So May is skin cancer awareness month and why am I blogging about this you may ask?? Well, first off because I can, it's my blog!:) but really, about 2 years ago I found a spot that looked like a pink pimple on my chest and it turned out to be Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is skin cancer. I have since had 2 more of the same, another one on my chest and one on my arm. And yes, I've got lovely scars to remind me, right on my chest that are slightly visible when I wear scoop necks or lower cut shirts and an even bigger one on my shoulder that you can't miss when I wear a sleeveless top.
Now, let's back up a bit. I do not have the fairest complexion but by no means do I have olive, brown skin that tans easily- not even close... sigh;(. I have always wanted the type of skin that tanned easily and envied my friends growing up that could get so dark in the summer time. When I was much younger I longed to be tan but my mom taught me well and I lathered my self up from head to toe when I went to the pool. But then as I got older I wasn't so scared of getting burned, I didn't care, I was invincible, as most teenagers think and although my family had a history of skin cancer, I thought I was just too young to worry about it.
In college I started visiting the tanning bed and continued that for years. I still hadn't visited a dermatologist but started feeling guilty, like my time was coming, more moles were popping up and I just knew I was destined to get skin cancer. So after I had Ainsley I finally went in for a check up and to my surprise, all clear! So back to the tanning beds I went- just being honest here, not proud of it! Then another year went by but this is the time I wouldn't get the all clear. The dermatologist found a small spot that was scaly and pinkish and asked if I had always had it and I said no, it seemed new. (Click here to check out the 5 warning signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma.)
Long story short, I got the call that it needed to be removed as it was basal cell carcinoma. No, it wasn't Melanoma but it was still skin cancer and it could not be left there. So I ended up having Mohs surgery to remove it. And as I said before, I've had 2 more since then. (When you've had one basal cell, you have a 50% chance of having another one).
My grandfather died from Melanoma when I was just 5 and my aunt has had it twice now. She is doing well but it did spread to her lymph nodes and required major surgeries. Now, I do think the whole story line of "Izzy" on Grey's Anatomy is a little extreme if you watch that show but I don't know, maybe not. I would think that a mole that was a Melanoma like Izzy's would bleed and itch or something before it had spread as much as hers has on the show but maybe not- which is scary to think.
So maybe you're thinking "Well Adrienne, you have the skin for it, it's in your family history, but that's not me, I have darker skin and no history or I've never gone to tanning beds" well I'm telling you it doesn't matter. We are not invincible as we probably all thought when we were younger. All I'm saying is to at least get checked yearly by a dermatologist. If you must tan in a tanning bed or go out in the sun and lay for hours without sun block, I'm not judging you (I'm guilty of all of it!), I'm just encouraging you to get checked. I've read so many stories- especially about women who found moles that turned out to be Melanoma and some died and they were very young. Plus, who wants all the wrinkles? Unfortunately, I already have more than I think I should at my age and I'm pretty sure it's mainly my fault.
So nowadays, (although I still secretly yearn for the tanning beds) I've resulted to sunless tanning lotion or Mystic Tan, which I highly recommend. You can also buy Mystic Tan in a can at Sephora and it works great and lasts way longer than any other spray or lotion I've tried. It's the actual mist that they use in the spray tan booths.
Now, May 22nd is national "Don't Fry Day" so as you say your prayers for our sweet Bennett as he is scheduled to be born that day :), lather up before the Memorial Day weekend and please don't let yourself or your kids (if you have any) fry! And get yourself to the dermatologist!