Those pictures….

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately some of us are more aware than others. I am acutely aware of Squamous Cell Cancer, it stole a third of my bottom lip last year. Sadly I have plenty of company. Over 5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Of those, more than 400,000 cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.  
I was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. In the depths of Canadian winters we measured snow in feet and rarely saw temperatures above freezing. The folks who were lucky to travel to warm destinations came back to the Great White North with dark tans and smiles. I wanted that tan. I wanted to smile and show off the teeth my parents dental plan had paid for. No passport necessary. No planes or hotels. Instead, a quick 20 minute nap…in a tanning bed. Unlimited tanning for just $29.99/month. It was as cheap as a pair of rubber boots. Seemed like a great idea. Get a tan, take a nap and look healthy. Looking back; it is likely my complete lack of sun safety and those 2 tanning bed naps every week that set into motion the events of the past 8 months. I remember my dermatology appointment. I remember looking at my shoes because I could not look up. That was the moment. It is etched into my memory. I will never forget it. That was the moment I joined 5 million people who are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. 
 I always try to remember that many people are burdened by so much more than me. I am happy that so many have reached out to me. Some want Skin Cancer advice, others want to talk, while some want to listen and even to laugh. It is what we do. I say “we” because 8 months ago I started my journey. 8 months ago I joined this community. 8 months ago I joined this fight and I ain’t quittin. 
Most of us have Skin Cancer from sun exposure and UV rays. The sun, the glorious sun. It is lovely, and it is dangerous. Could it be as simple as wearing sunblock, proper hats and sun safe clothing? Yes, it is that simple. It is THAT simple and yet Skin Cancer numbers continue to grow. 
Go to:  

http://www.coolibar.com

Or

http://www.letsgetgross.com

 
Click on the “let’s get gross” banner and read survivor stories, including mine. Click on surgery pictures, including mine. Be warned; These are graphic pictures, they are not suitable for children. 
Those pictures are the truth. Skin Cancer is gross. Skin Cancer sucks. Skin Cancer kills. 
Thanks for stopping by,
God Bless,
-Ian 

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Author: ianmn

FOX 9 Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard...love my life, love my wife, love my daughters and love my dog...kinda like the cat. I am the #stayskyaware dude.

4 thoughts on “Those pictures….”

  1. I would like to see this posted on FB if it isn’t already.
    Thank you for sharing.😾
    How is the cat? Beautiful cat and Jasper ?

    Like

  2. Ian, Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Say Hi to Jasper. Linda Wright

    Like

  3. I plan on re-blogging this, after I leave this comment, Ian.

    Unfortunately, with having medical, mental health and cognitive disabilities, sometimes it takes awhile for me to make a point.

    I think this was a great a blog and it hopefully will help a lot of people. I know I end up combating when doing my own activism, one of the biggest obstacles in trying to eradicate stigma or fear is “It can’t happen to me” denial.

    The only reason why I’m saying this, is because being local and seeing you on t.v. (well due to my barriers, I don’t watch tv at home, even though I have one) but as smart and funny as you are, as well as I see the compassion you for others and the passion you have for awareness, is that you are really good at what you do, both as a meteorologist and now as a blogger, but getting others to care for such an important cause, like skin cancer awareness, you’d think it would be something people in droves would want to know more about awareness for prevention, but that whole tricky “It can’t/won’t happen to me” denial, is a difficult thing to combat right way.

    Only reason why I’m saying this is, you in between your personal battle and now as an activist, have an amazing voice. Please keep doing this, as you see fit. Just dont take it personal, that it may take awhile for your message to get across, but it’s too important to not keep trying.

    And lastly, what happened to you, ABSOLUTELY wasn’t your fault. While taking preventative measures for so many different health issues is good for human beings, we ARE human beings and no one is perfect. It took reading Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s book When Breath Becomes Air, for me to have empathy that I have for so many others, but lacked in myself.

    Says the redheaded freckled activist/blogger with photophobia who used to purposely get sunburned as a young child, to get positive attention, among MANY really dumb and reckless things I’ve done as a kid and an adult.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Ian

    Like

  4. Reblogged this on unstapledlisa and commented:
    A brilliant blog about the conversation we need to be having about skin cancer, as the month of May is Skin Cancer awareness.

    While I’m better suited for mental health activism (which May is also Mental Health Awareness), a local adored brilliant, kind and compassionate meteorologist started a blog, regarding his own battle with squamous cell carcinoma and now trying to raise awareness, support and prevention with this excellent blog.

    Like

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