Given the fact that I own a B&B and Tea House and love to cook (and eat), you're more likely to expect an article about some aromatic, fresh-from-the-garden basil from me than one about basal cell skin cancer.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this or not, but I must need to talk about it..
Las Monday, I found out I have another basal cell "bump" that needs to be surgically removed. This one is on my neck. If I continue to wear my hair fairly long, no one will ever know I have a scar.
About 2 years ago, I learned that I had a basal cell skin cancer on my nose, and another on my upper back. My Dad has had several bouts with skin cancer, and I burned / blistered several times as a child after swimming in the lake at Bible camp or on camping trips with family or friends. So I wasn't entirely surprised when the doctor told me a biopsy of the bump that suddenly appealed on my nose revealed there was cancer.
At the time, I was very upset. Basal cell is the "good" kind of skin cancer to have, if you're going to have it. It doesn't invade your internal organs. It doesn't kill you. Still, it's never fun to hear the word cancer.
I've always had a poor image of myself physically - thin, straight hair, teeth that needed braces, big knees, big boobs, big lots of things. My cute little nose was my one vanity - the one part of me that was just "perfect".
When I came out of the doctor's office the day of my surgery two years ago, my eyes black and blue, an inch and a half long, curved scar stretching from my right eye to the base of my nose, my face so swollen I was unrecognizable, it was not a great moment in my life. The plastic surgeon said in 2 - 5 years, no one would even know I'd had surgery. At the time, it was hard to believe.
I'm happy to say he was right.
In fact, you really couldn't see a scar at the 1 year point. As it turns out, at age 50, I had very healthy skin that had retained much of it's youthful elasticity. I healed quickly and nicely, and didn't need any skin grafts.
I guess in my dreams, that little bump was an isolated incident. After 2 check-ups in which no further problems were discovered, I was very hopeful that there would be no further incidences.
I know basal cell skin cancer is no big deal, especially when it's in a place that will be covered by my hair, but I still feel sad.
In addition to needing to talk / write about this little "bump" in my path, I want to put in a plug for all you mothers and dads... when I was a kid, we didn't have readily available, waterproof, SPF 60 suntan lotion. We were more likely to put on baby oil or Coppertone designed to promote tans -- even if it meant burning a little to get there. Now, you do have the good, highly protective stuff - and you know what to do.
Slather your kids with the stuff. Buy them a cute little hat. Keep them out of the sun during the most intense part of the day. Most importantly, teach them that the color skin they were born with is beautiful. Do whatever you need to do to make sure they never have to hear the words basal cell skin cancer.
Thanks for listening, Sherrie