We went to Clearwater last summer and stayed in a beautiful house right on the beach. We all got plenty of sun. Kim overdid it the first day and kind of took herself out of the running, and I had been feeling sun sensitive since softball season. I just felt, as I’m getting older, that I really don’t want to get that much sun anymore. I had a little patch on my back, about the size of a dime, a mole that kept getting scraped and scratched, and bleeding, and getting crusty. My hair was getting longer, and that made it itch too, so I messed with it constantly, but even without the sun and the scratching it wouldn’t go away. I sort of convinced myself that it was skin cancer and that I would have to do something about it, but I was scared to hear the answer and it wasn’t getting any bigger, so I kept putting it off. Then this winter I got a horrible csae of eczema on my shoulders (this is all probably more info than anyone wants) and forgot about the spot with all THAT itching. However, once my shoulders started to heal the spot was still there and still bugging me, right in the center of my back where I couldn’t see it or really touch it except to worry at it.
Kim just kept telling me to go to the doctor, and I made it my other New Year’s resolution (along with going to a writer’s conference) to do so. I finally went to the dermatologist, and told her about all my itches, (I also had a rash on my finger from washing dishes at work–that was the worst one, they gave me a steroid cream for it and it is disappearing). Then I pointed out that little spot. The doc took one look at it and got out the knife and cut it right off of there and sent it out to be biopsied. She said, “Yep, that’s probably cancer.” Now I don’t have any family history of cancer at all, so I was a little surprised, but I did take many horrible sunburns as a kid, and I had my suspicions about that spot, so I wasn’t that surprised. She said that the skin around and under it looked very healthy and that she didn’t expect there to be any problems. Yesterday they called and said that, sure enough, that little sucker was a basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common forms of cancer. Not as nasty as squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, but still . . . Cancer! I had a skin cancer.
This makes me think two things. One, I am getting older, and am not as invulnerable as I used to be. So if you’re getting older too, and I assume you are, and something is bothering you, GO GET IT CHECKED OUT. Might as well use that insurance they’re charging you for, even if it won’t pay any of the bill, at least it will get you in the door.
The other thing is, thank you Kim, my wife. Because if you didn’t keep bugging me about it, I wouldn’t have done it, resolution or not. I love you, and now I don’t have to worry about it anymore, even though I have to go back in three months to make sure nothing else is growing on me.