Are You Killing Cancer?

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I have my moments of grief, hopelessness, loneliness and guilt. I am the widow of a cancer victim, and I have the right to feel these things. I watched my husband die. I am raising our baby daughter alone. Why? Because like most of us, he was exposed to the sun’s rays too often as a child and teenager.

So many people have wondered what they can do for us, and here’s my answer: PLEASE help educate people about the dangers of the sun and tanning beds! If you know somebody who goes tanning, please tell them the story about the young husband and father who “just had skin cancer” and is not here to celebrate his daughter’s first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and first birthday. YES, it can happen to any of us. It’s never too early or too late to take control of the health of your skin. BE SMART.

Let's keep Bryce's final words alive: We're Killing Cancer!!!

33 Comments So Far!

On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 10:21 PM
Steff said:

I proudly wear my UV-free skin for B-Town. I feel like such an idiot now when I see old pictures of myself with BLACK skin in the middle of the winter. What was I thinking?!
On a different note...Today I found myself thinking about the the day Bryce died. Actually, the moment after he died, when Brahms Lullaby started to play in the hallway, welcoming a new baby into the world. A slap in the face? I don't think so. I think it was a tiny miracle letting us know that Bryce's life wasn't ending, but just beginning on the other side. I'm sure he was welcomed just as a baby is welcomed into the world. With loving arms, hugs, kisses, and so many loved ones who couldn't wait to be with him.
You're such an awesome sister Tammy. I'm so glad we get to be sisters forever. I always loved having such COOL big sisters and would look for any opportunity to brag about you and Holly. nyut. Don't forget. I'm here for you WHENEVER you need me!
Love, Steff
PS. I'm the coolest one now ;)

On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 10:32 PM
Elaine Miles said:

Tammy,
You are so right--you do have the right to feel that way. I hope that you can feel just a little bit of Christmas cheer for Dani and yourself. I know it's going to be hard but you've shown us how strong you can be and I know that Bryce will always be near you, helping you to put one foot in front of the other so that someday, you will be able to move on with your life. I have a friend who lost her husband 20 years ago and I remember her saying about a year later that she still really missed him but she was glad for all the prayers that continued in her behalf. Eventually, she said she didn't need the prayers as much as before and she realized that she was starting to heal. Her husband was a police officer and he was on duty at the time of his death. He was chasing a deranged man who was on a motorcycle and the man had a gun and he shot at the policeman. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest but because he had his arm up on the side of the door while driving, the bullet went through his armpit and pierced his heart. She had four teenagers at the time. She has since remarried and is doing well. You'll get through this but don't be in a hurry--you need to take as much time as you want. Just keep hugging and kissing little Dani, because she is an extension of Bryce. What a beautiful gift he has given you! I love you so much. Hang in there.
Aunt Elaine

On Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 9:51 AM
Nathan said:

Tammy,

I have talked to my brother on a couple of occasions to get himself checked. I am sure he has skin cancer, and let him know that I value his life (maybe more than he does). Hopefully his remembering your story will prompt him to get his butt into a doctor and get things taken care of.

On Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 11:21 AM
Carrie said:

What a powerful and convicting post. Thank you, Tammy. Thinking of you daily...

- Carrie

On Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 1:21 PM
Becca said:

In honor of your husband, Bryce, I have told numerous people your story and of your loss and concerns about the damage a person can sustain from the ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Since I do not know you and your family and live in a different state, I feel there is not much I can for you excpet that.
I am sorry for your loss and cannot imagine the pain you feel but understand what I read and have compassion in my heart for you.
Holiday Wishes to you and Dani.

On Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 2:04 PM
Brittani Martin said:

It is good that you know its ok to feel horrible about what has happened in your life. You are going to rise from this tragedy as a warrior against cancer. You are going to bless so many lives! Just like Bryce has, and always will bless yours. I am sure that we are all more aware of this dangerous and horrible cancer. Everyone who has read your story will be on the alert to warn others of the danger. I hope that you can feel some spirit of this season. Stay prayerful, we are all praying for you. Families are Forever!!

-Brittani

On Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 11:30 PM
Barbara Stevens said:

Tammy,

Thanks for your updated posts. I know it isn't easy to keep at it. I will continue to keep Bryce's message alive in my corner of the world.

I know it is baffling when you have told people his story and they continue to tan/burn in high risk behavior. Some people will not learn until they are faced with melanoma even when others try all they can to educate them.

I'm sorry that you have to go through this. I'm sorry that you couldn't be educating others about this horrid disease with Bryce at your side. I'm sorry that you won't have him with you physically for all of those wonderful moments with Dani (and not so wonderful moments!) I'm sorry that Dani has to learn about her dad from other people. I'm sorry that you can't crawl up in a corner and turn off the world. I'm sorry that some people aren't "getting" your message. I'm sorry that your family and Bryce's family has to miss him so terribly. I'm sorry that you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. I'm sorry we can't take all that weight off of you. I'm sorry that the holidays have been coming so quickly after Bryce's death. I'm sorry that you feel alone. Tammy, I'm just so very sorry.

I pray that on Christmas day you are allowed a gift of peace and love and that you feel Bryce's presence. I pray that you can enjoy Dani's laughter and giggles. I pray that you can feel the Savior's love for you. I pray that you can know how many people love you and pray for you and Dani. I pray that you can make it through the holiday.

Know that you are loved by many and that Bryce is at your side holding you up.

Barbara

On Friday, December 21, 2007 at 12:14 AM
Derek Ritter said:

Hey Tammy. You know I'm always there for you, whether instant messages, phone calls, or hanging out.

If you need me, get in touch ANYTIME.

Derek, Lisa, Tana, Anthony

On Friday, December 21, 2007 at 9:11 AM
Cassie Briggs said:

I read your blog yesterday and the timing of it was so weird for me. The night before Ayanna and I had been out shopping. As we were getting ready to pay for our stuff we were in a line where just by looking at the cashier you could tell she was a tanner. The people in front of us asked her if she had just got back from vacation or if she tans. Of course I am thinking of Bryce the whole time, and thinking of how would I approach a someday I didn't even know and tell them "hey you do know your killing yourself right!?!" That is something that for me is very hard to do as I am sure it is for others. I wish I had that gift to just talk to random stangers. I am kicking myself now for not saying something but had an idea. When you here in Cincinnati you said you have a ton of the orange bracelets left over. I say give them out to all your friends and family. Have as many as you can sent out to people and challenge them to give them to total stangers that obviously tan! Get the word out! There are so many people out there that know the dangers of tanning but choose to ignore them. When they see statistics it's all numbers to them. Hearing Bryce's story, knowing this happened to a REAL person and what it has put that person's family through well I know it gave me a wake up call! Just a thought, but hey if no one else is up for it you can send us a whole box. Jeff and I will hand them out! If anyone else has anymore ideas bring them forth! I also thought the T-shirt idea was great! Has anything happened to that? I love you Tammy. Stay strong girl! ((((HUGS))))

Cassie

On Friday, December 21, 2007 at 11:58 AM
Christy said:

I am ghostly white and proud of it! I often warn people of the dangers of tanning, every opportunity I get.

Much love,
Christy

On Friday, December 21, 2007 at 12:23 PM
brenda said:

AMEN sistah!
You are awesome. We are killing cancer. I think about you all the time. Try to make it a special first Christmas for Dani.
lots of prayers,
brenda

On Friday, December 21, 2007 at 1:35 PM
Roni said:

Hey Tammy,

Just to let you know we both went to the dermo guy on tuesday for our check up. Everything looked good. I told him all about your story and showed him the bracelet I continuously wear.

Just want you to know I love you and think of you all daily. If I can do anything I am here for you.

Love,
Roni

On Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 1:51 PM
Gary said:

Tammy, you are brilliant. I have melanoma stage 3/4 (no-one's quite sure!)You, Bryce and Dani are an inspiration. such dignity such positive energy - and a fantastic web site/blog

On Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 7:36 PM
Tami said:

Tammy,
I actually did JUST THIS today to my Dad. I told him all about Bryce and told him that he's not baking in the pool next summer. I really appreciate all that you've done to help us with the information we've needed. Life is too precious to just let it be passed by. Hope you and Dani are doing well. We are all still praying for you.

Tams

On Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 9:13 PM
Jen said:

Tammy- Merry Christmas!!! I hope you and Dani have peace and love in your home. I think about you every day and I will always be in this fight with you. We are still killing cancer and always will be because of you. Love , Jen.

On Monday, December 24, 2007 at 5:03 PM
Barbara Stevens, (Aunt) said:

Merry Christmas, Tammy and Dani!
May you have happy memories of Bryce and the Christmases you had together. I'll be thinking of you especially on Christmas day. I am excited to see you and Dani on Wednesday. I love you, Tammy. Love, Aunt Barbara Stevens

On Monday, December 24, 2007 at 5:15 PM
Bishop B. said:

Tammy,

It's OK to feel all you feel. You are who you are and I wouldn't want that to change. I will continue to pray for you and Dani. While all the feelings flood you life, watch for those that are the most important and hold them tight. The Spirit whispers that everything will be allright. God is in his heaven and his plan is being carried out on our great spaceship planet earth. Bryce is near. Your feelings of great love for him are often a response to his expression of love for you by allowing you to know he is there. Let the love flow both ways.

You are doing great. Fight on.

Bishop B.

On Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 11:21 AM
Teri said:

Tammy & Dani,
You are in our thoughts and hearts today. We pray that you have a very Merry Christmas. It was so wonderful to see you both and hope to get together again soon.
We Love You!!
Teri, Mike & Annika

On Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 6:43 PM
Starla said:

I decided that I can't just read and run and hope that you don't mind me leaving messages on your blog. I pray that today you and your sweet baby girl enjoyed Christmas and that perhaps felt Bryce's presence. I am one who is guilty of spending too much time in the sun and in tanning beds as a college student. I am very careful with my own kids now and they are never outside without SPF and we always try to be outside during the 'non' dangerous hours. (if there is such a thing) I don't enjoy being at a swimming pool or at a beach because I am paranoid of skin cancer because I have learned of too many people losing their lives just because of the sun. My only daughter (I have four sons) will never be allowed to use a tanning bed and I talk quite frankly with my kids about the dangers of sun exposure. I thank you for continuing in your quest to kill cancer. What a courageous way to honor your husband's memory.

On Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 7:17 PM
Tiffany said:

Merry Christmas! Even though you don't know me, you have been in my thoughts today. Just tonight at a family Christmas party, a couple of my relatives were talking about having been tanning in the past couple of days. I jumped right into the conversation and told them briefly of Bryce's story. I told them being tan is NOT WORTH IT. Keep up the fight Tammy. You are motivating more people than you know to make a difference in the war against cancer. Merry Christmas and God bless you and your sweet Dani.

On Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 6:01 PM
Jessi said:

Hey Tammy and Dani,

Just took my 5 yr old son into the doctor last week to have a suspicious mole checked out. Thank you for your awareness and your honesty in this painful process. HUGS! :)

Thinking of you always, and especially during the holiday season.

On Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 3:35 PM
Katie said:

No one in my family tans, and my future children never will either!!!! Thank you so much for your openness and your warning to us all. I hope the holidays were bearable (and maybe even kind of fun!), and I hope 2008 brings you much better luck and TONS of happiness. Still pullin for you! Hope you're well!

On Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 12:07 PM
ML said:

Many months ago I stumbled across your blog and your journal has been so heart felt and sincere that your messages have been poignant and have settled on my mind where I cannot shake them.

Although many things in your journal have touched my heart I wanted to share with you that for almost two years I have gone to many different dermatologists to have a cancer screening.

I am roughly the same age as you and every time I went they did not take me seriously and told me, basically, that I was silly for coming in and definitely did not do a thorough check.

But, as I lifeguarded for many years the worry was with me constantly. I told myself maybe I was silly for going and gave up looking for a person to take me seriously.

But, after your blog, no more. I found a dermatologist that is at the top for cancer screenings, in my area, and had that thorough check. I was nervous and maybe had talked myself into ignorance was bliss but, after the check I found out that I am fine and it has felt great not to worry. When I told her that these other dermatologists didn't take me seriously she wanted to know their names she was so outraged. She said her youngest skin cancer patient was but 9 years old.

Better than that worry-free mind, going to the doctor & reading your blog has given me the courage to keep going back and getting checked. I am determined to keep checking with my doctor and educating myself and others about skin cancer.

Thank-you for the tremendous strength and courage you have for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and messages. You've changed my feelings towards skin cancer and helped me have the desire to learn about it and fight it!

May the Lord be with you. I hope it is of some value to know that you are making a difference and may even save lives. Who knows but that some year down the road, because of your good influence, my life or someone around mine may be saved, let alone others who will read your words.

Thank you again. Best wishes and blessings to you always.


On Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 9:35 PM
Tally said:

Tammy. Though you have no idea who I am, I just want you to know that your story has truly inspired me. You are an example to us all. Wishing you and Dani the best in 2008. Thank you for bringing us all into your life and sharing your story. I will never forget it!

On Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 7:00 PM
matchbox mom said:

Hi Tammy! Just wondering how your holidays were. Been thinking about you and little Dani. I also wanted to tell you that my Mom went to the dermatologist and found some melanoma on her face. They cut it out and it turned into a huge ordeal. She is doing well tho with no sign of any other problem. Thanks for making sure that we're all killing cancer. I'm looking foward to many more years with my Mom...thanks

Tami

On Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 12:57 AM
teresa raines said:

Tammy,
Hello. Although this is alittle late, I am sorry for your loss. This is the first chance i have been able to read your site. I heard of the experience you were going through from my good friend. At the same time i was going through occualar mastatic melanoma with me husband brian. He was diagnosed and past away 61 days later, just before Thanksgiving this year. I have 4 young children. Brian would remind us we are to young to join this club.:) I thank you for your journal. It really helps me to validate and understand what i am also feeling.
my friend told me as soon as she read your site she would never go tanning again.

Thinking of you.
I hope you were able to enjoy the true meaning of christmas this year as it is a time to reflect on the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Because of him we will be reunited with our loved husbands' and be together forever. (but,it sure seemes like it will be a million years till then)
Love, teresa

On Monday, January 7, 2008 at 11:18 AM
Sally B. said:

Tammy,
I just wanted to tell you that you are loved and grieved for and hoped for and prayed for.
Love,
Sally

On Monday, January 7, 2008 at 12:52 PM
Amanda Shirley said:

you are such a strong and vibrant woman. it is obvious why Bryce chose you for eternity. my thoughts and prayers are for you and your sweet little gal.

On Monday, January 7, 2008 at 4:15 PM
brenda said:

Tammy,
You are still in my prayers. I think of you every day. Hope you are doing well.
I love you
brenda

On Monday, January 7, 2008 at 11:18 PM
Barbara Stevens said:

Hi Tammy,

Just want you to know I'm thinking about you and Dani everyday. I hope you are getting through all of this with your loving families.

I wish I could take away your loneliness, anger, pain, depression, and fear. I hope you feel some comfort during this extremely hard time.

Barbara

On Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:52 AM
Gail Berry said:

I think of you almost daily and say a prayer that you will begin to continually feel some peace soon. I thought of you during these holidays and hoped your friends and family were holding you tight ...
XO
Keep posting so we'll know you're doing fine.

On Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:51 PM
kristi said:

Hey,

I just wanted you to know that you have definitely convinced me to always wear sunscreen and to protect my family as well. I just had never given it much thought before, but I will now and forever. Your blog has really touched me and I find myself thinking of you and praying for you often. What a powerful person you are to reach out to so many people. Thank you for your courage and your thoughts. My prayers are with you.

On Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 10:34 AM
Denise said:

Just wanted to say that I went to the dermatologist yesterday to get my moles check out. Nothing too suspicious, but I thank you for putting the idea in my head to finally go. My prayers are with you and your sweet baby girl. You really are an inspiration, even though I don't even know you. Have a great day!

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