Life’s Short, Wear Sunscreen

It all started about a two years ago.  I had a weird bump on my face.  It looked sort of like a pimple, but a very persistent one.  It lasted a couple months, and then went away into what looked like a raised, slightly-discolored scar.  Fred had been nagging me to go get it checked since he first saw it, but I sort of shrugged it off.

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This one just last year

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This one is from our honeymoon in 2014

Well three weeks ago I finally made a visit to the dermatologist.  Despite me not saying anything about that spot, the doctor saw it right away and wanted to do a biopsy.  He took a razor to my face right then and there and shaved a big chunk off.  Then he sent me home with a bandaid on my cheek.

A week later I got a call that the sample had tested positive as a Basal Cell Carcinoma, and they would have to do Mohs surgery on my face.  Basically they remove one layer of skin, about 2mm thick all around the spot, and then put it under a microscope.  They keep doing layer after layer until there is no more sign of cancer cells.

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I was super lucky that they only had to remove one layer.  It is bad enough as is!  I can’t imagine doing more.  After I was all clear they had a plastic surgeon come in and stitch me up.  They had to stitch quite a ways on either side of the circle in order to keep the skin from puckering.

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I’m currently on the mend.  Just like when I had a broken foot, dealing with the repetitive questions is the worst part.  I like that a lot of people have looked worried though, and asked me, “What did it look like?” or, “How do I know?”.  My answer is, if you’re worried, get it checked out.  I had no idea anything looked funny.

Currently in search of the perfect hat if anyone has suggestions.

And most of all, my message to you is ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN!

10 thoughts on “Life’s Short, Wear Sunscreen

  1. interesting that a seemingly innocuous bump can cause such concern. Good thing you at least had it checked out. makes me wonder about a couple things I have myself, but may just leave things alone.

  2. I’ve had two Mohs done on my forehead. No fun. Twice-a-year checkups with the dermatologist allow her to freeze precancerous lesions with liquid nitrogen before they get nasty and hopefully prevent future Mohs….for boating, in my mind the choice is baseball type caps which don’t protect the ears or neck, or something like a Tilley hat, which floats and comes with a string to keep in from flying off in the breeze. https://www.rei.com/product/721740/tilley-ltm6-airflo-hat . Soaking the hat in icewater stops it from being too hot..Also I use a daily moisturizer (Aveeno) with SPF 15 for regular days and add on SPF 50 for sailing. And reapply every few hours if sweating…Good luck with healing!

  3. My mother also got “sailor’s disease” – very scary.

    Hats are far more effective than sunscreen. For cruising, a cheap straw gardening hat from your local hardware store will have good coverage and is cool. For racing or windier conditions, I use a ball cap with an integrated elastic headband (to keep or from flying in to the drink).

    For sunscreen, check out Kinesys, it’s pretty much just zinc oxide suspended in plant oil.

  4. I have had a few of these – what a drag! Here’s something to consider for others who might be facing this: I have had a few cut out, but I recently had one on my nose, which is particularly prone to scarring and can also get misshapen if cut. My doctor, who was NOT a dermatologist, recommended radiation therapy. The radiation oncologist said I was a good candidate – said that dermatologists hardly ever recommend this, because, hey, if you have a scalpel, everything looks like it needs to be cut. (If, conversely, you have a multi-million dollar radiation machine, you’d rather radiate it.) The therapy was tedious – nose turned bright red and hurt – I had to do it every day for several weeks – but at the end, there’s something like a 98% chance that they got it all, and no scarring.

  5. Hi! I’m an editor at the Huffington Post. What a powerful story! Would you be interested in re-posting this piece on our site? I feel like it would really resonate with our readers. Feel free to reach out at hayley [dot] miller [at] huffingtonpost [dot] com. Hope to hear from you!

  6. Thank you for sharing. I had a similar bump in almost exact same spot; however, mine is a bit higher and closer to my eye. I have scheduled for MOHs surgery on 9/15 and an oculoplastic surgeon will do reconstruction/suturing later in the day. I’m curious how yours is healing after the suture removal etc. Would you mind sharing a photo? Thanks again. Yes, wear sunscreen!! 🙂

  7. I have had this annoying bump just appear on my face within the last 3-4 months ago, I’m a huge picker, so I thought I could just get it to go away, problem is it won’t, it might shrink, but it doesn’t go away completely. It wasn’t until your post, that I have scheduled an appt to see a dermatologist, my spot looks exactly like yours! Good luck on your suture removal and thank you for your post.

    • Well I went for my appointment today. It didn’t take the PA two seconds to say that she thought it was cancerous. She was very careful to say that she was not 100% and she wouldn’t know until the biopsy come back in 7-10 days. I have to be honest. Because of you and your article, is the only reason I went to have this looked at and was prepared to be told it could be cancer and not be caught off guard. Thank you again. How have you been since your suture removal?

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