Thursday, August 2, 2012

Too Much Sun

See that spot on my arm? Where the band-aid is? That is the result of too many years of worshiping the sun.


Several weeks ago, I went to my doctor about a spot on my forehead. It was a spot that had been there for a couple of months. (It bothered me enough to get me to the doctor.) While at the appointment, I had the doctor look at that spot and also a spot on my arm. The family practice doctor was not concerned by the spot on my arm but thought I should see dermatology because of the spot on my forehead.

6 weeks later was my appointment in dermatology. A couple of days before this appointment, the spot on my forehead completely disappeared. Of course! This left me unsure if I should keep the appointment or cancel. The only reason that I decided to keep the appointment was knowing how long it takes to get into dermatology. I thought I would go into the appointment with them chuckling at me and say everything was fine.

The nurse practitioner was great, but she didn’t tell me what I thought I was going to hear. She said the spots on my face were pre-cancerous (Actinic Keratsotes) and she wanted treat this with liquid nitrogen to freeze those areas. She said that it would burn and yep, she was right!! burned! But if it stopped some bad skin areas it is worth it!

The spot on my arm... she wanted to do a biopsy on. She was concerned about this area. Hmmmph. She told me she would get back to me with the results by Tuesday. Hmmmph.

So we went to Chicago, we went to the family reunion, and we went to Notre Dame. On Tuesday morning as we were heading to Marquette my cell phone rang. I didn’t grab it in time but the nurse practitioner left a message saying that ‘she has the results of my biopsy and that we need to talk.’ Crap.

I returned her call but got her nurse. The NP was with patients and so the nurse looked up my chart. She told me that the NP would need to talk to me and would call me back. Crap.

The Nurse Practitioner finally called me back. She asked where I was? Crap. She told me she got my biopsy results back and that spot on my arm is cancerous. Crap.

I have Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is the most common form of skin cancer and the most treatable when caught early!

So, tomorrow morning, I head back to the doctor’s office where I will have a little surgery to remove the rest of that spot on my arm. And all will be good. I will need to be careful, especially in the sun and regular dermatology appointments, but all will be good!

After the initial scare and processing of the word ‘cancer’, I have to say what I am now most trying to get my thoughts around, is my new relationship with the sun. I have always loved and craved the sunshine.

The majority of our vacations are sunshine filled and with me ‘laying out’ and soaking up those golden rays. I have spent my fare share in a tanning bed. My walks outside were not only for exercise but for the opportunity to sun-tan. I could sit out in the sun for hours just soaking up the sunshine.

But now, with this wake-up call, things need to be different and I am not sure how I go about changing that… but I know I have to. It is just hard.

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