Truly, I believe that the gift of melanoma keeps on giving. If the thought of having skin cancer that’s potentially lethal doesn’t scare the bejeebers out of you, then maybe the realities of living life after a melanoma diagnosis will.
Melanoma. It’s a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, but nobody really thinks that it can happen to them. Until it does. Then life changes forever. It is marked by odd scars where spots have been taken off, and the constant biopsies for every spot that pops up. It is marked by regular visits to the oncologist and dermatologist. Life is also marked by having to wear sunscreen every day, and to think about sun exposure carefully.
I have seriously considered whether a full burkini with SPF might not be the worst idea I’ve had, since it would protect almost all of my skin. See, sunscreen is only effective to a point. It’s the point at which you’ve remembered to apply it, and re-apply it regularly, and haven’t accidentally missed any spots. Sunburn scares me, because I know that I’m further damaging my skin, and possibly triggering that next genetic pop which yields more cancer, which could potentially be fatal. Scary stuff.
It’s also scary because I worry about my kids getting my terrific genes. Truly, the gift of Melanoma keeps on giving, and giving, and giving. It permeates so much of my life, that I almost wonder what life was like before it struck. The only silver lining is that it has proven to be a fantastic opportunity for educating people around me in wearing sunscreen. Strange, how showing the girls in my troop the scar on my neck makes them want to wear lots, and lots of sunscreen. And if they aren’t sure they want to re-apply the sunscreen, then they are sure quick to put it on after seeing my neck. I guess some good is coming of it, in that it might prevent cancer in a few in the next generation. That is good. But the rest of it sucks, for me at least.
Wear your sunscreen, and hats, and keep out of the sun folks! This is your PSA.