My name is Anne. I am a skin cancer survivor and an advocate and a public speaker concerning health and yoga, working with organizations such as The AT&T Women’s Conference, Johnson & Johnson, and Stand Up 2 Cancer. I have also worked with MTV and have appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and on ABC NEWS.
I have started YogaForce LLC, and shortly after that, I began teaching yoga and Pilates to A-List CEOs and Celebrities.
Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments
When I was working at Paramount Pictures in the 1990s, I had a big spot on my back. A strange guy, who was a dermatologist, said that I had skin cancer on my back. He asked me to get it removed because he was sure that it was melanoma. I didn’t give any attention to his advice. But my boyfriend noticed that it was getting bigger, and I was losing weight for no reason.
Finally, I visited a dermatologist who turned white. He said it was surely melanoma. They pumped me with blue dye to figure out where it might have metastasized in my body. They caught it just in the nick of time and got clean margins. It was stage three, Melanoma. I believe that was a pretty high stage. Everything was fine and I passed my five years. I keep going to the dermatologist yearly, and they keep not finding anything. Around 2008, I went to the eye doctor because I had a stye in my eye which wouldn’t go away and kept growing bigger. It turned out to be skin cancer, a basal cell in my eye. So they had to take a third of my eye out.
So I started going to the dermatologist every six months. Everything was fine until 2019. Then I had a bump in my eye, and it was basal cell carcinoma again. It could have been Melanoma. It was the size of a quarter. So they pulled it out. So I keep going every six months to the dermatologist.
The first time the doctor said they had to pump me with blue dye to find out where it metastasized in my body, I was freaked out. It was very scary. There are several things I do to manage my emotional well-being. I like to do yoga. I like to go out and run in the sun, but I put on a lot of sunscreens now and wear a hat. I also like to hike but I wear clothes like this with sleeves. I’m very conscious of not getting too much sun on my body.
Lifestyle and other positive changes
I started doing so much yoga. When I first started yoga, I noticed that I did not like to eat red meat anymore. So I eat a Mediterranean diet, fish, and tons of vegetables and fruits. I’ve been pretty healthy for a long time. So doing yoga and working out makes me really happy.
It’s been good for me to be a spokesperson. I know that I got at least 100 people to see a doctor when they had a weird freckle and it turned out to be skin cancer. So they might not have gone if they didn’t hear about my story. So that is good. That’s positive.
Message to cancer patients and caregivers
Skin cancer is a pretty easy cancer. I mean you can get it out in the nick of time. I had a friend who died of throat cancer. So that’s a very tough cancer that metastasizes and can go anywhere. So, it depends on what kind of cancer you have. So I’m thankful that if I’m going to have some kind of cancer, I’m glad I got the skin cancer. I would not like to have throat cancer or any other type of cancer because it’s much harder to treat. But early detection really saves you. Sometimes it depends on what kind of cancer you have. So my advice is to live every day like it’s going to be your last. Have fun every day you’re living. Because we don’t know but it could be lights out any minute. So you should have fun.
I think awareness about cancer is very important because people don’t understand the gravity of this. If you have a freckle, they don’t notice it. They don’t check if it is getting bigger. I would say that you need to go to the doctor. So it’s very important to be aware.