Monday, August 13, 2012

The sins of my youth … are finally catching up with me.

No, not those kinds of sins.  I never went through a wild child phase (more like slight mischief at the most), but the “sin” of ignorance.   I grew up in a generation that knew little about the dangers of the sun.  I was one of those that assumed you “had to burn, before you could tan”.  I did nothing to protect my skin in my early years.

Then as a teenager and young adult, I was introduced to the beaches and worked 12 hour days selling suntan lotion to tourists in Daytona Beach.  I learned a little bit about sun protection and a little bit more about using aloe at night to help heal the skin.  But, I still didn’t know enough.

I really believe my education wasn’t complete until 20 years ago when I started Absolutely Natural.  It was through exhaustive research searching for the best, all natural sun protection, tanning products and after sun aloes, that I really learned about how to protect yourself in the sun; how to enjoy the outdoors and still be responsible; how to get and keep a healthy, safe tan.

I was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer last week and tomorrow am going in for surgery.  Now, the great news is that it was caught early and the surgery is outpatient and the chances of it being life threatening are very slim.  

The reason for this blog is twofold.  One, I beg you to use proper products in the sun.  Of course, our sunscreens offer the best protection and are the safest to use but even if you don’t buy ours, make sure you use a physical sunscreen (titanium and/or zinc) and make sure you steer clear of the very high SPF values that chemical sunscreen companies are promoting.

Second, please, please, please visit a dermatologist and get regular check- ups for skin cancer.    Doing a self-check is valuable but the only way to be 100% sure, is to let a professional exam you.   A synopsis of the three types of skin cancer follows:

Three Kinds of Cancer:
The two most common forms are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They are referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancer. The most dangerous form is melanoma that tends to metastasize throughout the body and can cause death. There are almost 70,000 new cases of melanoma every year.

Basal cell accounts for 90% of new skin cancers and usually begins as a small dome shaped bump. They can appear very dark and are usually irregular shaped. Squamous begins in the squamous cells which are flat, scale-like cells that form the surface of the skin, the hollow organs of the body and the respiratory and digestive tracts. So, squamous can form in any of these tissues. It most frequently appears on the skin as rough, red bumps on the scalp, face, ears and backs of the hands. It can take 10 years for the cancer to invade deeply into the skin and become fully developed squamous cell carcinoma.

The risks for developing any of these cancers include age, UV exposure in tanning beds, therapeutic radiation and most prominently exposure to the sun.
Skin Cancer claims 12,000 lives a year.  Caught early, as mine was, it usually poses little risk.  Let it go too long and you can, unfortunately, be one of the statistics.

Best regards,

Absolutely Natural Welcomes Michele Smith

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We have a lot of visitors to our Absolutely Natural offices and factory in Melbourne Florida from all over the world. It’s something we enjoy and we welcome anyone who wants to see our facility.

And this week we had a very special visitor, Michele Smith, world renowned softball player and television announcer for women’s softball. Michele is a two time gold medalist in the Olympic Games first in Atlanta in 1996 and again in Sydney in 2000. What an honor it was to have an Olympian in our building and as a huge fan of women’s softball, I have to admit to being a bit awestruck.

 On a side note, those of you who know me well know of my athletic past and most notably 19 years of amateur wrestling through college and beyond. You might be a bit surprised that my favorite team event to watch is not the Super Bowl, World Series or NBA, but rather collegiate softball. The skill level is amazing but what impresses me is the purity of the sport. There is tough competition but also an esprit de corps non parallel in sports today as well as an enthusiasm seldom seen in any aspect of life. If you haven’t watched the College World Series, give it a chance next year.

Back to Michele. Her resume is too long to list in this blog highlighted by the Olympics and All American status during her collegiate days at Oklahoma State University. She relaxes now by training for triathlons and 60 mile bike rides are no big deal for her.

 So, it was thrilling to spend some time with her, and I want all of our good friends and customers from the last 20 years to put Sunday, August 19th on your calendars. That afternoon, Michele is making history again as she will become the first woman to call a Major League baseball game. She will be on the microphone when the Los Angeles Dodgers meet the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The game is being televised on TNT and game time is 1:35 pm.

 Good luck to you Michele.

 Best regards