Packing for yourself and your family can be the most difficult part of a summer vacation, but with a few tips from lifestyle expert Jamie Krell, you’ll know exactly what to bring for stress-free travel.
Watch Jamie’s segment on the Today Show.
Have you heard of a mom’s unborn child saving her life? Erica’s daughter Caroline did just that (both pictured to left). Read Erica’s story and how her daughter may just have saved her from Melanoma.
My name is Erica. I am a daughter, granddaughter, wife and mother. Although having my child at the age of 22 was not in my immediate plans, I often say that if it wasn’t for my strong-willed, red-headed little girl I may not have been here to make plans. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and am at complete peace with the bumpy ride I am still on regarding my skin. This is a short version of my journey with melanoma thus far.
Two months after my 22nd birthday I had a six month OBGYN appointment. I always saw a midwife but on this particular day I saw the actual OB and I was wearing shorts, something I rarely did while I was pregnant. He took one look at a spot on my thigh and suggested I see my primary care doctor immediately to have it checked out. This mole had been on my leg for about two years and although it was ugly it was just one of those things I kept putting off getting checked. It was not important to me, after all what could it have been? Just an ugly, unattractive spot I could get taken off for cosmetic reasons? My general practitioner believed it to be nothing but still removed it for further testing. Initially, I was told that it was severely dysplastic and I was sitting on the door step of melanoma. After further evaluation from the pathologist it was confirmed that I indeed had a .68 mm stage 1 melanoma that showed signs of regression.
When I got the news that I had melanoma it truly didn’t hit me that this was a very serious condition. When I got the call from the doctor that I needed to go in that morning I went by myself and was not the slightest bit nervous. I vividly remember the nurse hugging me and telling me that all would be o.k. and I would still be here for my daughter. It was at that point that I broke down crying in the office, hugging a stranger trying to get a good grip on the fact that I not only had cancer but I had the deadliest form of skin cancer.
After that things started moving very fast. I was scheduled immediately for a WLE (wide local excision) and a lymph node biopsy because I had some issues with them around the time the mole originally appeared. Being that I was pregnant, the lymph node biopsy had to wait until my little girl was around seven weeks old. The WLE resulted in clear margins and there was no signs of melanoma in my lymph nodes once they were checked. All was fine until roughly seven months later when another melanoma was found in my groin region. Thankfully that one was an in situ which is essentially stage 0 and is not invasive. Several other biopsies were taken as a precautionary measure which has left me with several keloids scattered around my body. Since then I have had a nevus with pre-cancerous cells which was taken care of with a WLE. I am also currently awaiting results on another biopsy.
One of the biggest questions I get asked about my personal experience with melanoma is how did I get it. When I was sixteen I began going to the tanning bed. As a teenager and even during my collage years I didn’t do the typical rebellious things such as drinking, partying, etc. I was a homebody, an honor student, the type of person who chose to go to bed at 9 on a Friday night. Little did I know, the one activity I was partaking in to make me feel good about myself and boost my self-confidence was the number one thing that could have very easily robbed me of my life. I would tan a couple times a week, use the hottest tanning lotions and tan for about 15-20 minutes at a time. What I didn’t know is each and every time I would lay in a tanning bed I was engaging in risky behavior that could have been fatal. During my tanning years I heard of melanoma and even saw pictures but I always brushed it off as something that would not happen to me or happen many years down the road when I was “old”. I have since found out that skin cancer also runs on my paternal side of the family, something I had no idea about at the time. Unfortunately, ignorance truly is bliss.
In the past two years I have became very educated when it comes to melanoma. I have read and reread the facts, told anyone and everyone who will listen about my story and have became very vigilant with my skin checks. I see my dermatologist every three months and we check and reevaluate areas of concern. My little girl will forever be at a higher risk given my history so sunscreen, monitoring her skin and keeping her safe from the sun is of utmost importance to me. I am also learning to embrace my once tan body that is now a body full of scars, keloids and regularly appearing nevi. If I was to never get another melanoma it would not mean that it is totally over. It would simply mean that there is NED (no evidence of disease). Melanoma education, prevention and awareness will forever play a big role in my life!
Erica Adams – Founder of Astheygrowup.com blog
For those of you that don’t know me, and am I sure there are a few, I am Chad Grigsby and I am a professional angler on the FLW Tour – the PGA circuit of bass fishing. I have had the fortune of competing professionally full time for 10 years. That’s right, I fish for a living. I live in Maple Grove, MN, am married to Bridget and have two daughters – Isabelle, who is 4 and Avrey who is 2.
This year the season kicked off in January on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, FL. Okeechobee is one of my favorite lakes, as I tend to do well competitively there; however, this year wasn’t my best performance- I finished 58 out of 164- but I am excited to go back and won’t complain about being in the Florida sun in January. (Photo: Me in a Coolibar long sleeve protecting me from the Florida sun during practice).
Next I was off to Lake Hartwell in Columbia, SC where I struggled again and finished 120…on to Table Rock in Branson, MO where I finally cracked the top 50! (Photo: Me with my largest bass from Table Rock before weigh in with Isabelle, Coolibar shirt underneath the jersey – amazing that the long sleeves keep you cool and dry when fishing all day in 85 degree weather).
After Table Rock, I was able to head to Scottsdale, AZ with my family, where we celebrated Easter and had fun in the sun! (Photo: My daughter Isabelle after her Easter Egg Hunt wearing a kids Coolibar zip up to protect her Irish skin from the sun rays!)
Next up Beaver Lake in Rogers, AR, which is also a favorite of mine for a couple of reasons. I tend to do well there and that is where I met my wife (I am originally from Michigan- Go Big Blue!).
Well, I will check in again after Beaver, hopefully with a great story of my fantastic performance.
Stay cool. Chad
On a hot, sunny day, long sleeves get a bad wrap. In fact, when it’s hot out, a wearer in long sleeves will endure laughter and ridicule on the golf course and the endless question, “Aren’t you hot in that?” Here’s the good news, if you wear UPF 50+ long sleeves when the rays are pummeling you, you no longer have to contend with those who simply don’t know the secret advantage of long sleeves.
The fact is that when the sun is shining and temperatures rise, UV protected long sleeves keep you safe from sunburn and keep you cooler. Doctors have long recommended wear UV sun protective clothing as a way to prevent sun damage and protect against skin cancer; however what science is now proving that blocking UVA/UVB rays in combination with long sleeves actually keeps us cooler too.
A number of years ago, an inquisitive research team led by C Richard Taylor and Virginia Finch of Harvard University and Amiram Shkolnik and Arieh Borut of Tel Aviv University were puzzled by the ability of the Bedouins of the Sinai to minimize solar heat loads in a hot desert. The study, aptly called Why Do Bedouins Wear Black Robes in Hot Deserts?, measured the people’s overall heat gain and loss in the robes, considering their amount of coverage, long sleeves and the color of their robes.
A volunteer wearing different levels of coverage and different colored clothing was faced into the midday sun in the desert for 30 minutes. Withstanding 95F, the volunteer placed in the Negev desert at the bottom of the rift valley between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Eitat wore either: 1) a black Bedouin robe; 2) a similar robe that was white; 3) a tan army uniform; or 4) shorts (that is, he was semi‑nude).
The results were surprising, but not surprising. Long sleeves and more clothing kept the wearer cooler. As the report puts it: “The amount of heat gained by a Bedouin exposed to the hot desert is the same whether he wears a black or a white robe. The additional heat absorbed by the black robe was lost before it reached the skin.”
As far as desert temperatures in our everyday world, when it’s hot, our bodies sweat as a natural cooling mechanism. Let’s face it, sweat sitting on skin feels sticky and damp. Then often, the temptation is to “release” heat by removing clothes or wearing short sleeves, leading to damaging sunburn. Comfortable loose fitting UPF 50+ long sleeves in a wicking fabric transfers sweat away from skin so it can dry, and it creates a small air flow between skin and fabric to keep it cool while protecting against sunburn and UV damage.
While long sleeves can actually keep skin dry and cool, when it’s exceedingly hot, long sleeves are not a replacement for drinking liquids. Medical professionals will always recommend wearing a sun hat, UV clothing, taking frequent shade breaks, using a UV umbrella for portable shade and drinking plenty of hydrating fluids.
So, the next time friends question if you’re too hot in your long sleeves, you have your answer. Recommendations are for sleeves that are loose enough for some air flow. Long sleeve styles like UPF 50+ wraps layered over a tank top or accessories like UPF 50+ scarves channel air in, around and flow heat out, like a bellows. As for the color debate, it appears dark is not an issue as far as staying cool in the deserts. Nor, would we suppose, it be an issue around the pool or on the boat either.
Source: Strange, but true: science’s most improbable research, The Guardian:
The heat and the hazard: 9 facts about summer health, The Washington Post:
According to recent Mayo Clinic study, the incidence of melanoma has escalated, and young women are the hardest hit. Researchers speculate that the use of indoor tanning beds is a key culprit in the rising skin cancer rate in young women.
“We anticipated we’d find rising rates, as other studies are suggesting, but we found an even higher incidence than the National Cancer Institute had reported using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result database, and in particular, a dramatic rise in women in their 20s and 30s,” says lead investigator Jerry Brewer, M.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatologist.
Researchers conducted a population-based study using records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a decades-long database of all patient care in Olmsted County, Minn. They looked for first-time diagnoses of melanoma in patients 18 to 39 from 1970 to 2009. The study found the incidence of melanoma increased eightfold among young women and fourfold among young men. The lifetime risk of melanoma is higher in males than females, but the opposite is true in young adults and adolescents, Dr. Brewer says.
“A recent study reported that people who use indoor tanning beds frequently are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, and we know young women are more likely to use them than young men,” Dr. Brewer says. Despite abundant information about the dangers of tanning beds, he adds, young women continue to use them.
Dr. Jessica Sparks Lilley, a pediatrician who has dedicated her life to helping children stay healthy, learned the hard way that the risks of getting melanoma from using a tanning bed are real! “The first time I went to a tanning bed, I was fifteen years old and trying to get a little ‘color’ to look good in a beauty pageant dress,” says Dr. Sparks Lilley. “I heard nothing of the risks (which were largely unknown at the time) and never burned. I went about ten times a year after that for various reasons—prom, pageants, and even my wedding. I thought seriously about never going back was after my first pathology lecture dealing with melanoma and the strong emphasis on UV radiation as a cause of skin cancer. My last tanning visit was April 24, 2007, about a week before my wedding…and two years before the cancer diagnosis that changed my life.”
Three years later, Dr. Sparks Lilley is cancer-free and helping adolescents comprehend the risks of using tanning beds. “It’s humiliating to recount my story—I should have known better—but I hope to teach everyone who will listen three important take-home points,” she says.
Dr. Sparks Lilley’s points include:
1. Never indoor (or outdoor) tan.
2. Talk to your physician about health concerns.
3. Take time to take care of your health.
Mayo Clinic release: http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(12)00209-1/abstract
Dr. Jessica Lilley’s full story: http://blog.coolibar.com/doc-learns-hard-way-to-avoid-tanning
I am in my tenth year of battling the beast called stage IV metastatic melanoma, and I am still just as determined to win as I have ever been!
I was originally diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma in April 2003 just as my daughter Emilia turned one. At diagnosis, disease had spread to my lungs, femur and multiple sub cue locations and my prognosis was grave. I completed two and a half years of bio-chemotherapy and surgery at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and had no evidence of disease in 2004. In recognition of the fifth anniversary of my diagnosis, I spent the first five days of May 2008 walking, with my father (pictured above with me), from Napa to San Francisco (77 miles) to personally thank my physician, Dr. David Minor, and celebrate the gift of life. It was truly the walk of my life!
In May 2009 (the same month as my original diagnosis in 2003), I discovered somewhat ‘by accident’ a lump on my side. It was sudden and unexpected by all, doctors included. A biopsy quickly determined the lump was melanoma, surgery was done with no other cancer found, and I launched into an inpatient IL-2 protocol. Unfortunately, three month progress scans (September 2009) showed a new mass, launching a five month bicoastal diagnostic and potential protocol obstacle course. Our search ended as of March 2010, when after three attempts, I was accepted in the phase II PLX4032 trial at the UCLA. I was an early and complete responder to the drug; however, the side effects were severe and unfortunately the disease returned by the end of the year.
With few options available, I had surgery again in January 2011 to remove a tumor, muscle and nodes in my shoulder and was confident we finally had the upper hand. Despite our determination, melanoma is a crazy beast and it quickly returned. After much discussion and debate regarding quality of life, impact on family, and attempts to forecast the future (ha, ha!), we made the decision for me to start on the newly approved drug “Yervoy” (Ipi) in May 2011.
The response to treatment was positive and we enjoyed a few months “in the clear” only to have the end of the year bring the news that the disease had progressed to my brain. Brain zapping commenced (gamma knife) and was followed with another course of Yervoy. Thankfully my brain is showing signs of improvement (that is shrinking tumors!) but the disease in my body has not been stabilized. 2012 began with a storm of research and investigation on “what next” and it was determined that the immediate course of action called for the surgical removal of a mass in my duodenum. The surgery was a challenging one but I have recovered well. Radiation of seven additional tumors followed in conjunction with another round (third) of treatment with Yervoy (Ipi) that will continue until mid summer. Our fingers are seriously crossed as well.
As always, we remain guided by hope, astounded at the community that continues to surround us, very grateful for the incredible scientific advances that continue to provide us with treatment options and determined to live as full and “normal” of a life as we can.
Kari Worth on Caring Bridge
Glenview, IL – The Coolibar Discovery Wide Brim Hat successfully completed the DesPlaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon this past Sunday, May 20, 2012. The hat accomplished this feat while riding on the head of Jeremy Van Ek, amateur but fanatical paddler, and was accompanied on the journey by a Coolibar Short Sleeve Fitness Shirt and a generous slathering of All Terrain Aqua Sport sunscreen. The DesPlaines marathon is a 18.5 mile paddle down the DesPlaines river in the suburbs of Chicago for canoeists and kayakers. It’s the second longest running paddling race in the US, and typically sees 500-600 boats in the race.
“The conditions of the race this year demanded tough protection,” say’s participant Jeremy Van Ek. ” 90 degree heat with not a cloud in the sky, which is very unusual this time of year for the Chicago area. Add to that a stiff wind out of the south, which was the predominant direction we were paddling during the race. I can attest that the double chin strap on the Discovery Hat works very well…the hat was blown off my head twice during the race, but fortunately the chin strap saved it from being lost entirely and kept it hanging around my neck.”
Van Ek also had to say, “The Coolibar gear did well in the race. This early in the year in Chicago us northerners are still all very white from the winter, so risk of sunburn on an unusually sunny and hot day is high. I didn’t have a trace of pink anywhere, even on my face, after a solid 4 hours in the direct sun, in wet and windy conditions.”
The Coolibar/Van Ek pairing turned in a decent finish for their debut event: 10th out of 28 in the men’s long kayak division, and 51st overall of about 600 boats of all classes.
More race updates and product review from Van Ek to come!
Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey tells you how to avoid sunburn and make the most of your Memorial Day Weekend.
Memorial Weekend traditionally marks the unofficial opening to sunburn season and the Friday before has been officially declared Don’t Fry Day. It’s a preemptive strike to put sun damage front and center in your mind. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention wants you to be sun protected; they want you to practice sun safe behavior, teach it, talk about it, and make it as American as apple pie.
You or your loved ones double your risk of getting melanoma (the potentially deadly big C skin cancer) with:
– One severe sunburn in childhood
– 5 or more sunburns as an adult
From now until mid-October I’ll see sunburned skin in my office, at the grocery store, walking around town, and everywhere I go! You know from experience that it’s so easy to “forget” sun protection or to lose track of time at a graduation, wedding, BBQ, softball game, pulling weeds in the garden, etc. It’s why you need to expect it. You’re going to end up in the sun longer than you think, so you need to always be prepared in advance.
There are 5 simple steps for smart sun protection. Do them every day for yourself and your family:
You also need to know that it takes extra resolve to sun protect. Culturally, sun bathing and tanning have been associated with a sense of well-being and the good life. It’s even addictive. I know; I was an addicted tanner until the big reality check that came in my dermatology residency in San Diego: cutting off skin cancer after skin cancer on people just like me. (Click here to read my story Tanning Addiction: Dermatologist’s Personal Story.) A lot of people still haven’t gotten “the memo” and justify their “actinic indiscretions” in the name of vitamin D. Sadly, it’s job security for my kind, so don’t do it.
Heavy-hitting organizations have taken up the charge to change Americans’ behavior. Groups like the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, US EPA, and other federal departments have teamed up to get sun protection front and center on your mind this summer. It starts with Don’t Fry Day and the Memorial Day weekend. See the team that makes up the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention and No Fry Day. If you’re an educator, sign up for the EPA’s Sunwise program to get educational resources for your classroom and a chance to win a real-time TV monitor and other teaching aids for your class.
You can also find additional educational resources at SunAWARE.org.
Have a happy Don’t Fry Day!
Stock up on sunscreen before Memorial Weekend. Coolibar is offering 15% off all CoTZ sunscreen for a limited time only!
We heard from more than 100 athletes in our search for the 2012 Coolibar Athlete Team. We then had the difficult task of narrowing down our list to an exceptional group that we hope will inspire others through their actions. Now, we’re proud to introduce our 2012 Coolibar Sponsored Athletes.
John began competing in triathlons in 2007 and immediately took a liking to the sport. However, in 2010, he had to put his long term goal of completing an ironman on hold after donating a kidney to save a stranger’s life. Now, two years later, John shares how he’s getting back into training after his life changing experience. Read John’s story >
Molly is a Master’s synchronized swimmer. Initially, Molly joined her current team, the Unsyncables of La Mirada, to help arthritic conditions and keep in shape. Now, she competes nationally at least once a year. Preparing for the competitions takes lots of practice, endurance and conditioning to be strong enough to hold your breath and do the complicated movements. Currently, Molly is preparing to compete in Riccione, Italy at the Fina World’s Aquatic Championships in June. Read Molly’s story >
As a certified personal trainer, Kristie coaches others on how to be healthy on the inside, as well as the outside. As a melanoma survivor she’s passionate about sun safety, especially since becoming a Mom. Running is her passion, whether it is on a trail or the city streets. Now she’s taking her passion for running, and sun protection, to reach her goals of finishing an ultra marathon, become a USA Track and Field Masters All American, and reach as many people as possible with the message of sun protection. Read Kristie’s story >
Chad is a professional angler on his 10th year as a full-time pro on the FLW Tour, the top level of tournament bass fishing. He holds seven top ten finishes on the Tour and one win. He spends more than 100 days a year on the water during practice and tournament days, sometimes up to 15 hours! Read Chad’s story >
Elena is a Class A Member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division and a graduate of the University of Iowa where she was captain of the golf team for three years. She is an accomplished player with many individual titles both as an amateur and a professional. Now, blending her experience playing and coaching golf, she’s Director of Instruction through her company, Experience Golf, offering a comprehensive approach to the game including overall performance and player development. Read Elena’s story >
Marion is passionate about windsurfing and racing, traveling across the world to compete. What’s more is that she is doing this at age 16! After training hard, learning from top sailors, and finishing in the top five in three world championships in 2011, her new goal is to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. Read Marion’s story >
Skiing is a large part of Tania’s life. After traveling to a ski resort in Oregon where elite US ski cross athletes were training, she knew it was something she had to do. Even though she has only two seasons of ski cross racing under her belt, she’s titled 2011 USASA Woman’s National Ski cross champion and the USSA Revolution Tour Champion. Tania’s serious about training, despite her setback of having kidney disease, and hopes to qualify for an Olympic spot in the future. Read Tania’s story >
Sara is an avid nature photographer, outdoor explorer and long distance hiker. At this very moment, she is on a 2,663 mile trek from Mexico to Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail. She’ll be living outdoors from April to October 2012, in face of all of mother nature’s elements. Read Sara’s story >
Peter is a tennis guru, having played competitively for almost 30 years. He’s a USTA and CMITA league playing with a 4.5 ranking. He also enjoys staying active outdoors with surfing, skiing and running. In 2011, Peter discovered skin cancer on his back, but he hasn’t let that stop his passions, including finding the time to write a book on tennis! Read Peter’s story >
Jeremy Van Ek
Jeremy—finance professional by day, proud father by night and weekend and adventure racer in any spare time he gets. Adventure racing is an outdoors multisport team competition. Disciplines usually include trail running, mountain biking, paddling and special challenges. Races also range in length anywhere from four hours to 10 days! Read Jeremy’s story >
Coolibar Athletes will share their stories with us throughout their season, so check The Coolibar Blog frequently for updates!
I love running. I have overcome so many obstacles in my life, one being cancer, and running is one of the few things I have semi “control” over. I feel alive and at peace when I run. I am alone with my thoughts and it gives me time to think deeply about many things.
My first half marathon was a huge accomplishment—the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon (RNRLV) 2009. Many said I would never run a race that distance. During the race a friend surprised me on the course. I cannot tell you how big my heart swelled knowing someone supported me. When I crossed the finish, I put my hands over my face and cried. A volunteer had to move my hands to put the medal around my neck. I had conquered another obstacle. My husband and son met me at the finish. It was FREEZING, but I didn’t care. I did it!
That race was the bug that bit me. I started devouring books and magazines on running, hired a trainer and changed my eating habits. I lost weight and started sleeping better.
Along the way I also found a passion for fitness and became a Certified Personal Trainer. I am now studying to be a Certified Coach. As an athlete, I am attempting to transform from a runner who “runs” races to a runner who “races” races. It’s a huge step for me fine tuning my diet and nutrition and training a whole different way. I may never be an elite athlete, but it sure is fun training like one!
I was born and raised in North Carolina (brief moments of childhood in Ohio, and adulthood in Atlanta, GA) now living in the land of Sin City, Las Vegas. People who know me describe me as a friend to everyone I meet.
My life is busy. I find myself training at midnight sometimes just to fit it in. My goals include becoming a USA Track & Field Masters All American in 2012, finishing an Ultra Marathon, bringing an Outrun the Sun Race to Las Vegas and reaching as many people as possible with the message of sun protection.
As a multiple melanoma survivor since age 27, I am passionate about sun safety, especially since becoming a Mom. I have fought and beat cancer multiple times. I fear the day when I will get it again, not if, but when. I want to be as strong and healthy as I can be, in the event I need to fight again. My son’s bright eyes and smile are the reason I train so hard, eat right and protect my skin every day. I want to be the best Mom I can be for him, for as long as I possibly can.
Kristie’s favorite quote: “It’s about you. It’s personal. You’re not racing against anyone else. You only get one first time, so just enjoy the experience.”