Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not me!

“Uh-oh. Look at this,” he motioned to his assistant. Face-down on the examination table in the oh-so-typical and not-so-cute little hospital gown, I realized my worst fears may have just come true.  As my dermatologist searched for signs of skin cancer on my back, I searched for the strength to face what might lie ahead.

“You have skin cancer,” was actually a familiar phrase. Been there, done that. However, my prior experience consisted of basal cell carcinoma – the less severe and slower growing type of skin cancer on my face and chest. My greatest fear had always been - melanoma – the very serious kind – the kind that can metastasize and spread like wildfire if you don’t catch it early. The kind that takes one life every hour.  
“Most likely it’s melanoma,” my dermatologist continued. “We’ll find out what stage when the biopsy comes back,” launching the longest five days of my life.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. More than 1 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. Yes, that’s scary. As with any cancer, early detection is the key. Prevention is even better.

Are you at risk? I’m aware that it is possible that you feel that this couldn’t happen to you. I felt certain that I was exempt. OTHER people get skin cancer. OTHER people need sunblock. OTHER people have to be concerned with the damaging rays. Besides that, it’s a pain in the pale-white-booty to apply this stuff.

But, we’ve gotta’ do it. We’ve got to take the time and effort to protect our skin – ours and our kids. In summation, everyone’s at risk.

The best ways to enjoy an active summer, but lower the risk of skin cancer are to:
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  
  • Seek shade. If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  • Cover up with protective clothing (tightly woven fabrics you cannot see through).  
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount (about a palmful) and reapply after swimming, toweling dry, or perspiring (even on hazy or overcast days).
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck.  
  • Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes.
  • Avoid tanning beds like the plague. They’re 15 times as intensive!
 As adults, we’re also responsible for protecting our children from overexposure to the sun. Kids don’t always “get it.” In fact, they usually complain that applying sunblock is a hassle and delays their fun. So, check out the new scents, fun colors, and cute shapes.

Fortunately, we caught the melanoma on my back early. Following surgery (and many prayers), I can say I’m “C” free again. But I will continuously go for check-ups (modeling the latest fashion in hospital gowns), experience the slice and dice of a biopsy, and anxiously await the results. It’s worth the effort. In fact, compared to the risk of skin cancer, it “pales” in comparison.

I’m passionate that you enjoy your summer – but more importantly – you are able to enjoy a long life to the fullest! 

Join with me in reminding your friends and family that the month of May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Do-over Day!

I’ve often said, “Enjoy today - make it your best day ever because we don’t get a do-over!” But today’s different – it's a do-over day! Here’s why - I’ll begin the day in Sydney, Australia, then fly to Hawaii tonight - actually arriving in Honolulu – this morning! Because of crossing over the international dateline, it’s a do-over day!

Wouldn’t it be great if we had do-over days? Think of the possibilities. Impatient with your child before school? Do-over! Snapped at your spouse for working late? Do-over! Missed an opportunity to show kindness to a stranger? Didn’t take time to share that cup of coffee with a friend? Tasks not completed? Passed on the exercise class? Do-over!

Granted, it’s an unusual circumstance to actually do-over a day, but it’s not too late to place at least one or two priorities on our list each day, every day – love others, choose joy, show kindness, and yes, the biggie – patience. Regardless if your day’s just beginning in Australia - or ending in the States, we can begin now.

If only I could do-over yesterday’s television appearance on the Morning Show in Sydney! I can think of a thousand things I “could-a/would-a” said on their “Happy Families” personality segment! Urgh! Oh well, as we know, not every day’s a do-over. Sometimes we just have to accept that we did our best and tomorrow – thank goodness - we’ll get another shot.

Until then, may this be your best day – or two – ever!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care

Our current government has refused to reflect the mandate of the American people. We have a BIG fight on our hands, but thank goodness - we have an even BIGGER God. Let us rest assured that NONE of this is new news to Him and ALL of this has been - and will be - used for His purpose. HIS will - will be done, regardless of this temporary victory. As you're aware, our country is in desperate need of extensive prayers!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mounds of snow BURIED the spot light in front of our house, but last night the light burst through - shining brighter than ever. Just like when we're in the midst of the winter storms of LIFE, we too, can trust God's light to burst through and shine bright in all circumstances.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Susan Crook Communications: Yada, Yada, Yada - Happy New Year

Susan Crook Communications: Yada, Yada, Yada - Happy New Year

Yada, Yada, Yada - Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I know, I know. Some of us are thinking, “Yeal, yeal, yeal. What’s so great about another new year? It’s another year of bills, another year of rebellious kids or cranky spouse, another year in a disastrous job (or no job), another year of never ending health issues...” Yada, yada, yada.

But hark, I bring you good news of yes - great joy. God is in control! Not me. Not you. The Creator of the entire universe has our agenda set for 2010. And more good news - His plans are to prosper us and bring a hope for our future. His goals for this year are not to harm us, destroy us, sorrow us, or cause us to consume a gallon of ice cream before the day’s over. His plans are - in fact - perfect.

We feeble human beings, however, just don’t have a clue what God has planned for us this year. You see, we’re a bit in the dark on this, but we can confidently trust that God will shine the light on the precise steps we are to take. I mean really - would you make horrible, dreadful plans for your child this year? Nope. Yet God loves you MORE than you love your child (wayward or not), grandchild, or favorite sweater. His desire is for us to love Him - TRUST Him. We may not trust ourselves, but we can trust our loving, all-knowing Heavenly Father.

And just because we aren’t aware of all the great things God has planned for us doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Paul told us (Remember Paul? Think - prison, shipwrecked, beaten, cold, hungry, stoned and left for dead!) in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…’”

For who? For those who work their tail off, worry like no tomorrow, bite their fingernails and get ulcers in the process? No. For those who LOVE Him. That’s it. Love Him.

So on this first day of a fresh, new year I urge you to ask yourself, “Where do I want to be at the end of these 365 days? God has us hanging-out on this earth for a distinct purpose. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to discover our purpose, put feet on our faith, and aim for our goals. What are your goals? What are your dreams? And most importantly, what are you doing to make them happen?

First and foremost, ask God to open the doors - to bless you with the opportunities, situations, and relationships you need to succeed in accomplishing all He has planned for you. Remember, His plans are for our enjoyment so that we can live an abundant life. However, Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy those plans. Who will you listen to?

Start today – break a bad habit, improve your health, learn a new skill, spend more time in the Word, be a blessing, encourage someone, and enjoy your life to the max. Granted, the situations may not change overnight, but we’ll certainly enjoy the process and defeat the enemy’s schemes to make our days as dreadful as possible.

Decide on this day – a new year – a new decade – a new proclamation – this WILL be my best year ever. That doesn’t mean there will be no financial problems, rebellious kids, difficult jobs, health issues, or expanding thighs (a direct result of consuming that gallon of ice cream), but it does mean that we will have victory over all things when we trust in God’s sovereign, perfect, and loving plans for us.

May we all choose to know God and experience a “Happy New Year” all year long. Yada, yada, Yahweh!