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Old 12-30-2010
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eryka is on a distinguished road
"What did I save you for," the doctor asked Dan, "if not for you to have a life?"

Melanoma brain tumor 4-1/2 years ago, the original prognosis was not good. Surgery, radiation, rehab, ... then back to the boat, with prognosis excellent. He wears long-sleeve sunblock shirts from LL Bean, long lightweight pants, wide-brim hat, and SPF50 on hands & face. The doctor said that all the damage likely originated in childhood on the farm, but also said that with precautions - and religiously adhering to six-month checkups - nothing was precluded. Even with bimini, be aware of reflected sunlight off the water and put sunblock under your chin.

So if it wasn't precluded for him, its hopeful that you also can get back to your hobby. Wishing you the best, and hoping to see you on the water.
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Old 12-30-2010
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My heart goes out to you. Most of us don't understand how the gravity of your diagnosis. You must feel like you've been kicked in the gut and your mind must be aswirl. The emotional support of those close to you will help but knowledge is key to reduce your well placed anxiety. Start by reading: Understanding Melanoma: What You Need to Know by Perry Robins; MD and Maritza Perez; MD, which will answer many of your questions and debunk many myths.

The next few months scans, endless bloodwork, and other diagnostic tests will be depressing reminders that you may be seriously ill. On the otherhand, you may not. Do whatever you can do to take of the things that you can take care of.

Be brave but reject foolish bravado. Act gracefully although you're afraid. Be mindfull of the stress that your health will place on those who love you. Support them as best you can; it will be good for you.
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Old 12-31-2010
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I had an MM a few years ago, clear now. Keep positive, keep smiling, you'll beat it.

Since the MM I continue to sail, observing the same sensible precautions recommended for anyone.

My MM was most likely caused by the irregular, prolonged sun exposure resulting in blistering that I experienced as a child. Subsequent non-blistering, non-burning exposure during my years of sailing full time in the tropics probably added little to the mix. White collar workers get more MM's than outside workers, it seems.

Anyway, there is sailing after MM, just take normal precautions. Best wishes for a full recovery.
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Old 12-31-2010
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Tim, as a cancer doc (that's how some pat. call me!) I can tell you that you have gotten very good advice here. I would just ask you to read and be smart about sun blockers. It is not enough to just use the "spf number" as your guide, there is much more to it, talk to your doc, get info online, be smart about it and go sailing!
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Old 12-31-2010
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T shirt UV

Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
You are aware that UVA and UVB can penetrate light shirts? If you do, I apologize for being redundant. If you didn't, look into SPF clothing or wear sunscreen even with your tshirts.

Double for the kiddies.
Thanks but yes I already knew that and have a frog's belly white torso to prove it
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Old 12-31-2010
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Do some research on the Internet on melanoma. Find out how deep the cancer went through the layers of skin. Find out more about what your situation is yourself. You might even want a second opinion on the pathology. I did so when diagnosed with prostate cancer, but a second opinion at a medical school by a pathologist specializing in the prostate determined that I had something called poorly differentiated PIN cells, which is not cancerous. This particular misdiagnosis happens about 4% of the time. Doctors are sometimes pessimistic, practice defensive medicine to prevent lawsuits, which adds to the stress placed on the patient. Stress causes suppression of the immune system, not good when dealing with cancer, as there is evidence that the body’s immune system is continuously removing cells that become cancerous. If you find that sailing reduces stress, then sail for your health.

A person can have situations in their life causing stress, feelings that are not inspected by the intellect that need to be looked at. In doing so, a person has to put aside the pessimism of their doctors, perhaps being labeled as a difficult patient in doing so, and look at what is going right in ones life, what reduces stress. Some doctors need to have complete control over their patients; however, doctors cannot really know an outcome for a specific patient because there is so much variability genetically, emotionally, ones support system, too many variables. For a look at stress and its influence on the immune system, take a look at the work by Lawrence LeShan who was a psychologist that dealt with terminal cancer patients. He found that if a person could work out the stressors in ones life, that it was possible to have a cancer cure when diagnosed as terminal. Take a look at his book, Cancer As a Turning Point: A Handbook for People with Cancer, Their Families, and Health Professionals by Lawrence LeShan.
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Old 12-31-2010
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I,m so sorry to here about your cancer. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball but it looks like you are doing all you can to beat this, and even though your odds are split down the middle. I know a Healer, his name is, the Lord God Allmighty,who says," that all things are possible to those who believe". Now is the time to call apon His name you will not be dissapointed. My prayers are with you!
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Old 12-31-2010
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So far I've only had squamous and basal cell tumors. No melanoma... knock wood. Still, the first time the doctor says to you "you have a cancer" it comes as a shock and a wake up call.

Do look into sun-blocking shirts and pants. Wide brimmed hats. Good quality sun screen.

Do not give up on sailing so easily!

(Although, if you still want to give away your boat, I'm currently "between boats" and looking!)
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Old 12-31-2010
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My wife had MOHS surgery two years ago, and after the initial scare, now clean margins and so far so good....We are a LOT more aware of protecting our selves than you would have imagined before.

She was not the "worship the sun" type like me, and seldom was out in it...but we both feel the added cost of UV protection shirts, layers of SPF50 and the like, are well worth it and we have continued to sail/dive/etc

Wish you all the best, and don't give up the sailing until you absolutely have to.
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Old 12-31-2010
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My uncle had a very advanced case of melanoma, he was given a 2-3 month lifespan by the doctors. They said there was nothing they could do for him. His sister and wife immediately started him on a strict macrobiotic diet and his symptoms began to abate. That was 25 years ago! He has maintained the diet and has had no further issues with his health. He is now almost 66 and leads avery active lifestyle. He lives on the beach in Maine, sails, swims in the ocean for HOURS at a time. He spends lots of time outside all year long. He has hiked every peak in the USA (except Alaska) over 10,000 feet. He has hiked many higher peaks as well, in places like Switzerland, New Zealand and beyond. Check out the Kushi institute in Boston, MA for more on the Macrobiotic diet. Positive thoughts and just knowing you will be fine are also crucial. Sailing has got to be a great way to heal sure works for me!
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