“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States! But most skin cancers can be prevented. Every year — Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer at a cost of more than $8 billion. There are 76,000 new cases of and 9,000 deaths from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays—from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds—is the most common cause of skin cancer. Anyone, no matter their skin tone, can get skin cancer.”
“Being physically active outside is healthy and can help prevent conditions like obesity. But it’s important to be sun smart when playing and working outdoors. Use a layered approach for sun protection. Seek shade, especially late morning through mid-afternoon. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and other clothes to protect skin. Use broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15+ to protect any exposed skin. Sunscreen works best when used with shade or clothes, and it must be re-applied every two hours and after swimming, sweating, and toweling off.”
As I wrote in my very first blog post for Living Well While Surviving Cancer: “I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with any terrible disease and their families.” At times, this refers to me as well. I’m doing my best to be upbeat and live as well as I can EVERY DAY. Sometimes, that’s not easy.
Last month, my wife Linda and I went on a cruise vacation that we were planning for months. The travel and itinerary both seemed within my capability range. Because of my health issues, we prepare carefully and wait until near the date of each of our trips to book everything. And we always get trip insurance.
The first few days of this trip were fine; and we had a great time. I even tried — unsuccessfully — to take a selfie while sightseeing. I may have a lot of skills, but taking pictures with my phone is not one of them. Yes, that is my hand blocking the scenery. LOL.
Unfortunately, there was nothing very funny about the rest of our trip. On the third night of the cruise, I couldn’t stop shivering. And the ship’s doctor decided to send me ashore. We were docked in a good spot and the hospital I was sent to by ambulance was fine.
I was examined right away and admitted to ICU. It turns that somehow I had contracted double pneumonia with sepsis. In addition, I had a fever, low blood pressure, and a low oxygen level. Pretty scary stuff. I was out of it, so I didn’t really know what was going on. However, Linda was petrified (again).
I was in ICU for 6 days. Then, I spent another 4.5 days in a regular hospital room. Thankfully, the excellent doctors were able to mostly “fix what ailed me.” When I was able, we returned home.
How am I now, a short time later? My doctors at home tell me it may take up to six weeks to fully get over this illness. They have also ordered me not to fly for another 6 months or so. Nonetheless, I’m feeling much better today and looking forward to every day as it comes.
What’s my moral of the story? The same one I’ve been preaching to myself for years: Live life every day. We really don’t know what is around the corner. We can only play the hand we are dealt, and make the best of it. Yes, this was not my favorite trip by any means. But Linda and I did have a few good days at the beginning. And we have a LOT of memories to look back on and stories to tell. I LOVE YOU LINDA!!
Of course, we have insurance companies to battle with over my medical care, our return home, etc. That is part of what makes life so challenging.
I wish you all the very best on any travel you have coming up. And above all, stay well!
“At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. All so you can live longer — and better.”
Each month, the organization provides a very useful online newsletter. Here are some highlights from theAugust 2018 newsletter: