Monday, March 4, 2013

How about a little skin cancer to start the week?

Image by Yinan Chen

I noticed the spot during the summer. I think. No big deal. Although it was a bit inflamed during the week I spent at the beach in August. Hmm. I'll just keep an eye on it, I thought. 

By December, I started feeling a bit uneasy about it. This small spot on my upper chest just didn't look right. Occasionally, it bled. I'll call the doctor in January. Then my mom died. The first two months of the year were a blur. But I did finally schedule an appointment with the doctor last week. He took one look and decided to do a biopsy -- right then and there. 

This morning, I am heading to a dermatologist to discuss the course of action. The biopsy revealed squamous cell carcinoma, not basal cell, as I suspected. And there are three spots, not one. Three. Crap. 

Let's face it, when it comes to pain, I am a baby. The spot that was biopsied on Tuesday still hurts. What the doctor will do today will be even worse. I do not like this one bit.

Plus, due to my uber-sensitivity to chemicals, the numbing shot made me sick. It triggered my Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome and I spent quite a bit of time in bed last week. Doesn't my body know I have no time for such nonsense?? 

So... skin cancer. Who's to blame? I guess the question should really be What's to blame, since I'm not going to blame my parents, who didn't think twice about letting me roast in the sun summer after summer. With nearly white hair, I had a golden tan from June through September. We would spend days at the beach and I would lie in the sun slathered, not in sunscreen, but in baby oil! That was the norm in the 60s and 70s. In the winter, my friends and I would put color in our cheeks by baking under sunlamps. Where is the rewind button?????

Between the endless hours of sunning and the countless applications of toxic lotions throughout the years, it's no wonder I have skin cancer. Seriously.

And then there are still those who choose to bake in tanning beds week after week. What is wrong with this picture? Or those who allow their teenagers to do so. Wake up, folks. Cancer is not something you want to invite into your kids' lives. My parents didn't know better. But you do. Protect your kids, even if they momentarily hate you for it.

I'm not saying a little bit of sun is bad for you... actually, I believe we all need it. But artificial sun? Really? I'll say no more.   

Anyway, this is how I'm starting my week. I hope yours is beginning on a more positive note.   


  1. Your message is such an important one. Too bad we learn so little so late. Tanning beds should be outlawed.

    1. I completely agree, Jan. Or at least they should be illegal for kids under 18, or maybe even 21!


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