A few days ago, I was having one of those days where everything was falling into place-people were being nice, summer was in the air, I was checking items off my to-do list…then the phone rang. Hello, this is Nurse Bad News with Dr. So-and-So’s office, we just received the results back from your test. Your results show mild to medium cancer. WHAT?!?! She went on to say your medical file will now reflect you have had cancer. Before anyone panics-the awesome news is that I am okay, none-the-less my eyes were open to the real risks associated with skin cancer.
Rewind two weeks. I had a dermatologist appointment not regarding skin cancer. During my appointment the nurse said, “have you had a mole check lately? We can do it while you are here.” To be honest the thoughts that raced through my brain were (1) seriously, my phone is vibrating in my purse like a sex toy gone bad (not that I carry that in my purse-just being honest, that is what came to my mind)- apparently someone needs something really bad, (2) I have to be across town in 15 minutes (oh and by the way, thanks for making me wait in the waiting room for 45 minutes), and (3) do my undergarments match because I have to strip down for this (paired with my type A personality-working at Victoria’s Secret during my college years this is an important detail for me). Then in a flash, a little voice told me-“just do it.” Kind of like a Michael Jordan Nike kind of moment. “If you don’t have time now you aren’t going to have time later.” So I took a big sigh and said, “sure do the check.” And today I am so thankful that I listened to that little voice because it more than likely saved me from something worse. I ended up having a mole on my back that the doc wanted to remove for testing. Frankly, I never even noticed that it looked different (this is where a set of eyes on the back of your head would be helpful). Turns out it was cancer. But, luckily, we caught it early and the biopsy removed all signs of cancer.
I have never been much of a tanning fanatic. Truthfully, I can’t sit still long enough to get a good even tan. On year, a friend at work even bought me self-tanner because she said my legs needed it. I probably was exposed to the sun the most as a child when my family would go boating on the Green River or when my aunt and I enjoyed the swim lakes. For my local readers…remember Miller’s Lake-that was our hangout. Diamond Lake and Windy Hollow were a close second. And I will admit-I have had a few minutes in the tanning bed sunning my buns during my college years. However, overall, I haven’t been a devout sun worshiper.
In the wise lyrics of Ice Cube (advice comes from a variety of sources on this blog)-“check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Get a mole check on a yearly basis. Make time for it! And then, smoother yourself with sunscreen! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, www.skincancer.org, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA. Additionally, one in five Americans will develop it!
Now, I can’t say that I agree with all of their viewpoints, but those darn southern belles back in the day (picture a colonial “Gone with the Wind” home with women in big dresses sipping tea and fanning themselves) were ahead of their time—they never let sun shine on their delicate skin. You won’t be seeing me in a big dress, but you might see me lathered in sunscreen and drinking mommy’s special version of “sweet tea.” Maybe I can talk my husband into waving some palm branches to cool me off…I doubt it.
Today, my spoon is full of sunscreen.