Thursday, May 3, 2012

So Serious, So Soon?

I know, I know. We just met. However, I am ready to get serious. I know it seems soon; however, I think it's time.

I'm more active now. There are things that I need to be comfortable while active. So, list checking I go.
  • Proper fitting sports bra, check.
  • Sweat-wicking top & bottoms, check.
  • Water, check.
  • Sunscreen, uhhh, sometimes check.

I have sensitive skin.  Most cosmetics and lotions, fragrances, etc. make my skin itch.  Literally.  Sunscreen and products with SPF in them make my skin tingle and even sometimes burn.  So, I typically go without.  Unless I know that I am going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time.
Along with learning more about fitness and nutrition, proper fitting clothes and shoes, I am learning to take care of the thing that I wouldn't normally think of.

Sunscreen. On a daily basis.  Seriously.

Serious part.

About a month ago, I had a blemish checked out by a dermatologist.  I had never had a blemish issue and was starting to get aggravated that I had one now - in my 30s.  I never thought anything about it.  Other than it was a blemish that would not go away.  It was on the side of my nose and it was really starting to annoy me.

The call that came to tell me that the little fibrous nuisance - that I had removed for vanity reasons - shocked me.  Basal Cell Carcinoma, it's a skin cancer.  It's the best type to have, if you have to have one.  That's all I really remember Gladys, my dermatologist's assistant, saying.  I sat at my desk, here at the office, for a few minutes as she asked if I was still there.  I had to ask her to repeat herself - to make sure I heard her right - and then started asking questions.  How do we deal?  What's the process?  Etc.

Two weeks after that phone call, my husband drove me 2 1/2 hours from home to see the referred skin cancer doctor; she was trained to perform the surgery that would need to be done.  She performed Mohs surgery and got clear margins in one pass.  After only two hours since our arrival, I was headed home.  The surgery was a bit more invasive than I had mentally prepared myself for and I was a bit overwhelmed (again, more than I had prepared myself to be); however, I was thankful.  I was thankful that it only took one pass and I was headed home in a relatively short matter of time.  I was stitched up (again, surprised by the number of stitches required), slightly swollen and numb and was told to expect minimal scaring.  I was good with that; I had stayed off of Google and hadn't had any predetermined ideas of what to expect.  This was both good and bad.  It ended up worse than I thought but so much better than it could have been - as I have since been on Google and seen others post about their experiences.

I have scheduled an appointment for my husband to be screened.  And, I will keep up with annual screenings for myself.  Also, we have implemented the use of SPF on a daily basis.  Including the darling daughters.
I have never been one to be active - much less outdoors - until this last year or so.  Was it this exposure that created the 'blemish'?  Probably not.  I have learned that most skin cancers are from sun exposure occurring 15-20 years prior to experiencing/seeing symptoms, including 'blemishes'.  I was in the marching band in high school; we had practice during the Noon hour as well as after school, most school days, during the fall.  I also played outside (tire swing!) as a elementary school-aged kiddo.  It was more than likely these earlier-in-life exposures that caused my 'blemish' to develop.

So, what's the major cause?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, anyone with a history of sun exposure can develop BCC.  However, people who are at highest risk have fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue, green or grey eyes.  The SCF also indicates that almost all BCCs occur on parts of the body excessively exposed to the sun - especially the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders and back. (source)

I encourage you to check out their website for more information!

Be sure that you are sun-screening up, daily, to be prepared for those random and even limited times of exposure.  Have regular check-ups with a dermatologist and protect your little ones now so that they don't have an issue later.  During the school day, sun exposure may come during PE and recess; it may only be 15-20 minutes at a time but exposure is exposure.  Be sure to send them off with SPF!

By the way, my dermatologists recommended two kinds of products.  They are Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 and Vanicream, for those with more sensitive skin, like me.

We take care of our insides with annual exams, let's be sure we're taking care of the outsides, too!

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