Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cruising for the Cure

I am on the board of directors for  Cruising for the Cure, a classic wooden boat show to benefit pancreatic cancer research.

I don't know much about boats.  I know I like to take photographs of them.  I am not a boat geek like the other board members of CFTC.  Truth be told I get nauseous if I sit in the back seat of a car.  That has gotten worse after cancer, and even though I grew up 10 minutes away from a lake I only learned how to swim about 5 or 6 years ago.

I don't think I told the other board members about that...

I have been involved with this organization for 3 years now.  I love to go out and advocate in public.  I love to see where, in even a small way, I have made a difference.

The boat show came at a perfect time for me.  I have written extensively about my battle with depression.  If my friends haven't read this blog they don't know how hard it has been in the last couple of weeks.  I am not sure why that is, stress of everyday life.  Maybe because I started a second job to help pay the bills.  Either way it has been a rough few weeks.

We had a silent auction on Friday, and the boat show/parade was on Saturday.  Both days were picture perfect.  The last 2 years I didn't ride in the parade, I didn't have any dramamine, and I would rather not get sick in a classic wooden boat. This year I bought some in the hopes I would be able to ride.

And I did.

I was introduced to Suzie and Bob Davies who own the boat Tango.  Suzie is on the board of directors for a local cancer charity.  It was a good fit.

We cruised around all of Torch Lake in the parade.  It felt great to be outside in the sun, with the wind in my hair and the occasionally splash of water from the lake.

I understood why Jane Thie loved boats, and why she loved that lake.

If every cancer survivor could experience that feeling, that would be awesome.

A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.  ~William Wordsworth

Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern time on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What is Mesothelioma?

 Another guest blogger enjoy...
Patients who come to us often have no understanding of the cancer they have. Unlike more well known and common cancers, mesothelioma is not only a pain to try to pronounce, it’s a pain to learn about. Unless you’re up watching late night TV about needing a lawyer for a mesothelioma lawsuit, you’re not likely to understand the tumor that is sitting inside your lungs is caused by asbestos fibers you may have inhaled 30 to 50 years ago.

The symptoms start small. A cough here. A little bit of chest pain. Shortness of breath. When the cancer spreads, nerve function decreases and patients begin to cough and spit up blood. It’s quite a leap from cold-like symptoms to complete neurological collapse. The survival rate for mesothelioma is often not long because it’s so rarely caught in the first stages. Patients rarely connect their cough and discomfort with their asbestos exposure decades earlier.

What’s so frustrating about mesothelioma is that it’s almost entirely preventable. Our patients who come to us did not get exposed to natural asbestos fibers camping or walking in the woods. They were exposed on the job. About one-third of all mesothelioma diagnoses are veterans who worked primarily on ships laden with asbestos insulation in the Navy. The rest are construction workers, electricians, plumbers, blacksmiths, teachers, hairdressers, and the list goes on. We have women who we advocate for that developed mesothelioma from washing their husband’s asbestos-laden clothes.

  As the outreach coordinator, it is my job to help raise awareness about mesothelioma. While it’s hard to remember and a mouthful to say, we’re working on making it a household name. The more people know about the risks of asbestos to their health, the more they may understand that their cough is something to get looked at by a doctor. If we can change cancer treatment to focus on prevention, especially for something as avoidable as asbestos, then we have done our job.

About the guest blogger: Jennifer Bingaman is an Outreach and Awareness Coordinator at the Mesothelioma Center at You can contact her via email at, on twitter @TheMesoCenter, or on Facebook (TheMesoCenter).

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Monster Within

We have all heard the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial.  Most of America was captivated by this case.  Most people are outraged by the verdict.

I didn't get into it.  It wasn't the crime of the century.  Yes it was, and well still is, a tragic story.  Most people think Casey Anthony is a monster, a killer. 

Casey Anthony has, if she is indeed guilty only killed one person.

I have a monster in me.  I didn't know I had it in me.  Many of my friends do as well

The monster is cancer.

This monster kills more than one innocent child.

It kills thousands a year.

Kids like Ellie Potvin:

and MacKenzie Stuck:
Why isn't there coverage every night on the major news channels about this?  Why doesn't the fact that a disease takes so much from so many, kids as well as adults, get broadcast every night?

Where is the outrage?

There is no tangible villain to see, no young mother who would rather party than spend time with her daughter.  No person we can look at and hate.  No one to get angry at.

Like I have said.  I was not captivated by the trial.  I am not outraged by the verdict.  When I look at Casey Anthony I don't see someone scary.

The monster with in me:  (that is a breast cancer cell pictured below)

 potentially in all of us, is a hell of a lot scarier.

Film at 11?

Probably not..

Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern time on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes.