Plants: Real or Fake ?

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HI everyone-

I’m talking about plants!  I had an epiphany of sorts over my proliferation of  fake greenery. It was taking over my house. And, guess what loves fake plants- dust!   We had our annual neighborhood garage sale last weekend and I decided to use the sale as an opportunity get rid of most of my greenery.   Here’s what my garage looked like a week ago:

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Well, I found out after 6 hours of watching people pick over my “treasures” that I am not the only one who is over fake plants!  Goodwill is bursting at the seams this week with stuff from our neighborhood! Ha!  So here is what I am loving at my house now: real plants!

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And, no you are not seeing double.  I bought one of the wood  plant stands at a farmer’s market and then made my own for almost nothing.  Here is the post on how easy it was to make my own.  Real or Fake?

LINKING TO: BACON TIME WITH THE HUNGRY HYPO  CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT  TURN IT UP TUESDAY

Guest Post: Amy from Home Happy Home share her personal story with skin cancer.

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The following guest post is by Amy Regis at Home Happy Home.   When I asked Amy if I could share her story she  was completely on board.  Like she said, if this post encourages one person to schedule a  skin exam or be more diligent with sunscreen, she is thrilled to help!  As we head into the summer the timing of Amy’s personal story with skin cancer is a timely one.  If you get  a chance I know Amy would love to hear from you.

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I have wrote and rewrote this post a hundred times in my head. I wondered if it was something I could even share or wanted to share. Most people who know me have never heard this story. Learning you have cancer isn’t something you feel like shouting from the roof tops. I didn’t tell many people outside of our immediate families because I could never find the words. I didn’t want people to think I wanted attention or was feeling sorry for myself. As May grew closer and closer I knew I wanted to share because May is skin cancer awareness month and my hope is to help spread awareness about melanoma cancer
When I was eighteen I started using tanning beds not a lot but occasionally. My family also had a pool and I would spend my summer days laying out. Fast forward 21 years and I no longer used a tanning bed, but still spent summer days in our pool or outside with my kids.
In the summer of 2013 I noticed a weird spot on my back that was itchy and flaky, I ignored it! My husband also noticed a mole on my back that had grown larger, I ignored it! I went on with my life even though my husband urged me to see a dermatologist. I know I was stupid, but I hated going to the doctor and always found an excuse why I couldn’t go that week. I don’t know why but in February of this year I sat down at my computer and looked up a local dermatologist. I made an appointment for February 14th…Valentines day. I think deep down inside I knew something was wrong, the morning of my appointment I was a nervous wreck. I went in thinking they might want to do a biopsy to check for skin cancer, I wondered if it would hurt. I was in no way prepared for that appointment. My dermatologist took one look at the two spots on my back and her first words were “this isn’t good”, she said they were both melanoma and needed to be removed immediately. They scheduled me to come back in later that afternoon for surgery. The nurse gave me a booklet on skin cancer and I left the office in a state of shock! I remember walking to my van with tears running down my face and driving home sobbing. Later that day my husband drove me to my appointment. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my dermatologist explained that she would be removing a 1 cm. margin of skin from around each site. The surgery itself wasn’t painful, but the shots in my back for numbing weren’t pleasant. Six days later I received the call from my dermatologist, my pathology report was in. Melanoma #1 which was between my shoulder blades came back with clear margins, she believed all of the cancer had been removed. Melanoma #2 on my lower back was deeper and would need further surgery, she gave me a list of tests I would have to schedule and even mentioned chemotherapy. I’m surprised I was able to keep it together on the phone. I was a mess, scared and afraid

I spent the next week going from appointment to appointment. I had to have blood work done, a chest x ray (to see if the melanoma had spread to my lungs), and an eye exam (for melanoma in my eyes). Luckily all of those tests came back fine. On February 25th I had my first appointment with my surgical oncologist. He scheduled my surgery for the 27th as well as a sentinel lymph node biopsy. The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node the cancer will most likely spread to from a primary tumor. I don’t like going to the doctor so I was especially nervous about going to the hospital to have surgery. I was glad to have the surgery scheduled so quickly though so we could just find out what we were dealing with. I was honest with my kids about what was going on, but reassured them that I would be okay. We prayed a lot.

On the 27th I was admitted to the hospital for outpatient surgery. My husband as well as my parents were there. My oncologist removed more skin from melanoma #2 and he also removed 5 lymph nodes from under my right arm. The waiting was the hardest part. I spent every free minute on the computer reading everything I could find on melanoma. I tried to put on a brave face for my family but I was scared to death. I worried that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes or to various organs. I worried that I had waited too long to see a dermatologist. On March 6th I got the news that my pathology results were in. The nurse told me over the phone . The skin from my back was benign and my lymph nodes were all benign. NO CANCER. My husband was with me when I got the news and I was overwhelmed with emotion after the call. All of the stress and worrying was finally over with.

I spent the next few weeks recovering from my surgery. My back wasn’t too sore, but it felt (and still feels like) I had a face lift, like the skin is pulled tight. The first two weeks after surgery I was extremely sore under my right arm. I had swelling due to lymph node draining and it hurt to raise my arm.

It’s now been two months since my surgery and I feel great. I have to see my dermatologist every three months for skin checks and I will see my oncologist again in September. I will always wear sunscreen when I’m outdoors and I’ll be sure my children are protected as well. No more tanning for me, lesson learned

My hope in sharing my story is that it will encourage other’s to get their skin checked. Sure you might be a little embarrassed at getting undressed for a stranger, but the alternative is much scarier! When melanoma is detected early the survival rate is nearly 100%. I also want to encourage other’s to protect themselves from the sun and avoid tanning beds. Thanks for listening. Amy