Many of you have not heard our story of what has taken place in the past few years that influenced our move to NE Ohio. So grab a cup of coffee or drink of choice and read on.


This is our story that many of you have not heard yet. It was Oct of 2015 that I was preparing to be part of Adam Japko’s Highpoint Market Design Bloggers Tour, a very special honor to be chosen.

To shorten our story a bit, Bob had had a topical melanoma area removed on his back 18 years prior to 2015. Due to the excellent diligence of his primary care doctor, Bob was instructed to have a chest X-Ray every year. Dr Ray Fisher explained that melanoma will often return in the lung. Who knew?

Mid-October of 2015, I had just arrived at my hotel room at High Point Furniture Market in NC. Traveling from Wichita KS to NC is a long day of connecting flights, so I was a very tired designer. I also was a nervous designer awaiting Bob’s latest lung x-ray. When my daughter, Kara, called to give me the results of his lung x-ray of stage 4 metastasized lung cancer, I was stunned.

I immediately called Bob and said that I am not doing the Design Blogger Tour and catching the next flight home! I knew of course that he was trying to be strong for me telling me I could do no better for him then to fulfill my professional responsibilities. Easy to say but how could I do this and not lose it to an emotional meltdown? It was his rationale advice that convinced me. I would stay, but in order to maintain my composure, I could not talk about it!

Except for:

While in the lovely Wesley Hall Showroom, Joann Kandrac instinctively knew that I was struggling. I then shared Bob’s diagnosis to her since I needed a safe friend. She was there for me and I will be forever grateful.

I really did fake it until I could make it at market as these photos show.

This tour is grueling physically if you know anything about High Point Furniture Market in NC. It is huge and touted as the largest furniture market in the world! What an honor it was for me to be selected along with these amazing designers. Our role was to identify and promote the latest and best products for social media exposure.

But by the end of the weekend, I was starting to lose it emotionally, especially because I was traveling alone. So, knowing Joe to be a dear gentleman and friend, I headed to his showroom. Fortunately, he was available. I do not remember if I told him or not, but I do remember that his warmth and greeting to me was just enough to sustain me at that moment.

Fast forward to these last few years with many trips to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for his tests and treatments. We were so blessed to stay with our son Mark and his beautiful family during those years. Bob was a candidate for immune therapy. This treatment involves him taking only pills daily. Amazing!

However, the cost is really expensive, in the 5 figures monthly. But with our insurances, it’s 4 figures out of pocket for us monthly. Of course, this is what we do and are grateful to be able to do it even though he is now retired.

Bob is doing miraculously well! He is tested a lot. His care is now at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which is fantastic because it is known for its melanoma expertise.

You are probably thinking so what else is going on with you? Well, plenty is going on which I will share in my next post.

In closing however, I must tell you all that I never expected this post to take this turn as being a recap to Bob fighting his cancer.  After pondering this change of content, I now know why.

Many of you are unaware of all that we have learned the hard way about melanoma. It is one of the most aggressive cancers with unpredictable profiles that make it a pretty scary battle to fight.

Therefore, it is imperative that I give you all these preventative measures that hopefully you will take very seriously.

  • Never use tanning beds…ever!
  • Always use sunscreen and reapply as needed, including ears and back of neck if walking or doing sports
  • Wear hats and be smart about sunbathing
  • Have yearly and thorough skin checkups by a dermatologist
  • If you should have a melanoma removed, speak to your providers regarding periodic lung x-rays
  • And lastly, please you all, just because medical advances are upon us, this is nothing to mess around with and most treatments like Bob’s are very expensive, even after insurance coverages.

No one is more surprised than I am with the content of this post! Perhaps it has to do with the inspirational view out my studio window that led me in an entirely different direction writing to you all this week.

Do not miss next week when I will actually share why we moved to Ohio plus my life as it is now. I hope that you do because I have a surprise give away available to all on my email lists!

Be well and live well my beloved followers!

In order to get the word out on this fairly unknown cancer’s path, please share this blog post. (

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Mitzi Beach DesignSmarts Front Cover

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  1. Susan Eckstein Romph

    What a blessing that Bob had the right doctor to advise him re getting lung xrays. Throughout your whole story, your blessings were apparent. I’m so sorry that you were in High
    Point when you received your devastating news, but so thankful for you that you had special and loving friends to help you through. God uses people in that way. May He continue to bless you as you bless others with your inspirational blogs!❣️

    • Mitzi

      you are such a dear Susan commenting with your sweet comment that is so heartfelt! You are wise to write how God uses people in our times of need even when out of our sphere of friends or family which I constantly marvel how smart our God is.
      And knowing that my blogs are being received Susan affirms and encourges more than you could know so I thank you tons for that part of your comments. xoxo

  2. Maureen Costlow

    Thank you! Hoping for the best for Bob who seems like a very very good hubby. Beautiful family. Keep up good work.

    • Mitzi

      You are more than welcome Maureen! And yes, you are correct…Bob is a great hubby!

  3. Jeri

    I love a good miracle! Wonderful that you were inspired to write this – your perspective touches hearts and your sound advice may well save others.

    • Mitzi

      Love that you love a good miracle too! Your. comment affirms my decision to go with my instincts and put aside my original thoughts for this post…but next week will be that post on why we are in Ohio.
      thanks Jeri !

  4. Janet Lorusso

    Oh Mitzi, thanks so much for sharing this very personal piece of your life! I’m so glad Bob was able to get the treatment he needed and that you are all doing well. I’m sure by sharing this you will offer help and hope to many others. AND I look forward to reading the Ohio move saga 🙂

    • mitzi beach

      You are more than welcome Janet! And as you wrote, my effjort for this post was to motivate others to monitor their health on so many levels. We all so often take our wellness for granted. I am guilty myself being blessed with good health most of my life but I too have had to deal with the “are you kidding me?” physical setbacks. This is another reason that I wrote my book was to share even more and how to deal with isssues not if but when they crop up.
      Thank you for your support. xo

  5. Leann Parker

    Mitzi, what a challenging time! How is Bob doing now? Wishing him all the best in healing and recovery <3

  6. Heather Bates

    I knew bits of your story, but not the entirety of Bob’s journey. Melanoma is no joke! As a fair skinned and white haired lady, I get skin checks every year. I pay attention to the few brown bumps here and there and try not to freak out. Being so far away from Bob, when all you wanted was to be there to comfort him was hard. But it also gave him time to think about this.

    Definitely follow Mitzi’s advice people! Also Consumer Reports said most sunscreens don’t do what they say. Top three of the really great sunscreens, and what I use is La Roche Posay.

    • Christina Rodriguez

      I’m sorry you’re going through this and I’m glad you caught it and have a treatment plan. Going for the best for you.

      • Mitzi

        Thanks Christina for your dear comment! Yes, we are forever grateful that Bob’s situation is right on track.Best to you too! xo

    • Mitzi

      Yes Heatrher, I hear you on your profile and what a very wise lady you are to be so diligent! And thank you for the valuable tip on this sunblock! I have not heard La Roche Posay but will be getting some due to your heads up on this one.
      Your comment is very appreciative to me on Bob and his story too Heather. xoxo

  7. Mary Ann Benoit

    I am so glad that Bob is doing well and hope you are as well. Thank you for sharing and you have inspired me to get regular check ups with a dermatologist, which I have only been to once.

    • Mitzi

      Thanks Mary Ann for your dear comment but mostly that you are now on it to get checked…awesome!! This makes me smile really big…:)

  8. Wendy

    Oh Mitzi you’re right, I had no idea what you’ve been going through. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be sending Bob and your family healing thoughts. I look forward to hearing about your move. ♥️

    • Mitzi

      thanks so much Wendy for your comment on not knowing because my intent has never been about me and my sagas but now was my time to share more to hopefully inspire others to do what is necessary. I love that we are following each other!

  9. Carla Aston

    You have a beautiful and supportive family, Mitzi, and lots of wonderful friends too. What a sweet post! Good tips for monitoring your health. You are always spot on with that.

  10. Mitzi

    thank you Carla and you know how much I love sharing posts or conversations that will lead others to take care of themselves because without our health, not much else matters. I missed seeing you this weekend in Houston for a quick trip for family events but next time it our time !

  11. Lisa Peck

    Mitzi: Thank you for sharing this important message. Melanoma is no joke. My father’s cancer story started the same way as Bob’s. I am so happy Bob has had the care and blessing of proper treatment and follow-up. You never cease to impress me with your willingness to share your stories and wisdom so we can all benefit.

    • mitzi beach

      Your comment Lisa truly motivated me to keep on sharing for the benefit of those who have ears to listen and eyes to see which you obviously do!
      I often say it is not if but when most of us will have to deal with these unexpected life issues. This is where my Design Smarts book is meant to be a vehicle on how to overcome life as it comes hoping others learn from what I have experienced.

  12. Maria

    Hi Mitzi,
    I believe in Miracles, they happen everyday, keep your faith where needs to be! Loving prayers your way!

    • mitzi beach

      Love your comment Maria and love your site that I checked out…stunning work!
      Prayers make the difference and I appreciate yours! xo

  13. Sheri Bruneau

    Mitzi, thank you for sharing this personal experience with all of us. I had not idea that melanoma will often return in the lung.

    I am wishing nothing but the best for you and Bob!


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