A long, long time ago, way back in June, I saw my friendly neighborhood dermatologist for an epic face rash that turned out to be something called Polymorphous Light Eruption. (see “What’s POTS?” in sidebar and https://iamchronicallywell.com/2014/06/18/dont-you-want-to-buy-me-dinner-first/)
While I was there, the Friendly Derm (as we shall call him) suggested very strongly that I come in for a full skin evaluation, as my skin and family history match pretty much everything listed on the “Warning Signs of <SkinAwfullness>” poster in his office. I promised I would come back just as soon as the current awfulness had cleared up. As it was taking over my face, I was just a little bit more concerned about that than anything else at the time.
Weeks turned into months, and my PMLE came and went, then came and went again, and again…(see October’s https://iamchronicallywell.com/2014/10/21/that-time-i-polymorphous-light-erupted-at-the-clinique-counter/)
I just never seemed to remember to make an appointment to go back.
Full disclosure: I know I have weirdo moles. My whole family has weirdo moles. For some reason, Italians are just lucky that way.
The only way to make sure those weirdo moles aren’t anything more than harmless constellations (I happen to have the Little Dipper on my back- seriously. I feel like that makes me special somehow…) is to have them cut off.
By one’s Friendly Neighborhood Dermatologist, of course.
So, knowing that I have more than one mole that is pushing its luck, and, knowing how these tiny (#NotSoTiny) bits of discolored flesh are to be removed, I have not jumped at the chance to go back and visit the Friendly Derm, no matter how friendly he may be.
But really, it’s time to be a grown-up about it. Skin cancer is one of the deadliest cancers out there, and yet, it’s one of the easiest to protect yourself from. Sunscreen! Hats! Minimal direct sunlight exposure! Skin checks!
Only you can prevent forest fires, you know?
2015 is my personal Year of the Grown-Up. I happen to be turning 26 in a few weeks (44 days…not that I’m counting), which is the absolute, official, “Come on dear, move out of the basement already”, deadline for being a DEPENDENT, at least according to the United States government. It used to be 24, but then something happened with ObamaCare and a bunch of legislation that I am pretty sure I slept through, and I ended up with an extra 2 years on my mom’s insurance plan-YAY! I’m pretty sure she still got to claim me as a dependent on her taxes, so it was win-win for everyone.
(More on all this to come in later posts)
Along with this metaphorical release from “dependency,” I’m also going ahead and doing my best to make it a more literal reality as well. It’s a tricky place to be in as a Chronic, as there are some forms of dependency that allow me to, you know, get places (Thanks for the ride, Mom!) as I’m not medically allowed to drive just yet (6 months incident free from loss of consciousness- almost there!). There are other things as well that I am gently trying to ease away from, and like I said, trying to be less dependent all around. Some things are still necessary, but others are not. Again, more on this to come in future posts.
Back to my story…
A very grown-up, independent thing to do?
Make sure you don’t die of preventable skin cancer!
Yesterday found me sitting again on a cold doctor’s office table, and yes, I got a few bits of myself sliced off.
I will spare you the details beyond that.
Now I get to wait a month for the biopsy results and then go back, at which point I am hoping for a high five and a sticker- congratulations at not having melanoma.
In the meantime, happily, I got some very pretty Band-Aids in my Christmas stocking (apparently Santa knew this was coming?) and I now have 3 cupcakes stuck to my abdomen, back, and upper neck. I think they make quite the fashion statement.
I’m not one to chide others (who am I kidding, I’m a chider), but really, there are lots of Friendly Derms out there. Go see one. It was not as bad as I thought- the whole process took about 30 minutes altogether- and now I know that I have done something to keep myself well (always a great selling point!).
Plus, if you happen to have anything surgically removed (local anesthetic, teeny tiny scraper/scalpel thingy, there is NO NEED to watch-really, don’t do it) you may feel the need to reward yourself, as I did yesterday.
3 biopsies=3 treats, wouldn’t you say?
So not only did I spring for the chocolate chip (gluten-free) muffins at the store, I also got the Sunflower butter cups (like nut-less Reese’s), and the gluten-free ice cream sandwiches (to be eaten in strict moderation as dairy is a fair-weather friend). I do not condone eating one’s feelings, however, how many times do you get weirdo moles lopped off? Hopefully just once and a while, so once and a while sugar rushes are in order!
I hope that you take some time to look into getting a skin evaluation, Chronic readers! Those at highest risk include the pale skinned (I’m looking at you, POTSies!), those with fair hair, those with freckles, those with weakened immune systems (Chronics of all kinds), those who spend a lot of time in the sun (we might be good on this one…) and those with a family history of irregular moles or skin cancers. Take care of yourselves!
See http://www.skincancer.org for more skin-loving information.