Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Skin Cancer: Basil or Basal Who NOSE the Difference?

WARNING: Blog contains images some may find disturbing.


frahmtotable

Genovese Basil: It's best to have a biopsy before it spreads to the rest of your garden. 🌱 #preventativemedicine
#Basil #FrahmToTable #microgreens#local #asheville #organic #nonGMO#food #farmtotable #urbanfarming#verticalfarming #vegan #fresh#healthy #chefs #gourmet #salad



Summers and winters of sunny days past, spent on the water and snow, have finally caught up to me. I spent this summer recovering from plastic surgery due to Basal Cell Carcinoma skin cancer. 

Not to be confused with the Basil Cell Carcinoma my son Jordan, owner of Frahm to Table, named his basil microgreen tray. His mom and her tumor — may it Rest In Peace and NEVER return — were honored! 

Unlike my health-conscious children, I hail from the baby oil and iodine decade. In my twenties, my own social consciousness was more about being thin and tan. Growing up within driving distance to Pensacola Beach meant trying to become both by Easter.

I recall laying out between the sand dunes, covered in goosebumps. With my blue eyes and fair complexion, suntan oil was a prerequisite course for sunburn.    

By the time my first wrinkles began to appear, I had wised up and learned to use sunscreen, but the damage had been done. My dermatologist warned me that when the skin is exposed to the sun it’s like an egg coming to a boil: eventually, it’s going to crack. Or, in my case, develop skin cancer.  



Right before Mohs surgery. It's
hard to detect any pimple.
Last year I noticed a pimple on my nose that wouldn’t heal. The dermatologist removed it, and the pathology report came back as precancerous. A few weeks before this year's visit to the dermatologist I noticed it was back. The diagnosis was  Basal Cell Carcinoma.   

The hope was that my dermatologist could remove and repair it via Mohs surgery.  

Unfortunately, it was deeper and more invasive than expected. My dermatologist advised me that my earlier precancerous diagnosis had been inaccurate. It had been cancer all along despite the pathology report saying otherwise.  



Basal Cell Carcinoma is the least dangerous of skin cancers. It's seldom life-threatening and easily cured when caught early. The worst thing about my diagnosis was that it occurred on my face — my nose to be exact. 









After Mohs surgery.


I met with a plastic surgeon. He informed me that the nose is expensive real estate. Not just from a monetary perspective! Let’s face it —the late Michael Jackson had plenty of money, but it appeared his nose couldn’t be fixed.  

On June 18th I went in for reconstructive surgery. Before the procedure, my surgeon briefed us on the two options that he could use to repair my nose. One of them would require additional surgery. I got lucky, and he was able to go with the procedure that only requires one surgery. 

According to my healthcare providers, it will take 6–12 months for my nose to completely recover. Or for me to look and feel like normal again.







After reconstruction surgery. 


Perhaps it’s my age — I’ll be 60 in December — or my history with a breast cancer diagnosis, but I haven't been as upset as I know from my google searches that a lot of women are. Most likely it’s due to the attitude of my immediate family. Our awesome morbid humor.  



When my son Jordan saw the stitches, he said I was going to have one badass scar. He was thrilled for me. LOL










Less than a month after surgery.



Lucky for me, my plastic surgeon  Dr. Daniel Fowler doesn’t share my son’s enthusiasm for scars. It hasn't even been a month yet, and there’s already been a significant improvement.  


Regardless, this is not something I would want anyone I care about to have to go through. Which is why I wrote this blog, and am sharing my photos.    

There are at least two things I got right as a parent. I gave up soft drinks for water, and I slathered sunscreen on my kids when they were small. Unlike her mom, my daughter Tabitha has never laid out in the sun to get a tan. Her skin reflects it.









Some of my takeaways regarding skin cancer: 



1.  If that voice inside yourself is telling you something isn’t right — like a pimple that 
     doesn’t heal — pay attention. Always trust your own intuition when it comes to your body! 

I learned this lesson at age 34 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A few years later a mole on my abdomen just didn't look right to me. The dermatologist I was seeing then told me it was nothing. Another doctor removed it anyway as he knew I was worried about it.  The mole was pre-cancerous.  


2.  If you freckle easily, work or play in the sun, have reached a certain age — see a
      dermatologist once a year for a full-body wellness check.  

Maybe that picture of the side of my nose removed will help motivate!

3.  Research doctors/dermatologists/surgeons and the procedure you're being told you need. 

On my way home from the hospital, a FB post regarding Mohs surgery caught my attention. One of my FB friends was furious. Without her knowing, her elderly mom had been talked into what should have been an elective Mohs surgery. At her advanced age, her mom could have done without it. To make it worse her doctor had botched the procedure.  

4. Try not to feel guilty about your cancer diagnosis. 

There will always be that certain individual who likes to make themselves feel better by making you feel worse.  Maybe you didn’t do all you could have to prevent cancer, but you didn’t try to cause it either. 

Life happens!  

AND 

5. EAT some cancer-preventing microgreens! #preventativemedicine  

Frahm to Table offers microgreens to the Asheville, NC area. All varieties are non-GMO and grown organically, without pesticides or herbicides. Fresh cut greens and live trays are available, made to order. Contact Jordan Frahm. 




by Amelia Frahm
Available on Amazon 
by Amelia Frahm
   Available on Amazon

Thursday, June 13, 2019

RIP Charleston Chew Frahm


Charleston Chew Frahm
March 2003-June 2019 


Charleston “Charlie Chew” Frahm, of Rockwood, Tennessee was laid to rest at Solomon’s Happy Hill Farm in Walnut Hill, Florida on June 12, 2019. 

He leaves behind his Master of 16 years, Jordan Frahm, of Asheville, North Carolina, his human parents, Randy and Amelia Frahm of Rockwood Tennessee, sister, Tabitha Frahm of Huntsville, Alabama, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and close personal friends.  He was preceded in death by his feline sister, Mocha “Mokie” Frahm.

Charleston was a registered pug, born near Raleigh, North Carolina. He was chosen from a litter of his siblings and adopted by the Frahm family in honor of Jordan’s 11th birthday. He was the family’s first pet dog, and will be his human mom’s last. 

Charlie Chew spent his puppy and young doggie years in Apex, North Carolina on Dutch Elm Drive where he was a much-loved companion to the Juris, Robtoy, and Smith neighbor children. It was a humorous surprise when her Michigan relatives finally met the neighbor a young Reagan Robtoy constantly chattered about, and were introduced to a tail-wagging pug.

Charleston did not confine himself to Dutch Elm Drive, but whenever possible would roam the entire Fair Oaks sub-division where he was well-known and mostly well-liked by the entire community. 

He was a sociable pug that liked to party, loved to eat, and was always willing to help his Mom with fundraising and book promotion events. It was at one such event, that he came out of the proverbial dog house closet and howled he was gay. His admission was lauded by everyone present, especially the Sioss family dog. Although short in stature, Charleston liked big boy dogs

Charleston attended Western Carolina University where his ugly good looks and lovable personality captured the attention of student artists. He was a natural in front of the camera and became a sought after model. 

Upon leaving Western Carolina he traveled extensively across the Southeast. He was always up for a road trip, but when left behind he was happy to check in for some pampering at Petz Pack in Madison, Alabama.

Charleston’s snorts, snores, tapping toenails, wagging tail, and even his inability to obey some commands, stinky gas, and constant shedding will be missed tremendously. May he Rest In Peace.


In memory of Charleston Chew his family asks that you give your own pet an extra treat.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Porn, Public Humiliation, Blackmail! This Author is Keeping her Pants on...and her Bitcoin!


After my dad passed in November, I just hadn't had it in me to blog this year... Up until a few days ago when I opened an email that just ticked me off, and is so ludicrous I had to stop my DIY project to write this blog! 

One of my Nutcracker Publishing email addresses received the following extortion email from someone threatening to send my contacts a video showing me watching porn. 
To amelia@nutcrackerpublishing.com amelia@nutcrackerpublishing.com
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Nasty Nutcracker 

Nutpubco is not one of my passwords, but an acronym for Nutcracker Publishing Company. Those of us who have been around since the infancy of the internet will recall that names could not be spelled out the way they are today. 

My extortionist gave me two choices: send them a $928 donation via Bitcoin or risk embarrassment. I had to rack my brain wondering, 'Why didn't he just round it off to a thousand!?'

After exploring my two choices I opted NOT to send a donation, but instead forwarded it to phishing-report@us-cert.gov. Then I forwarded it to my son, Jordan, who always advises me on IT issues such as this one; he's still laughing. 

I considered what my family, friends, and business contacts might think if they were sent a video from/of me watching porn, and told Jordan that at my age it could only enhance my reputation. Friends who know me well will find this funny, and the rest of you may find it disappointing to discover it's a hoax (admit it—some of you were hoping I had been caught in the act). 

As for my business contacts, there's a saying in the book industry: Any publicity is good publicity. 

Perhaps the funniest thing in the entire extortion email is the implied threat of how it could affect my romantic relationship. After 30 years of marriage, I'm pretty sure embarrassment is not how it would affect my husband. 

All kidding aside, it would not look good for a children's book writer to be seen watching a porn video. 



Hey there big bunny, how about we generate some heat? Nuclear is hot! And so is Tickles Tabitha's Porn-tankerous Mommy! 

Nuclear is Hot! 
Porn-tankerous Mommy?



It wouldn't be difficult to find a video interview of me that could be used to create an incriminating fake video. Judging by what I see going across my social media pages nothing is more believable than a lie (fake news) that makes people feel better about their own transgressions.  

However, I doubt the guy who sent this email knows much about me other than my email addresses. He's playing the odds and the odds are good that some of his targets will pay him in bitcoin. 


The nut at Nutcracker Publishing will not be one of them. 

Certainly none of my dear FB friends would ever want to believe they could watch a video of me watching porn!? (Read with a drawl.) Cause that's Southern women-speak for, let me know how y'all infidels like the video!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Irreplaceable People



July 2018 marked my parent's 60th wedding anniversary.
November 2018 they gazed into each others eyes for the last time.



The night I took this photo would be the last time I saw my father alive. He died not long afterward.





If he was watching, I know my father enjoyed every detail of his wake and funeral. His friends and family made him proudright down to the ride to the cemetery!




I'm still laughing about the text I received from my cousin saying "I think they're LOST!" No, we took the scenic route per my father's request. He wanted to drive past all his farm land one last time.


The pallbearers were my father's grandchildren and grandson-in-law
JP and Levi Solomon, Tabitha and Jordan Frahm,
Makenna Solomon Krenek, and her husband Jacob.
A parcel of my father's property is next to the cemetery where he was buried, and as I peered over his casket, I could see my brother's cattle gazing in the distance. Daddy would have appreciated this. He was a large man and had been bedridden for several years, but my brother John and his sons, who live nearby, would get him in the car and drive him around to view his farm.


Solomon's Happy Hill Farm was named so by my father. My embarrassed teenage self hated it when he commissioned someone to paint "Happy Hill Farm" in huge letters on the side of our barn. I'm pretty sure I told him there was nothing happy about it!

My childhood home is located in Walnut Hill, Florida, a small farming community in the Florida Panhandle.

Walnut Hill still maintains a lifestyle that many people would find fictional. Its residents are a rainbow of religious and ethnic diversity, and they have always come together to offer support when one of their own dies.

As a child I just took this for granted, but as an adult I understand how rare it is to receive this kind of Christianity from people and churches who actually practice what they preach.

Neighbors began dropping off food immediately. The Walnut Hill Mennonite Church; Atmore, Alabama Church of Christ, where my brother is a member; and Annie Jones United Methodist Church of Walnut Hill, that my parents attend, all provided home-cooked meals for us.

My father had two nephews. One of them is deceased, but his family drove all day just to attend the wake and then had to return right afterward in order to make work the next morning. My mother's brother flew in from North Texas to be there for her. I was hugged by schoolmates and neighbors I hadn't seen since graduating from high school in 1977!

I am so appreciative of all the friends and family who reached out to us during this difficult time.

It is a surreal experience to lose a parent, but my father was ready to die. He died knowing he was surrounded by his wife and his children, which is what he had wanted. I had come home to help my mother through carpel tunnel surgery when my father's health took a turn for the worse. My brother Michael flew in from South Texas. It was evident that my father was waiting for him to arrive. The minute he was able to, he called him by name.

Daddy's body was broken, but his mind and spirit were with us until the end. I often told him "I'd like the mind you have right now, much less when I'm almost ninety years old!"

So often today I see Facebook posts where someone has been the recipient of a good deed, and in return let everyone know that they have passed on that good deed to someone else. Which usually gets them a lot of Likes and Loves on Facebook.

As a child it was instilled in me that good deeds only count if you do them quietly, preferably anonymously, and without fanfare. At my father's funeral it became clear that it wasn't just the Sunday school bible verse Matthew 6:1-4 that had imposed this ideology upon me, but watching how my father lived his life.

Reverend Lee Bateman of Annie Jones United Methodist Church, and Reverend Sammie Moorer of the New St. Paul's Missionary Baptist Church officiated my father's funeral.

Reverend Bateman talked about my father's time in Korea. Many of the people present had known my father for a lifetime, but didn't know he had received the Purple Heart or a Bronze Star for valor.


My parents at my Mom's 75th birthday party
Grandchildren: Jordan, John Preston, Levi and Tabitha
Five years ago we threw my mother a 75th Birthday Party. No mention was allowed to be made that my father's birthday was the day after hers. My mother loved every minute of being the center of attention at her party, but my father was not that kind of guy.

At least not while he was alive. My father would have loved every aspect of both his wake and funeral.

He had told me on more than one occasion that he would like Sammie Moorer to take part in it. Reverend Moorer is a minister of the Walnut Hill Black Community's New St. Paul Baptist Church. Daddy heard him speak at a funeral, and was impressed! He considered him a friend, but we had no idea until Mr. Moorer spoke that my father had encouraged him when it came to his career. He had heeded Daddy's advice and got a better job, one with good benefits, from which he had retired.

Mr. Peters
Daddy's childhood friend Mr. Wilbur Peters shared how they became friends when he arrived as a boy from the North to be part of the Walnut Hill Mennonite community, and how they reconnected as older men. He shared how Daddy told him that he had been saved as a boy, and was a member of the Walnut Hill Baptist Church, but had fallen off the track. He returned to his faith as he grew older. He had told Mr. Peters he was ready to die.

My sister-in-law, Stephanie Solomon, admitted that her father-in-law was a difficult man to get to know, but an easy man to love. She shared stories about the kind of grandfather he was to her children. The kind of grandfather who had gone through the agony of having his tattoos (not exactly successfully) lasered off, because he regretted getting them and wanted to set an example to his grandsons. So far all the grandsons have heeded his advice.

My son Jordan shared how homesick Daddy and his fellow soldiers had been in Korea, and read a song that they would sing to cheer themselves up.

Vicki Bagget, a family friend, set the tone so very appropriately to what my father would have wanted when she sang a funeral rendition of Dixie.

However, if anything would have brought tears to my father's eyes it would have been seeing his nephew James Earl (Jimmy) Vaughn take the podium to sing "Amazing Grace" as his wife Pat played the piano.

His daughter Gina had been so worried that her dad wouldn't be able to get through the songs he sang, but Jimmy was amazing.

My son Jordan has inherited that ability to speak without breaking down, even during the most difficult times.

These are the words he read:

Rotation Blues

Apparently there were cuss words in the original version of this song, which my father edited out.

My father had a talent for writing, an ability he passed on to me. One of the things I was most furious with my father about during my college years was when I had him submit a story I'd written to the local Atmore Advance Newspaper. Daddy took the liberty of changing a quote!

One of my assignments at the University of Florida was to write an article for the hometown paper. So I interviewed a local boy from Walnut Hill who was in Tampa, Florida attending his own college. He said he missed Walnut Hill... like Hell! My father changed hell to heck. He perceived this quote would be an embarrassment to the family of the young man who said it (not to mention the boy himself). I was furious, but I'm finally old enough to appreciate where he was coming from. Today it just makes me laugh!

Like this photo taken at my wedding. I still remember what and who we were discussing. That pleased expression on my father's face was because I had just told him that my brother's date "won't be catching this bouquet!"

My father and I butted headsALL THE TIMEand my mother would say it was because we were just alike. It took me all of my childhood and most of adulthood to realize what a compliment she was paying me.

I will miss listening to my Daddy's stories, his views on politics, his ability to keep a secret, and even our arguments, but most of all his love for methat will be irreplaceable.

As is my daddy.


Preston Farish Solomon

January 28, 1930 - November 16, 2018


On behalf of the Solomon Family I would like to thank all of you who reached out during this difficult time.

Amelia Solomon Frahm