When I was 17, I was told I had skin cancer.
It all started when my pediatrician voiced his concern about a funny looking mole on my shoulder.
“You should really see a dermatologist about this,” he said. Trusting entirely in him and his medical advice, I obliged.
I walked into the dermatologist’s office two weeks later.
“You are way too tan,” the doctor said before I could introduce myself.
“Um, hello to you, too,” I thought. After my consultation, I was back in the office for two biopsies.
During my second visit, I wore the practical and fashionable hospital gown and waited while the nurse injected a needle into the mole. All of a sudden, I felt extremely dizzy and warm all over. The walls began to tilt.
“I don’t feel good,” I slurred. The next thing I knew, I was on my back with my legs straight up in the air while a nurse handed me a cup of orange juice.
“Don’t look at me!” I screamed at the attractive doctor who had just opened the door to my exposed ass.
It wasn’t some sort of weird reaction I had to the procedure; I was just terrified of needles. They took another sample of a second mole that looked abnormal, and they shipped the samples off to a lab.
Two weeks later, I was told that yes, I had mild skin cancer. Luckily, with biopsies of the two moles, I was immediately made cancer-free.
But, I was left with the two scars, one of which people like to poke and ask invasive questions about it for some odd reason.
I’m very fortunate to say I had an amazing doctor who saved me a lot of pain and affliction by advising me to go to a dermatologist before it was too late.
Sure, I had rather ugly scars on prom night, but I sure as hell would rather have them than be buried six feet under, due to my own negligence.
I grew up in South Florida. To an extent, the music videos and the movies are accurate: The majority of bodies here are skinny and extremely tan.
I am skinny by nature (thank you, fast metabolism), but when it comes to being tan, I am the complete opposite.
I am fair-skinned with blonde hair and light blue eyes, and I yearned to be tan, but that was a problem.
Although I have never set foot in a tanning bed or anything involving manufactured UV rays, I was just as dumb with my skincare. As an avid lover of the beach, I went almost every day or laid out by the pool.
I skim boarded and read on the sand, with very minimal sunscreen on. I’m talking about SPF 15, which does nothing for my pasty, white ass.
On top of that, I used lotion with bronzer in it, as well as spray tan in a bottle. Tired of smelling like dihydroxyacetone and frankly scared sh*tless from my experience at the dermatologist, I decided to return to my pale ways.
For a fairly low maintenance chick, all that skin upkeep was too much to worry about anyway.
The moral of the story is this: Don’t be careless about your skin. July is UV Safety Month, but all 11 months should be, too.
Every day, I wear face lotion containing SPF 30, even if I’m not outdoors. My BB face cream contains SPF as well, and I’ll be damned if I go to the beach without SPF 50 in my bag.
Looking bronze (or in my case, slightly orange) is not worth the time, energy, money and, most importantly, your life.
According to Cancer.org, over 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma cancers are diagnosed annually in the United States.
As for the melanoma cases of cancer, it’s predicted that over 73,000 cases will be diagnosed this year.
Don’t be a statistic. Protect your skin, and get checked.