Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Dear sixteen year old Ryan. You're doing a good job, you're doing well in school and are going to get into a great college and do well in life because of all your hard work. You're going to move around a lot, explore new places and new people and generally have a great time. On May 14th, your 24th birthday, the doctor is going to call you up and tell you you've been diagnosed with malignant melanoma on the top of your back.

As you sit stunned, the doctor is going to tell you that you have a great chance for recovery but he's going to need to cut a hole into your back in order to get the cancer out. As you hang up the phone and linger in a daze, you'll think of all the times that you could of put on sunscreen, but were too busy or too in a rush to do it. You'll think about how thankful you are that your mother made you go to the dermatologist in the first place to get a checkup.

As you sit on the operating table holding back tears because the pain is so great, you'll think about all the ways that you could of prevented this, how you could have been more responsible with your skin. You'll think about how lucky you are that you caught it fast and how some other people won't be so lucky, because they don't know yet. You'll think about how posting a simple video might be able to spread the message of skin awareness better and how maybe, just maybe, you'll save someone's life.