The daily adventures and musings of Suzanne and family while I hold down the fort here in San Diego!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A New Lease on my Forehead!

My little PSA for staying sun safe! If you know someone who is tanning in beds or laying out frequently I would recommend this. I'm not even a worst case scenario. More and more young girls are being diagnosed with skin cancer. One in five people will be diagnosed with some sort of skin cancer within their lifetime. I choose healthy skin from now on! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This is what skin cancer looks like

Can you find it? Yeah, thought so. The above circle is a Basal Cell Carcinoma. It is skin cancer. Fortunately, I became sun smart around 5 years ago. I knew well of my fun yet reckless relationship with the sun and what it could possibly bring to me one day. Years of living near the beach as a child with the pre-sun aware generation, sun drenched sunscreen-free days as a teenager swimming at the beach and practicing tennis August, September and October (some of the hottest months in San Diego) without protection came back to kick me in the ass early in life. I can't even count how many times I was burned. I know I have been sun poisoned on several occasions. Oh and the kicker... I started tanning in what I will refer as the skin cancer chamber, AKA: the tanning bed. Boy did I feel so beautiful with a golden glow! It looked SO healthy! I would parade around in my favorite fashions (and God knows I LOVE to wear clothes) and not feel like Casper. Then I wised up. I grew up. My Husband was freaked out a bit I was starting to turn darker than him. He is part Mexican and naturally tan. I did not want to look like a catcher's mitt when I grew older. 

My history made me more aware of my skin. I would stare at any sign of an asymmetrical mole. More stories about being sun smart were found and heard on TV and in magazines other than the Reader Digest crowd. I started to wear sunscreen on my face every day and stayed in the shade while outdoors. I tried, but not hard enough. They say the damage has been done early in life.

It started out as a tiny pearly bump on my upper forehead (seen on the above picture while in Hawaii). I could barely point it out to people. It stayed and slowly became a bit bigger, but barely. The skin cancer flags went off in my head when one morning I noticed it was scaling over and bleeding. It was indented in the middle. I soon made an appointment to see my primary care doctor who referred me to see a dermatologist. She thought nothing of it, but I knew better. Several months later I finally came around to seeing the dermatologist. I had to point out the tiny lesion. There guess was it was an Actinic Keratosis (pre-skin cancer). They chose to try and freeze it off (cryosurgery) twice within a year. The lesion stayed. It actually got smaller. I was supposed to go in every 6 months, but several more passed. The "lesion" was barely noticeable. I had microdermabrasion done and I was SO pleased with the results. I had my 3rd dermatology appointment a week later.

The dermatologist came in and automatically looked concerned the lesion was still noticeable. They looked again under their special light and ordered a biopsy right away. I was sick. They had said no lesion would be there unless there was cancer brewing under my skin. It could be like the tip of a glacier with all the skin cancer under my forehead. Within the next hour they numbed up my forehead twice and took a tiny cookie cutter of skin off my forehead. I was on my way home until further notice.

I did not hear anything for 7 days and was so excited. No news is good news, right? WRONG. I came in to get my forehead stitches out and found my doctor was at a conference. I left excited to have my forehead back and a promise to wear lot's of sunscreen for the rest of my life along with the senior citizen style hats while in the direct sun. I came home. Eric Skyped me and I received a call at the same time. I answered when I noticed it was from the US Government and when I put two and two together I realized it may be the Naval Hospital. It was my doctor. He mentioned he was sorry he missed me and wanted to tell me in person, but I did in fact have Basal Cell Carcinoma. He wanted to start Aldara immediately. Aldara puts your immune system into hyper drive to try and kill off the cancer cells. It is considered a topical chemo. He told me how it worked and I gasped a bit through nervous laughter. He thought it was the best non-invasive way to try and get rid of the cancer. I was ready to get it over with and start ASAP. I cancelled fun plans and started sun free days right away. I told Eric and cried. One more thing to worry about. I tried to reassure myself what I had was the best type of cancer to have!  BCC is rare to metastasize and grows slowly! Yippee!

The next five weeks sucked. I threw up out of nowhere the first week on the medication and had muscle and stomach aches. I had hot flashes throughout the day. It scared me that this small amount of cream was so poisonous. I read about the awful side effects online and decided that was a bad idea to research and forced myself to stop googling. The last 3 weeks have been full of spine and lower back pain mixed with a massive amount of fatigue. The lesion grew everyday and got uglier. I had to use ALL of the cream. It scabbed over, would crack, then pus from the middle and drain out to the rest of my forehead. I would put the cream on at night and wash it off in the morning as it ripped off my skin and would slightly bleed. I am nearing the end. My doc gave me the OK to cut my cream application in half and stop this week. I am already feeling better other than the part where I want to SCRATCH MY FOREHEAD OFF!!!!

I am not out of the running for Moh's Surgery that will leave a big scar on my forehead. We will see how the lesion heals and if the cancer is still there with another biopsy. It can come back. It may have never gone away. I have increased my chances for Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma. My chance of getting more of these on my face is increased greatly.

Being tan is NOT worth it. If anything, be vain and think of all the photo aging the sun does. I LOVE the outdoors more than your typical person, but now I choose to do it safely. I have invested in SPF clothing some amazing hats and great sunscreen applied properly on my face and exposed body. I bought a super cute parasol. I have large SPF 50 sun tents now for outdoor activities. I have embraced my HEALTHY skin. Eric loves me pale and I am embracing it and rocking it!

  Hoping this six weeks will be the last with my battle of the lesion!

The first week.

My Husband took a few days leave to support me during a crazy schedule! LOVE this man!

 Week Three...that is ALL cancer being attacked.

 Week Four...starting to really hurt :-(

 Thankfully I can rock the you know what out of a hat and have tons of cute ones now! Another reason to shop!

 At my worst.  Week 5

 Week five and over it! My face was so tender and swollen here.

Hoping it does not leave too bad of a scar. Thankful for laser treatment!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pin-Up Photo Session with Beth Cocuzzi of Pussycat Pinups

I had SO much fun on the below photo shoot! I felt these were tasteful enough to share. The rest are going to Eric! Anyone game to come with me next time?!?

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Monday, March 7, 2011

One dress, four looks!

So Macy's was having a killer sale on dresses and I bought a few for Vegas and myself. One was this cute little BCBG number. It looks a bit short in the pic, but it actually hits a little above my knee (a plus to being a shawty). Once I received it in the mail, it ended up being a bit big. It was the smallest size they had in stock so I decided to hold on to it after finding I could use it several ways (as shown below). I love the layering and it is staying in my closet! My tailor can hopefully help me cinch it in a bit, otherwise I will use one of the high waist belts I own. Dress love!

  The Dress

Casual Style

Painting the town Red!

Demure (with one of my fave puffed sleeve sweaters)

Date Night!
With tights.

My Staples

So I have been really reassessing the material items I need and don't need in my life. God knows how much I love to shop and I do wear a lot of clothes, but I also like simplicity and a clean organized closet. The rule is if I haven't worn it in a year, it should GO. I used to make it two years, but found the item just stayed in my closet one extra year as dust accumulated on it. I have been going on a bit of a rampage trying to make more space since we don't have too much of it, but there are some items I can't live without. Others might find this excessive, but hey, I'm happy!

#1: Sunglasses. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE sunglasses!! They keep my eyes happy and help the skin under and around my eyes stay semi-wrinkle free. I swear it is helping me stay away from the plastic surgeon for a few years, so in essence I am SAVING money, right?! And living in "sunny" San Diego most my life I need the protection, especially with my skin cancer scare a few years back. It is imperative I have a some sunnies for each occasion, fashion and activity. I need my fugly joggers for outdoor activity. I need my lightly tinted aviators for those semi-cloudy days. I have the classic Wayfarer that will never go out of style, although not the best for side facial sun protection. I love my big bug-eyed D&G's for lot's of protection and in case you did not notice I have a few back up pairs of my faves. So no debating with me. I'm keeping them all and plan on more, although mommy is staying away from the bank-breaking Chanels from now on.

#2: JEANS!! So this is a pic of my collection AFTER I whittled away the pairs I still loved did not need. Need I even explain why jeans are SO awesome? And unfortunately, for my hubby, I love the expensive ones. True Religion being my go-to brand. But fear not! There are a few Old Navy skinny jeans I own and some cheaper jeggings I adore. Sorry, but not going to pay over $100 for jeggings. So 22 pairs of fantabulous jeans is what I am keeping. I had 30...

#3: Turtlenecks! Yes, laugh now, but I have loved turtlenecks most of my life. Eric's first look at me was in a pic where I was wearing a mock sleeveless turtleneck. Let's just say he was more impressed when he saw me in person. The funny thing is a turtleneck to me could define someone who likes pearl necklaces, Argyle Cardigans, chinos and enjoys clothing from Land's End. This is SO not me. But I could rock a black turtleneck at a club if needed (fat hoop earrings and a smokey eye and I could make it work)! So I have around 18 here alone and trust me (unless this very mild winter stays around till spring) they will be worn! Also great with a pair of jeans. Do I sense a correlation?

#4: My fave shoe. As you can see the streets of Japan destroyed my favorite clog. I loved these. I had them forever and they will be making a trip to my local cobbler who I PRAY will be able to save them. They were so comfy and versatile. Great with jeans, shorts and had height without being over the top. Please keep your fingers crossed these bad ass shoes who have traveled many miles on my feet, can be salvaged.

And yes, there are so many other material items I am excessive about like watches, hoop earrings, velour track suits, cute mom-friendly flats, heels I rarely wear but still salivate over and flip flops, but I will save that for my next therapy session retail outing as well.

The Last Lime

This weekend was a bit sour literally and figuratively. Sophia started with a nasty cough Saturday and we ended up staying home all weekend and breaking some plans we had with family, hence why I am posting. I NEVER have enough time to blog! Sunday she mustered up enough energy to help mommy make organic chicken soup with veggies. I also used the last yellow lime from our tree. We found the BIGGEST web on the tree and one heck of a spider attached. Hopefully she is protecting it from bug predators so she is welcome to stay. Keeping my fingers crossed she brings us a big harvest of limes this season as well. I could seriously write a blog based on just the spiders in our backyard!

    The last of our juicy yellow limes. I LOVE lime flavor!

Guardian of the Kelso Lime Tree. This spider is badass.

Homemade chicky noodle sopa.

Check out the free t-shirt I was given due to my bad Diet Coke habit. This one is going in the PJ drawer if I keep it. Not something I am proud of but I do LOVE Coke even after this study!

Sophia in a better mood. She gets gnarly on this thing.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lazy Weekend

Hey! Back after a long hiatus and figured I would post a little something for the SAHM's. Was a beautiful Saturday today. Sophia and I decided to strike the insane local gas prices this weekend. We relaxed in our backyard, picnicked, and had home fun instead of a beach day. One of the projects we worked on was making new crayons out of all our broken pieces. Sophia has just about every color and restaurant crayon you can imagine (Rubios, Islands, Claim Jumpers). So after picking off massive amount of crayon wrapper and now suffering with sore nail beds, we came up with the following:

1. Use one silicone mold w/various broken crayons in any color combinations that suit your fancy.

2. Bake at 275 for around 15 minutes. You may need to swirl melted mixture with a toothpick.

3. Cool completely. The silicone makes it easy to take out along with making cool shapes. You can also use a regular muffin pan w/a bit of veggie oil sprayed in each cup.

Wha-La! You have a whole new set of fun crayons and have recycled in the process!

Little Miss Artista