Check yourself

We’re going to Texas in a week so the other day I went shopping for swimsuits for my kids. I also considered getting myself a UV-protected long sleeve shirt to wear poolside, but was annoyed at how expensive it was. But in the end I sucked it up and got it because I know my fair skin can’t handle the heat.

Then I came home and saw a bunch of people on Twitter grieving over the loss of a blogger who died that day of melanoma, leaving behind her husband and two young sons.

I didn’t know her, but I felt heartsick reading those comments, and grateful that I bought that damn shirt.

My sister had a melanoma removed several years ago, others in my family have had basal cell skin cancer, and a few years ago I had a funky pre-cancerous mole removed that required them to go back and take out more skin around it just to be safe.

I know I have those genes in me, so I don’t mind when at my annual skin check the dermatologist hacks off another mole or two. In fact I prefer it. It makes me feel like she’s doing her job right, and I get some odd satisfaction feeling like she caught another one before it turns into something worse.  My sister, bless her red-headed fair-skinned heart, has probably had more moles removed than most people have on their entire body.

My skin motto is, When in doubt, cut it out. I have 7 scars and counting.

Melanoma is in the back of my head enough that I felt compelled to write about it. I don’t have a point with this post other than to remind you to check your skin, and have a doctor do it for you too. The nice thing about melanoma is that it’s a cancer you actually have a chance of seeing and catching before it spreads.

And of course, cover up your flesh, and that of your loved ones. Let’s keep teaching our kids that it’s fashionable and chic to hide ourselves under long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats. The way I see it, the advantage of wearing a shirt at the pool is that I can eat a hot dog and fries with no worry whatsoever that someone will see my belly flopping over my swimsuit. In which case, I’ll have a strawberry shake and nachos too.

Dawn, the blogger who passed away, had a website with lots of useful melanoma links, including a video showing how to check your own skin. The video has bad music, naked people and a lot of mirrors, but I assure you it’s not porn.

This was originally the end of this post but then – then! – I happened to see a link to another post about melanoma and OMG it has this fabulous PSA video with a catchy jingle, so I’m going to leave you with that as my closing. Check yo’self!

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11 thoughts on “Check yourself

  1. I go and I have mine checked once per year. They save the pictures there and so are always able to check the changes in color/size.
    Were are you going in Texas? I just returned back to Germany, to the cold, cold snow. Wish I was still in Texas.

    • Saving the pictures is genius. I was just thinking I should take photos of my own. I could make a baby book, but for moles. 😉 We’re going about an hour outside of Austin. I’m looking forward to the sun! From the comfort of my shaded area of course.

  2. Great reminder and great resources. You just reminded me to put sunscreen on the list before we head to the store. My daughter is so fair. I need to spray her down before she goes out in the NM sun.

  3. Yes! Ignored my melanoma way longer than I should have. My mom’s doc ignored hers way too long.
    My kids wear hats everywhere, we all wear longsleeve upf50 rashguards.
    Sunscreen every day all year. Get 10
    minutes of daily sun or take vitamin D.

    And check, check, check yourself before the sun wrecks yourself.

    • I didn’t know you had melanoma. I hope you and your mom are ok now! I’m not as good about the sunscreen every day thing because it’s cloudy here half the year, but that’s flawed logic and I need to do better.

      • Understandable about cloud avoidance. Sunscreen is a pain in the ass. Maybe cloudy days get long sleeves and hats and that’s enough because you’re not all day long? I just make it a habit for all of us. Boring, lame, time wasting but wise habit.

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