38 Comments

  1. rahina q.h.
    February 10, 2010 @ 8:19 am

    having been through a similar experience recently as well as major surgery i could relate to everything you said here Jeff. Like you i went through some tough thinking and came through thinking i have a second shot at life, maybe i can do better:)

    Reply

  2. Chris Beck
    February 10, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    So sorry to hear that you had to deal with this. I had a melanoma 33 years ago — like you I was fortunate to be spared the worst scenarios. I hope you fare equally well as time passes.

    Reply

  3. Cristóbal Melgarejo Zamora
    February 10, 2010 @ 9:16 am

    Just Testing!

    Reply

  4. Mark Alan Russell
    February 10, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Keep your chin up Jeff, my thoughts are with you. You inspire me to work harder at my painting.

    Reply

  5. Lorna
    February 10, 2010 @ 9:39 am

    Good for you for sharing. My parents went through it for me as a child which is unusual at that age. My now adult children where chased about sun safety through their childhood.

    Reply

  6. RUDHI - Chance
    February 10, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    Best wishes for your health, Jeff!!! Death is always working somewhere somehow, and keeps us aware of presence very deep – as VANITAS-stilllifes remember us of this important point; as you always do in your amazing paintings… Thanks for sharing your impressions of life!!!

    Reply

  7. Glendon Mellow
    February 10, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

    Best possible news from your tests, Jeff, and good for you to share.

    All the best, man.

    Reply

  8. Carol Schiff Studio
    February 10, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the information, Jeff. Happy to hear your outcome was positive.

    Reply

  9. A Sky Full of Stars
    February 10, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

    Your words are so important and they could save a life.

    Just one month before my 29th birthday, only 8 months after the birth of my first child, I happened upon a Time Magazine "letter to the editor" while waiting for a friend in a financial office. It was written by the grieving husband of a 37-yr-old woman who'd lost her life to what originally appeared to be just another mole. That letter prompted me to visit a dermatologist about the only mole I'd ever had.

    Less than 24-hours after that visit, I was in surgery having the mole, and much of the epidermis and dermis of my forearm, removed. Pathology had shown the mole to be Clark Level 4 Malignant Melanoma – my chance of survival was slim. If the melanoma did not kill me, ensuing lymphoma probably would.

    I am one of the fortunate ones. My treatment was a success, and sixteen years later, I remain "clean". I've a horrible scar on my forearm – no fun, especially for a woman – but that scar is my badge of life. It is a small and welcome exchange for the alternative.

    While my original diagnosis had a happy ending, I've learned the hard way that I will never be out-of-the-woods. Sadly, a few years ago, I became good friends with a man who'd coincidentally had a similar experience twenty years earlier. During the short course of our friendship, he suddenly, without any warning, became very ill and died less than six months later. His melanoma had "reappeared" as advanced lymphoma. It struck him quickly and with a merciless vengeance.

    If it had not been for that random letter, I would not be here today. My son would have grown up with no mother, and my two younger children would not be here at all. A man whom I've never met – a heartbroken husband who meant merely to express his sorrow – saved my life, and he doesn't even know it.

    Your post may well do the same for someone else.

    Reply

  10. Steve PP
    February 10, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

    Good news Jeffrey!

    Reply

  11. Jeff Hayes
    February 10, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    Thank you all; I'm very moved.

    Reply

  12. Pam Holnback
    February 10, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    Thanks you so much for sharing. This will help someone! And, I am glad that you are ok!

    Reply

  13. Dawn Chandler
    February 10, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

    I am moved and inspired by your courage and openness. I shall look upon my little painting of yours — a teacup with Twining teabag — with even greater appreciation now. Each Day. I raise my teacup to you any your long future of blessing the world with beautiful painting and insight. Thank you.

    Reply

  14. Julie Bloch
    February 11, 2010 @ 12:50 am

    Glad things seem to be ok for you. Reading your post made me call my husband's derm to set an appt. He has had minor skin cancers removed before and is always slow in going to doctors. It reminded me to make the appointment for him as I don't want him to find out that he could have prevented something by just ignoring his scheduled check ups.

    Reply

  15. Dee Lessard
    February 11, 2010 @ 2:49 am

    Matt6:34 None of us know if we even have tomorrow. So, live in the day we are given. Sounds like your life lesson. Thanks for sharing. We all need reminders because we're all guilty of letting other things take our attention! God has gifted you with a wonderful talent and I appreciate your sharing it with the world. Keep painting!

    Reply

  16. Luisa
    February 11, 2010 @ 3:43 am

    Thank you for sharing this! It made me reflect on things throughout my day 🙂 And I'm glad to hear you're doing better!

    Reply

  17. Claire Beadon Carnell
    February 11, 2010 @ 5:19 am

    There is nothing like a brush with our own mortality to make us stop and evaluate what is truly important in our lives. I am so glad to hear that your pathology report after surgery was good. You are very wise to concentrate on nutrition to keep your body healthy – that and adequate rest can make a world of difference.
    Take care, and keep excercising your wonderful talent to paint and create!

    Reply

  18. Ed Terpening
    February 11, 2010 @ 5:51 am

    In your bio you wrote: "Several years ago I traded in my corporate desk for an easel." After this experience, I imagine your life has made that kind of shift. You look at things differently. As you said, "Life is fragile, precious, and happens right now". You traded up your life outlook.

    I hope your readers get that mole checked they're wondering about. I imagine you wrote this post not for the emotional jolt, but the call to action. Save someone else, like "A Sky Full of Stars"'s experience.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, and count me in any fundraiser!

    Reply

  19. Sally Tharp
    February 11, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story.. and reminding us all how precious life is..

    Reply

  20. Cathyann
    February 11, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

    Jeff,
    I, too, am grateful to you for sharing your experience, that you have been treated and that it was a success, giving you another chance at a full life.
    best…

    Reply

  21. Carolina
    February 12, 2010 @ 3:45 am

    Hi Jeff,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It's very tough in many senses. I am so glad the outcome was so positive and that you took the whole experience as a life lesson. I'll take your advise…
    Best regards,
    Carolina

    Reply

  22. clew
    February 12, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog. Best wishes for your journey and continued good health.

    Your paintings are lovely. 🙂

    Reply

  23. Jeff Hayes
    February 12, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

    I want to thank each and every one of you who took a moment to comment here; I'm really moved by your stories and good wishes.

    It looks like a few of you have taken this as a call to action to be aware and get checked, and for that I'm incredibly happy.

    Thanks everybody!

    Reply

  24. Cindy Haase
    February 12, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    So good to hear that your experience has turned out positively in terms of your health and your outlook on life.

    I'm scheduling my dermatologist appt today. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  25. Johanne Morin
    February 12, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    I'm glad you're still here to share this with us!

    Reply

  26. Cheryl Pass
    February 14, 2010 @ 4:03 am

    Happy Valentine's Day…this year especially since your exquisite escape from melanoma. It is nothing to fool with…you are so right about being vigilant for this. We are all so fortunate to have such wonderful health care in our country to be able to catch and treat such a dastardly cancer!
    Glad you are fine!!!

    Reply

  27. Linda Rosso
    February 14, 2010 @ 6:08 am

    Your paintings communicate in a way words cannot, and today, your words communicated in a way the brush cannot.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story so honestly and to use your platform for a very important message.

    I lost my 47-year old brother to melanoma, just two months after his diagnosis. He had never checked his skin. It was a real wake-up call.

    I wish you continued good health screenings and send you virtual sunscreen, hats and gloves for painting outdoors.

    Reply

  28. Nancy Bea Miller
    February 16, 2010 @ 4:50 am

    Yikes, thanks for sharing! I get checked every six months due to my atypical moles, as well. However, I have been really lax about this,sometimes letting as much as two years go in between checks. Your story is a good reminder why this is not a good idea. Anyway, I am glad you are okay, and again, thanks for the advice.

    Reply

  29. Isha Shiri
    February 16, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    Hello Jeffrey!

    The worst is over. Long life to you!

    Actually cutaneous melanoma can be dangerous, I'm living in Brazil, SP state, Santos city of the front sea and my dermatologist always insists that everyone in my family we use sunscreen factor 50 for prevention.

    The sites that displays are great help

    I wish peace for you
    Adelle

    Reply

  30. Andrei Soroker
    February 17, 2010 @ 4:58 am

    Good health and good luck to you.

    Reply

  31. Kelley Carey MacDonald
    February 21, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

    I wish I'd realized you were going through this, Jeff, as my prayers would have been with you, too! It's wonderful that you got the treatment you needed, and that it worked out as it did. Yes, you got a lesson. Along the way most of us get something like this. I'm thrilled for you that you got through this. Thank you so very much for sharing.. I have an artist friend who just got diagnosed, and I'm forwarding him your blog.

    Reply

  32. Jeff Hayes
    February 23, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    Once again, I really want to thank everybody who commented here. As my friend Ed mentioned one of the comments, this was not about an emotional jolt, but a call to action so anybody else in a similar situation can have a good outcome.

    And especially thanks to everybody who shared their own stories; I wish you all the very, very best!

    Jeff

    Reply

  33. Betty Bishop
    February 24, 2010 @ 3:00 am

    I hesitate to mention this but it seems [from the comments] that artists may be more susceptible to melanoma [or moles?] than the average person? I wonder if this has been researched? Could it have to do with the oils we use?
    My daughter has a mole on her back and I will send her your blog.
    Take care,
    Betty

    Reply

  34. Kristeena Crabb
    February 26, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story, Jeff. I have let my annual mole checks slide and your story has shaken me up. I'm glad to hear that so far things are going well for you.

    Reply

  35. Anderson Scott
    March 9, 2010 @ 3:32 am

    Jeff I've been a follower of your blog for awhile now. I am sorry to hear you had to deal with this.

    My stepfather who was the dearest man in the world, passed away from this type of cancer in his early sixties. It was hearbreaking.

    The best thing my mother ever did was marry my stepfather. He was bigger than life to me. It's been 6years and I still miss him terribly.

    Take care of yourself. I expect many many many more years of your beautiful artwork!

    Lots of well wishes your way, anderson

    Reply

  36. Nancy Goldman
    March 10, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad your outcome was positive. I think Melanoma is a cancer that many people don't consider to be as dangerous as it is. I had one removed 25 years ago and thankfully have been fine since but I curse myself for all of those countless hours I spent baking (with baby oil on) in the sun as a teenager trying to get a tan.

    Reply

  37. Jennifer Bellinger
    March 13, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    Hi Jeff. Love the new work in progress! Thanks for sharing your experience about gettng regular skin check-ups. I'm so glad to hear you had an excellent outcome. With that I will call and make the appointment I have put off for some time!

    Reply

  38. Jeff Hayes
    March 16, 2010 @ 4:15 am

    Thanks everybody who recently commented!

    Betty: The issue of studio safety, particularly when working with oils, is an interesting one, and one I'm planning to write about here in the near future. In short, I think there are some prudent precautions we should all take, but with that in mind, I'm perfectly comfortable with the level of safety in my studio. More to follow.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *