Some of you may notice that I have a new header. It's temporary although I may go with a new variation in June when this one comes down. I wanted to go ahead and mention that the reason for my header is in one week Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness month begins. If you look under the header on the right, I have put up links to the American Dermatology Association site for the Awareness month and to a mole map you can print out as an aid in self skin checks. That site also has links to where people in the U.S. can get free skin cancer screening in May. Some places aren't on their list because I know that many universities and YMCA and other groups have free skin cancer screening in May so you might want to look out for that.
In googling I noticed that there are similar program in Europe and other parts of the world. Belgian has programs for melanoma monday (that's always the first Monday in May). I will be talking more about awareness in May which is appropriate in my part of the world because it falls right before and when so many people are thinking about getting a summer tan or going to the beach. I wanted to give anyone who reads my blog a heads up so they can be on the lookout for events in their area during May. I am a stage III melanoma patient which means that my melanoma spread to a regional site, in my case a lymph node. So far, I've been lucky. I go to regular oncology and dermatology check ups but it's been over three years without my having a recurrence. Whooohoo.
I got a call a day or so ago from the nurse who works with my rheumatologist. Turns out my vitamin D is in the low normal range based on my latest blood work so he's having me take another spiked dose of vitamin D and it will be checked again in 4 more weeks. Vitamin D is important but there are other ways besides sunning to get it. As a matter of fact my doctor said he's had patients who are out in the sun all the time that have a vitamin D deficiency. My D levels have been brought up with supplements from when it was below normal. Even when I try to get a little unprotected direct sun (15 minutes a day), it doesn't seem to help with the effort to bring up my D. Therefore, at this point I'm leaving it to the monitored supplements.
I was disappointed when the nurse called about the vitamin D that she didn't volunteer any information about the bone density scan. I gave her a chance to bring it up before mentioning that I picked up a copy of the results at their office when I went for the D and calcium blood work. When she didn't mention it, I told her I picked up the copy and noticed that I have osteopenia and that the report suggested I take medications which I'm not taking yet. She seemed baffled. After pulling the report she said, does Dr. ____ have your on medications for osteopenia? I said, no, this is my first bone density scan. The only thing he has me on are the D supplements.She said she'd talk to the doctor and call me back. I'm still waiting for that call. It's not a big deal. I'm already on vitamin D supplements which is important in regulating calcium levels. I started taking more calcium after reading the report saying I should have optimal calcium supplements (whatever that means). I am not eager to take the other medication that was suggested on the report. The report was written by the same doctor whose nurse didn't know if he wanted me to do anything new, based on the osteopenia. The point is it's not a matter of him not having his nurse call because he doesn't agree with the report, he wrote the report. Oh well, I guess I'll give them more time but it's been close to two months since I had that scan. The photographs in this post are all from my garden and were taken over the past few weeks. I guess that's it for this jumbled post.