Knowing what I know now!
Knowing what I know now, would I have done things different? You bet your rear end I would have.
I would have learned what Melanoma is (since I didn’t even know what the word meant), and shared this information with my family and friends. Amanda and I would have been checked by a dermatologist every 6 months. Melanoma skin cancer is deadly. I did not realize how deadly.
My wife was only 31 years old, and I wasn’t able to save her.
All it would have taken was just a bit of knowledge to change everything. When Amanda passed away, I didn’t run to the hills and hide, (even though I wanted too). I realized I was still in fight mode. As I researched the Melanoma Education Foundation online, a light bulb over my head lit up like the light on a Christmas tree. “That’s it I screamed! That’s the front lines of the battle” …and it is a battle.
The Melanoma Education Foundation concentrates on educating our high school and middle school students. The fight is in the trenches and I discovered I needed to be right there, in the trenches of this fight. It truly is a fight in the trenches.
Teaching these kids about melanoma skin cancer is what heals my heart.
I don’t take pills or talk to counselors for emotional help. Honestly, what can anyone say that will stop the pain? The only thing that helps plug up one of the holes in my heart is knowing that when I get done teaching a class, every student will be equipped with the knowledge, and they have learned about the dangers of the sun and tanning beds. These young people will know the signs if a melanoma starts to grow on their own body. There is only one good thing about melanoma, (I almost choke when I say that), but if you catch it early enough, it is curable.
There where many, many moments when I would look up into the heavens and thanked my dear Lord Jesus for giving me such a beautiful human being.
One of those times was when we were in our home in Pahrump Nevada. It was a cold October day. She had listened to a few stories advocating exercising for helping the body fight cancer. So at that point she started to get her tennis shoes on and said she was going to take a mile jog to get some exercise. So like a trainer with their fighter, I got into our car and I drove right next to her as she started to run. I lowered the window and began to sing the Rocky theme from the top of my lungs! Amanda reacted in a burst of energy and started to sing with me. She was shadow boxing as she ran. I was telling her that she was winning the fight and she started to shadow box that much faster. She was imagining she was boxing the tumors and she was swinging so hard at one point, she almost lost her footing. She had run over 1 mile!! I put her into the car and I drove my champion back home.
Another moment that I will never forget, and I would like to share with all of you.
In the beginning of her Melanoma diagnosis, we still didn’t really know the depth of how deadly it could be. I would blurt out around friends and start to say, “I love you, I love you, I love you and repeat it a bunch of times. Amanda said in a jokingly way, “ He’s just saying that if something bad happens and things don’t go good for me”. She said this in a very light, joking way. That’s how much we didn’t really know what was about to happen. We thought, “Oh…it’s only skin cancer. No big deal.” Yea…right.
Fast forward to April of 2006.
We were at our friend’s house in Orange County California. Amanda was on the bed. I grabbed the camcorder and started to record. I was in the middle of saying something when Amanda interrupted me. At this moment, it didn’t matter what I was saying. She looked into the camera and started to say, “I love you, I love you, I love you and repeated it just like I did in the beginning. I was emotionally in shock as I knew exactly what she was saying, and why. I started to laugh as I couldn’t help myself. I was laughing with pure joy of knowing how much she loved me. Enough to make sure that I had this moment on film for me to have forever! I said, “Thank you baby…thank you baby”. Amanda smiled through the pain and disfigurement due to the multiple tumors all over her body and face and winked at me.
Amanda was a shining light in the midst of darkness.
Amanda had a shinning light about her that could cut through the darkest of hours. Like a lightning bolt shines through the night sky, Amanda was a beacon of hope.
Someone asked me if I would to do it over again…would you? I looked at this person and without hesitation, I said, what… are you nuts? ABSOLUTELY!!! I married Amanda Faye Brown! I was that girl’s husband!! Are you kidding??? Do you know what an honor that is?? Other than educating myself about Melanoma, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! Again, I had a love only people dream about!
I have 3 goals in my life that I need to do for Amanda. It is my promise to her.
1) To dedicate a CD to the memory of my wife and write a love song for her.
“With All My Heart” on CD Baby.com was released.
2) To finish her book she was writing.
The Book was released “Finding N-E-D No Evidence of Disease”, and it now enjoys 5 star reviews.
3) To put together all of my video and camera video into a documentary or lifetime movie or even a big motion picture. I have hours upon hours of footage. A documentary is in the works. Funding to help with the costs is on GoFundMe.
Amanda wanted to document as much as possible so that who should ever see it, would know about Melanoma and how to prevent it.
If you think of the most caring and loving act your loved one could give to you…Amanda gave that to me. It’s on page #196 of her book.
When a loved one is taken home (heaven), these questions arise….
“Why God”? “Why”? “I guess I’ll find out when I go to heaven”.
Well, that doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God and my Lord Jesus Christ. I know he is the reason I will see my wife again. But you see I’m a very stubborn man and I need to know now! I can’t wait to get to heaven to find out.
The Melanoma Education Foundation is saving many students from this horrible disease. My wife’s courageous fight is the reason I am fighting to save millions of lives! Whatever it will take, I am ready.
Amanda was so incredible in writing her book and willing to share her journey the world. I am so proud to say I have finished and published it for her, “Finding N-E-D, No Evidence of Disease”! She thought of the name. She even had the front cover but the pixels were not enough. I said to the publishers her picture needed to be on page #2. So when you flip the first page of the book, you will see the picture of us being dunked in the ocean in Kona, Hawaii, taken by my younger sister. We were being baptized in January of 2006. Amanda picked out the picture herself.
Melanoma has changed my life forever.
Forever I will endorse the Melanoma Education Foundation. Forever I will fight to educate our children. Forever I will love, cherish and honor my wife’s wishes.
“Your never too old to learn about Melanoma…but you’re always too young to die from it”.