On this blog I have repeatedly touched on the massive feeling of gratitude I have for the family and friends, supporters, and community members I have been so blessed to have around me through this skin cancer battle. My kiddos and I could not have survived this ordeal without you. I believe that is one reason why I feel so strongly about supporting others in the melanoma community: to give back in a way that others may need, in case they are not spoiled rotten with loved ones, as I am.
The awareness campaign #MelanomaHeroes speaks to me on an even more personal level though, as it provides the opportunity to publicly thank the two people who make my life worth living: my daughters. Claire and Cass, my right-and-left-hand women. My heroes, melanoma and otherwise.
Not only did they save my life, by encouraging (forcing) me to show that terrible mole-gone-bad to our doctor, but they continue to rescue me in little ways every day.
The loving support they share, with me and with everyone they meet, is a beacon of light on an otherwise very dark journey.
Thought I would share with you some candid photos of our day in Toronto, behind the scenes making the #MelanomaHeroes video. It was a very emotional experience for us, but in our typical three-musketeer style we managed to goof around and have a totally fun day. We laughed..we cried... and I learned a couple of things!
1. Claire admitted, in her interview on camera (although it does not show in the video) that the reason she went with me to so many of my appointments in 2014-2015 was so that she could hear everything that was going on. Here I thought she insisted on accompanying me because she wanted to encourage me to be strong, or she didn't want me to be lonely, or to maybe get some of that delicious mac n cheese at the Druxy's in Odette LOL and it was those things as well, but the main reason was that she demanded complete transparency; she wanted to see my Oncologists too. Fair. Wow.. OK At the outset of my diagnosis my very experienced family physician and I together decided that we would be open with the kids. It's different with every family, but for ours it is better to explain things and be honest about what is going on.
2. I learned that a 14-year old young lady can still quickly humble her clown of a mother by spitting out gum in said mother's hand that appeared at said child's mouth by habit, even though the room was full of artistic professionals trying to film us for a serious topic. Someone giggled from the back - "Ha Claire you just got MOM'd!!"
3. Film studios are very cool. And the white-painted-out rounded corners are super trippy to walk around on. And green screens are really green (we didn't use one, but on the tour we got to see an actual studio in which car commercials are filmed in Toronto).
Here are some photos from this very powerful day. Thank you to all involved - A and team - we heart you.
Oh yes and one other funny moment from the interview-style filming session, my gum-spitting daughter was being a bit smart-alecky before I pulled out the letter that I had written to surprise them with a detailed thank you.
I received the cue from the director, which we had pre-planned: nearing the end of our interview, he said "is there anything else you can think of to say?"
...I paused for a moment, gathering my wits for what I knew would be an emotional moment. And Claire sassed "YAH Mom - you better think of something good!" haha
Little did she know, I did think of something good! And the look of surprise on her face was perfectly captured in the video. I loved it, couldn't have worked better. :-)
Click here to watch the video: