Back in January, we featured WYSKer, Carol Brodie, the international jewelry expert and host of Rarities: Fine Jewelry with Carol Brodie on HSN. Carol, continuing on her path of success with her boundless energy and passion, was stopped in her tracks this summer with a diagnosis that is becoming all too familiar. While most of us were battling traffic to the nearest beach, Carol was battling something else entirely, skin cancer.
The prevalence of skin cancer is astonishing. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States with more than 2 million cases found each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012. This is Carol’s journey, which now includes using her passion to bring awareness of skin cancer to others by sharing her story.
By Carol Brodie
While I would love to post pictures of the most beautiful holiday or fantastic new jewel, I can’t. My summer was not about fun in the sun – actually most of the trips that I have taken since June have been downtown to Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. I found out on June 13th that I had a malignant melanoma on my right cheek. It was a tiny freckle that had been biopsied a week before. I did not go to have it checked specifically, I went to have a dermatological facial that a friend told me about, and the doctor performing the facial noticed the freckle and immediately knew it did not look right. Well, that freckle turned out to be CANCER, and after many scans and tests, it was determined that I would need surgery, and a one inch area would need to be carved from the right side of my face to fully remove the cancer cells. The tests ultimately proved that the cancer had not spread further, which was great news.
When I woke up after the surgery, my face was so bruised and cut up and I did not know if the surgeon had been successful in removing all of the cancer cells. I can’t begin to explain the range of emotions that I had experienced… the fear that I would have to go back under the knife was compounded by the fear of what my face would look like – my career is dependent on it. Over the past few weeks I have learned, from a dear friend of mine, that my beauty is not about my face, and that my true inner beauty comes from my heart and soul. I know now that I am so much more than just my face and cancer is real and that anyone is susceptible. This all sounds so simple, but until cancer happened to me, I really hadn’t thought much about it. As a skin cancer survivor, I will preach all day long to wear sunscreen and a hat and that everyone reading this MUST go and get a melanoma checkup if you have not had one in the past 12 months.
Before I went back on-air at HSN this past Saturday, it had only been four weeks since my surgery. I was definitely nervous. I hadn’t yet taken off the silicon strips that I had been wearing every day to heal and hide my scars. But, I took comfort in knowing that my summer was about the trip that I took inside myself. The souvenirs that I collected are the beautiful lessons I’ve learned from my journey within.
You will see a lot of jewelry inspired by the summer of 2012 and it will all be about discovering the magnificent jewels we hold most dear to us… our loved ones, our hearts, our family and our friends. My support system – family, friends, children, doctors and new friends who have survived cancer will inspire many of my new collections. Angel wings, butterflies, hearts, evil eyes, peacock feathers and more… all of the talismans that I have always loved and treasure now more than ever!
I know how blessed I am to have all of my HSN colleagues and Rarities girls (and guys too) supporting me as I continue to bravely put my best face forward and let my heart shine through.
Skin Cancer Prevention Guidelines by Skin Cancer Foundation
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM
- Do not burn
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam
American Cancer Society