I have been meaning to post a new blog entry for weeks now. If only I could divide myself into multiple people - one of me would go to work, one of me would spend her time Cancer Crusading (and the myriad projects associated with that), one of me would take care of my loved ones and settle the "issues" that are currently pummeling me and my personal life, one of me would take care of my Church duties, one of me would go to San Diego or Hawaii or Ireland for a week for a vacation, and one of me would catch up on my sleep.
Alas, I am learning with each passing day that balance is not an art I have mastered, nor will it ever be... Perhaps, there is a reason why someone coined the term balancing act. It is a continual process. Melissa once told me, "Danielle, you take two steps forward, and sometimes one step back, but as long as you keep moving forward, you'll be okay. Everything will be okay." Unfortunately, when I feel asthough I have made progress, learned valuable lessons, improved, and that things are going well, something happens and reality smacks me in the face and kicks me in the shins. My knees buckle, I'm disoriented, and feel as though I'm stuck between a 100 foot wall and 100 foot cliff. I don't want to fall down nor go backward, but I just don't know how to climb the wall to reach what lies on the other side. How can my progress feel as though it is failure? How can I be growing and maturing emotionally and spiritually, and feel so weak, vulnerable, dissatisfied, and even empty? I think that I am taking steps in the right direction, but then reality pierces my heart and leaves gapping wounds that are so overwhelmingly painful that are likely to leave permanent scars.
But there is no need to worry - I will not make this blog be anything other than what it was intended to be, which is to discuss skin cancer-related topics. Forgive me for steering off topic, slightly. I'm now switching gears, and thinking of a few stories that I have been wanting to share with my readers.
On Memorial Day, my friend (and former room-mate) Amy and her husband Curt invited me to go swimming with their family. When Amy called me up to extend the invitation, her husband shouted out from the background "But you can't get mad at anyone if they don't put on sunscreen, Danielle!" To this, Amy's response was: "Danielle will simply bring a bunch of Blue Lizard Sunscreen samples, and that will take care of that problem!" I love that Amy, who was the one room-mate who refused to put on sunscreen, is now one of the most diligent. Needless to say, the crux of this story is that Curt and Amy decided to that we should go to indoor pool to enjoy a sun-safe day of swimming and friends! (Isn't that funny how all the "preaching" about sun safety does make a difference to people?)
Two weeks ago, my current room-mate (whom I rarely, if ever, see) knocked on my door to inquire about a sunburn. "I have been putting on sunscreen, because I'm outside most of the day at the hangar, and I know the sun is intense here in Utah, but I am still getting burnt. It's like I didn't even put any sunscreen on at all." I asked her to show me the bottle so that I could read the ingredients. "Well, this is why you're still getting burnt. First of all, there isn't any zinc oxide nor is there any titanium dioxide in this sunscreen." When I asked her how she put the sunscreen on, and how often she reapplied it, she then asked me "Does sunscreen expire?" I told her "After a year, the sunscreen does expire. Yet, if you put it on everyday like I told you - 20 minutes before leaving the house, 20 minutes after going outdoors, and then reapplying at least every 2 hours, then you won't have to worry about the sunscreen expiring because you will have used it before the year ends." I then gave her a fistfull of Blue Lizard sunscreen samples.
On Friday, one of my co-workers told me that he had read a recent Consumer Report on sunscreens and that Blue Lizard wasn't on there, to which my boss promptly intercepted and said "Are you going to believe Consumer Reports or a dermatologist? I bet the reason why it's not on the list is because it isn't as readily accessible in all grocery stores like the other ones are, but Blue Lizard is good stuff. It's got what you need." I didn't even have to explain the Australian Government's standards on sunscreen manufacturing and ingredients (which are know to be the strictest in the world), how the FDA here in the U.S. fails to regulate sunscreens, how zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work in protecting our skin from UV-B and UV-A, or how SPF works. My boss pretty much explained it for me by the statement above. It was a proud moment for me. While the other guys at work have yet to touch the one gallon pump of Blue Lizard that I bought for the office, at least my boss is a big sunscreen advocate and is helping me encourage the guys at work.
Today, while riding my bike to work, a young woman running and pushing a stroller asked me "I see you ride your bike to work everyday, but you don't look like you get any sun. What sunscreen do you use?" I was taken off guard by this, but nevertheless appreciated the opportunity of telling her about proper sunscreen usage and giving her a handful of samples.
So, yes, I confess: I carry sunscreen samples around with me in my backpack and in my purse and I distribute them liberally to any and all who give me the chance to share the message about sun safety/skin cancer prevention.
Whether you are my room-mate, my boss or co-worker, neighbor, or even Gary Coleman (see my blog about him), I will give you a sample of Blue Lizard Australian Sunscream, and a message about sun safety. I'm a free PSA that runs 24/7. I'm a SunSavvy Geek. And I'm proud of it.
To learn more about how sunscreens work, and how to maximize their efficacy, check out my book ONLY SKIN DEEP? AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE SKIN CANCER PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES available on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. It's available in paperback or as an ebook. You can also a personalized autograph copy of it from The Cancer Crusaders Organization. Please send a tax-deductible check for $25.00 to us at:
The Cancer Crusaders Organization
PO BOX 2076 Provo, Utah 84603