beach for hours at a time, day after day. I know you think you look better with a tan. Do not use tanning beds, they are not good for you. I know that it will be difficult for you to listen to me and believe that looking tan and "healthy," is bad for your skin. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with my first skin cancer. It was a squamous cell carcinoma. It was large and I needed two years of reconstructive surgery to repair the defect to my face. About two years later, I was diagnosed with my first basal cell carcinoma. Don't let anyone tell you that it is no big deal. It may not spread to other parts of the body, but it can grow deep in the tissues. Mine was near my eye. I needed reconstructive surgery. My second basal cell was the least invasive and was simply closed with sutures. It was in front of my ear. Almost two years ago, I was diagnosed with my first melanoma. It was on the back of my arm. It was caught early and removed. I am now checked every three months by either my dermatologist or my surgeon. My second melanoma was diagnosed this past January. It was larger than the first. It was on the side of my leg. It was caught early and removed. I saw my dermatologist this past Monday. She removed two samples for biopsy. If things go well, the diagnosis will be dysplasia, which are abnormal cells that can become melanomas. The worst outcome is that they already have.

Please use sunscreen/sunblock
Limit the amount of time spent in the sun
Reapply sunscreen/sunblock after swimming
Check your body for changes in moles and notice any areas which are new to your skin
Avoid the sun's most damaging hours of the day, between 10am-2pm

I thought i was taking care of my skin. I wasn't. I keep paying the price for it.
 

Autumnovember

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
4,384
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I would tell myself that self worth is everything.
Don't trust everyone.
Be happy if you can call one person your best friend.
Good friends are hard to come by.
Pick your battles.
Don't have a serious boyfriend in HS....this one would be my biggest piece of advice to my 16 year old self.
Enjoy every.single.moment.
Take something good away from every experience

P.S. I responded to your post in my small diamonds thread
 

minmin001

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
2,047
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I'd tell myself to grab those diamonds while the price is still low~ :bigsmile:
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Buy tanzanite, buy paraiba tourmaline... as soon as the stuff starts coming out of the ground!

I'm not sure I'd tell myself anything.. I love my life now and had I warned my younger self away from things my life would not be the one that I am now living and so happy with!

I will add to this that I moved to a lot of different countries and cities and weird jobs, so it was the case that dating the toxic guy meant I lived in x city where I got y job which lead on to etc etc , rather than living in one place where it did make much difference to my location or job whether I dated Mike, or Tom, or Jeff or whoever. I dated some total jerks, but they all led to some big changes that got me eventually to the place I am today!
 

lbbaber

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2011
Messages
691
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

The list is SO long, I wouldn't know where to start!

I have made alot of mistakes in my life BUT I LOVE LOVE LOVE who and where I am today. If I was to change anything, I am afraid that something would be different today---and that would be an awful shame!

Great thread though. I loved reading the different responses :)
 

Black Jade

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
1,242
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I'd tell myself to be nicer to my mom. That she's actually neither dumb nor mean and that I will be VERY grateful for her in about forty years--and also be a mom myself and appreciate that she didn't have to keep doing all the stuff she did for a nasty, ungrateful, mouthy kid.
Thank God, I was nasty but I did listen about the important things (go to school and finish, that guy's not worth it, etc.)

Re:melanoma, I'm grateful my grandmother made a big fuss about staying out of the sun, back in the 70's. We're black and though we're mixed on that side of the family and very fair-skinned for blacks, we are definitely darker than Northern European background/Anglo-Saxon Scandinavian type people. My aunts are often mistaken for Southern European background (Italian/Portuguese), I've got more olive skin than they do. I never understand why white people who are much fairer than I am claim that they don't sunburn, when I have FRIED before (only twice in my life fortunately) and seem to think they are immune to melanoma when my two aunts have just suffered from this and my father, who was my complexion, had some trouble with it, too. After one sunburn (the last one I got, about thirty years ago) my dermatologist at that time told me that one of the things that made him most impatient was black people, mostly much darker than me coming in and claiming they were immune to sunburn when they clearly had it, and not wanting to listen to his advice about sun protection. And when blacks get sunburnt, it's usually accidental (it was with me) because we don't go on purpose to the beach to get darker and certainly not to tanning beds. And we do have some protection, though as he said, not enough to warrant not being careful.
The sun is a wonderful thing and it feels good after winter and you need some for vitamin D, But it's a dangerous thing too. You can actuallly get third degree burns from the sun that are basically like those from a fire. And then there's sunstroke and heatstroke. But its worst when its insidious and you don't know the effects for the next thirty years. My dermatologist told me that getting a sunburn even ONCE vastly multiplies your risk for melanoma, and as you can tell from the video and from other posts, you really don't want to get that.
 

Trekkie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
1,307
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Black Jade|1306774584|2933773 said:
I never understand why white people who are much fairer than I am claim that they don't sunburn, when I have FRIED before (only twice in my life fortunately) and seem to think they are immune to melanoma when my two aunts have just suffered from this and my father, who was my complexion, had some trouble with it, too. After one sunburn (the last one I got, about thirty years ago) my dermatologist at that time told me that one of the things that made him most impatient was black people, mostly much darker than me coming in and claiming they were immune to sunburn when they clearly had it, and not wanting to listen to his advice about sun protection. And when blacks get sunburnt, it's usually accidental (it was with me) because we don't go on purpose to the beach to get darker and certainly not to tanning beds. And we do have some protection, though as he said, not enough to warrant not being careful.
The sun is a wonderful thing and it feels good after winter and you need some for vitamin D, But it's a dangerous thing too. You can actuallly get third degree burns from the sun that are basically like those from a fire. And then there's sunstroke and heatstroke. But its worst when its insidious and you don't know the effects for the next thirty years. My dermatologist told me that getting a sunburn even ONCE vastly multiplies your risk for melanoma, and as you can tell from the video and from other posts, you really don't want to get that.
I'm mixed race. My mother is mixed black and white, my father is just plain white. I guess I mostly look white, with dark hair and dark eyes. I only really look like I have colour when compared with my blond, blue eyed FI.

I have never been sunburnt in my life. I don't go red or even pink, I just go brown.

I don't court the sun but I don't avoid it either. It's a complete non-issue for me.

RisingSun, your post really scares me. It has forced me to make an effort to learn about this whole sunscreen thing. Thank you.
 

princesss

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

For the love of God, use phone cards! If you're going to go gaga over a boy on a different continent, p.h.o.n.e. c.a.r.d.s. It'll save everybody a lot of grief.

You're not fat. Got it? No, seriously. Stand in front of the mirror and say it five times a day. No, better yet, say, "I'm gorgeous and I love my body."

It's okay to break up with a guy just because you feel like it. It's really okay to break up with a guy that you feel like is emotionally cheating on you. Listen to your gut, not your insecurities.

Worry about what YOU want to do. Don't stress about everybody else. Other than a few normal teenage screw ups, you've got a pretty good head on your shoulders, so instead of worrying about what everybody else expects, figure out what makes you happy and GO FOR IT.

You can't control everything. Don't try. You won't listen, but it's a good reminder.

You're not a freak for not having sex in high school. You won't do it, and people will try to make you feel like a total weirdo for refusing, but it's a really, really, really good thing.

Thank God every day for the fact that your parents behave like parents, and that there has never been a day in your life when you doubted that they loved you like crazy. Not everybody is so lucky, and the friends that you envy because their parents don't care what they do end up kind of screwed up.
 

Amber St. Clare

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
1,628
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Stay out of the sun. Even tho you live on a lake, find a derm who can give you waterproof sunblock and USE IT.

That codeine/vicodin pill? Put it down. Not a good idea. Trust me.

Sizee 8 is NOT FAT.

Your parents are WRONG. enuff said.
 

Lauren8211

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
11,073
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I'd tell myself that even though the next 5 or so years of your life will be tough/confusing, it will be worth EVERY STRUGGLE when you finally meet and marry your wonderful husband. Those lessons you learn will provide you with the skills to be successful as an adult.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,039
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I would tell my 16 year old self that someday you will love looking younger. Don't take everything so personally. It usually has nothing to do with you. Follow your own dream not what others dream for you. Be comfortable in your own skin. Wear sunscreen. Let loose once in a while. Remember what you can and cannot control. Don't try to force yourself worrying/changing the things you are powerless over. Keep your head where your feet are. It's okay to be single and like it. Stay away from the "bad boys." I love you. You are a wonderful person and are worthy of love and happiness.
 

risingsun

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
5,549
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Trekkie|1306779976|2933824 said:
Black Jade|1306774584|2933773 said:
I never understand why white people who are much fairer than I am claim that they don't sunburn, when I have FRIED before (only twice in my life fortunately) and seem to think they are immune to melanoma when my two aunts have just suffered from this and my father, who was my complexion, had some trouble with it, too. After one sunburn (the last one I got, about thirty years ago) my dermatologist at that time told me that one of the things that made him most impatient was black people, mostly much darker than me coming in and claiming they were immune to sunburn when they clearly had it, and not wanting to listen to his advice about sun protection. And when blacks get sunburnt, it's usually accidental (it was with me) because we don't go on purpose to the beach to get darker and certainly not to tanning beds. And we do have some protection, though as he said, not enough to warrant not being careful.
The sun is a wonderful thing and it feels good after winter and you need some for vitamin D, But it's a dangerous thing too. You can actuallly get third degree burns from the sun that are basically like those from a fire. And then there's sunstroke and heatstroke. But its worst when its insidious and you don't know the effects for the next thirty years. My dermatologist told me that getting a sunburn even ONCE vastly multiplies your risk for melanoma, and as you can tell from the video and from other posts, you really don't want to get that.
I'm mixed race. My mother is mixed black and white, my father is just plain white. I guess I mostly look white, with dark hair and dark eyes. I only really look like I have colour when compared with my blond, blue eyed FI.

I have never been sunburnt in my life. I don't go red or even pink, I just go brown.

I don't court the sun but I don't avoid it either. It's a complete non-issue for me.

RisingSun, your post really scares me. It has forced me to make an effort to learn about this whole sunscreen thing. Thank you.
Trekkie~ you are the only person who has responded to my post. Thank you. If I can make a difference to one person, my post would have been well worth it. I suggest that you [plural you] have a dermalogist do a full body check once a year. That establishes your baseline. Continue to get yearly checkups unless your doctor finds something and recommends you come more often. If something is caught in the earliest stages, the cure rate is so much higher. Good for you for taking this seriously :wavey:
 

asymons412

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
247
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

I've always been very pale, and while some of my friends used to laugh about my skin, older people have encouraged me to avoid the sun and stay pale! I enjoy being outdoors, but I always wear sunscreen to protect myself (from both the sun and the outburst of freckles that show up on my shoulders! :lol: ). Why tan? Everyone's tan nowadays. :Up_to_something: My skin makes me feel unique.

I would tell 16-year-old me to let go of obsessing over my body weight, to enjoy life and move past what everyone else thinks. To be happy and healthy. I spent much of my growing-up years hating my body, and I feel as if too many young girls are faced with this burden.
 

Black Jade

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
1,242
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

.

RisingSun, your post really scares me. It has forced me to make an effort to learn about this whole sunscreen thing. Thank you.[/quote]

Trekkie~ you are the only person who has responded to my post. Thank you. If I can make a difference to one person, my post would have been well worth it. I suggest that you [plural you] have a dermalogist do a full body check once a year. That establishes your baseline. Continue to get yearly checkups unless your doctor finds something and recommends you come more often. If something is caught in the earliest stages, the cure rate is so much higher. Good for you for taking this seriously :wavey:[/quote]

Yes, thank you for making the post. It is important information.

I wanted to make it clear that it applies to everyone; so many think that this only means fair-skinned blonds and redheads and that's dangerous too.

No one ever thinks I'm white. When my hair is flat-ironed people take me for various things--Latino(which I am in part); North African Arab, Pacific Islander, etc. etc.(which is why I don't flat-iron, but that's another story) but no one would think I am Caucasian by any stretch of the imagination, yet I not only have been sunburned but its been bad enough to have to go to dematologist (as stated above) I just don't think people take this seriously enough. I was at a swimming pool on Memorial Day two days ago with a lot of fair-skinned blond people, I put on sunscreen, quite a lot of them didn't, they all were sitting in the sun (I sat in the shade when I wasn't in the sun) and they ALL were complaining about being pale. By day's end, there were about 5 people sunburnt to some degree or other, 3 of them kids, no one seemed concerned. It's like talking to air. One little girl's feet were so lobster red that they were scary to look at, aand her mother kept saying nothing was wrong, this ALWAYS happens.

I'm really astonished by this thing about it being so horrible to be pale. Pale people are attractive just as they are-- as are darker people; variety is the spice of life. The problem with too much sun exposure probably won't stop until kids stop teasing other kids for being 'white as a ghost' and all the obnoxious things they say (but would never say, in most cases, to people who are not white). and look how admired Pippa Middleton was just a month ago at the royal wedding for being so VERY suntanned (well, for other things too. the whole thing is strange). She was darker than I am naturally! something is wrong with that. They say it was a tanning bed, which is worse than the sun. How often can you really keep warning people?

Trekkie, you're a smart girl not to have burnt yet and to be taking precautions beforehand.
 

aviastar

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
1,190
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Your worth has nothing to do with whether or not that boy wants to sleep with you. He will respect you and your body only as much as you respect yourself.
 

risingsun

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
5,549
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

Black Jade|1306962602|2935640 said:
.

RisingSun, your post really scares me. It has forced me to make an effort to learn about this whole sunscreen thing. Thank you.[

Trekkie~ you are the only person who has responded to my post. Thank you. If I can make a difference to one person, my post would have been well worth it. I suggest that you [plural you] have a dermalogist do a full body check once a year. That establishes your baseline. Continue to get yearly checkups unless your doctor finds something and recommends you come more often. If something is caught in the earliest stages, the cure rate is so much higher. Good for you for taking this seriously :wavey:
Yes, thank you for making the post. It is important information.

I wanted to make it clear that it applies to everyone; so many think that this only means fair-skinned blonds and redheads and that's dangerous too.

No one ever thinks I'm white. When my hair is flat-ironed people take me for various things--Latino(which I am in part); North African Arab, Pacific Islander, etc. etc.(which is why I don't flat-iron, but that's another story) but no one would think I am Caucasian by any stretch of the imagination, yet I not only have been sunburned but its been bad enough to have to go to dematologist (as stated above) I just don't think people take this seriously enough. I was at a swimming pool on Memorial Day two days ago with a lot of fair-skinned blond people, I put on sunscreen, quite a lot of them didn't, they all were sitting in the sun (I sat in the shade when I wasn't in the sun) and they ALL were complaining about being pale. By day's end, there were about 5 people sunburnt to some degree or other, 3 of them kids, no one seemed concerned. It's like talking to air. One little girl's feet were so lobster red that they were scary to look at, aand her mother kept saying nothing was wrong, this ALWAYS happens.

I'm really astonished by this thing about it being so horrible to be pale. Pale people are attractive just as they are-- as are darker people; variety is the spice of life. The problem with too much sun exposure probably won't stop until kids stop teasing other kids for being 'white as a ghost' and all the obnoxious things they say (but would never say, in most cases, to people who are not white). and look how admired Pippa Middleton was just a month ago at the royal wedding for being so VERY suntanned (well, for other things too. the whole thing is strange). She was darker than I am naturally! something is wrong with that. They say it was a tanning bed, which is worse than the sun. How often can you really keep warning people?

Trekkie, you're a smart girl not to have burnt yet and to be taking precautions beforehand.
Thank you, Black Jade, for the additonal information about skin color and skin cancer. I hope that people will read our posts and take this information seriously. Anyone can get skin cancer. Anyone can develop a melanoma. To my 16 year old self: you are no different than anyone else.

ETA: I didn't see your post, Black Jade, when I responded to Trekkie. As of now, two people have commented on my post. My apologies, if I have missed anyone else.
 

CherryBlossom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
311
Re: Dear 16 yr old me. Melanoma & other advice to give yours

risingsun|1306703448|2933259 said:
Dear 16 year old me,
Do not lay out on the beach for hours at a time, day after day. I know you think you look better with a tan. Do not use tanning beds, they are not good for you. I know that it will be difficult for you to listen to me and believe that looking tan and "healthy," is bad for your skin. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with my first skin cancer. It was a squamous cell carcinoma. It was large and I needed two years of reconstructive surgery to repair the defect to my face. About two years later, I was diagnosed with my first basal cell carcinoma. Don't let anyone tell you that it is no big deal. It may not spread to other parts of the body, but it can grow deep in the tissues. Mine was near my eye. I needed reconstructive surgery. My second basal cell was the least invasive and was simply closed with sutures. It was in front of my ear. Almost two years ago, I was diagnosed with my first melanoma. It was on the back of my arm. It was caught early and removed. I am now checked every three months by either my dermatologist or my surgeon. My second melanoma was diagnosed this past January. It was larger than the first. It was on the side of my leg. It was caught early and removed. I saw my dermatologist this past Monday. She removed two samples for biopsy. If things go well, the diagnosis will be dysplasia, which are abnormal cells that can become melanomas. The worst outcome is that they already have.

Please use sunscreen/sunblock
Limit the amount of time spent in the sun
Reapply sunscreen/sunblock after swimming
Check your body for changes in moles and notice any areas which are new to your skin
Avoid the sun's most damaging hours of the day, between 10am-2pm

I thought i was taking care of my skin. I wasn't. I keep paying the price for it.
I am really glad that you posted this, I have not finished reading all the comments, but I do hope that the results go in your favor. I used to use tanning beds too, but stopped when I was around 20. Now I put on sunscreen religiously
 
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