Skin Cancer Scare

Hey y’all. So I wanted to talk about a topic that has recently become an important factor in how I live my life and my day to day habits. Currently, it’s the hottest time of the year, at least for us in Florida until September. Now, as a born and raised Floridian, that usually means beach days or time spent at the water park or hanging by the pool working on that glorious tan.

Recently, I went to a dermatologist and had to have four spots removed. Normally, they find a spot or two that looks suspicious, but when they scrape a bit off and remove it, it always comes back negative for anything and completely fine. Well, I had my appointment, waited two weeks, and called the office for the results. Out of the four spots, 3 were fine. One however, came back as severely atypical. For those of you who don’t know what that means, since I didn’t, the doctor explained that it means my freckle was either already turned cancerous, or it had an extremely high likelihood of doing so. The problem was, they weren’t sure which it was, and I had to go in for a minor procedure where they took more of it, in a larger area, to ensure that they not only got all of those atypical cells, but also had enough to properly test and find out what was going on.

This spot was on my right hand, on my middle finger. I’m ambidextrous, but prefer to use my right hand for many tasks. When I went in for my procedure, I was prepared to either get stitches or have some algae packed in that would help it heal and keep it closed up. Well, upon review of where exactly the spot was, it was determined that I would get neither, as there wasn’t enough skin for stitches, and they prefer not to use the algae for fingers. So instead, they were going to cauterize the wound and leave me with a gaping hole that would eventually heal on its own with proper wound care.

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Pic is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Well, I’m not going to lie, a needle in your finger hurts, especially right by the nail. What hurt even more though, was the fact that at one point, he didn’t numb me far enough out, and I felt him cutting through my skin. Turns out a “whoops that shouldn’t have happened” doesn’t make you feel very confident in your doctor. Thankfully, besides that one instance, I didn’t feel a thing. The cauterizing definitely is not the most pleasant smell, go figure, burning skin, but it didn’t hurt, and it helped stop the bleeding. Which, as we all know, fingers bleed, a lot.

After my procedure, I was told to minimize movement of my hand and put my arm in a sling. No kidding, a sling. I work on computers all day, and I didn’t want to take any sick time, so I adapted and worked with one hand. Not the best experience, but it definitely made me super thankful that I was only having to do that for a short amount of time. I also have not been able to play tennis, and have had to be very careful about not hitting it on random surfaces, otherwise I cause a nice throbbing sensation to go through my finger for a few minutes. It’s fun.

After anxiously waiting another two weeks, I called the office and got told that I was good, there was no need to have anything else removed, that they had gotten enough. Unfortunately, whenever you go in for a procedure like that, there’s always a chance that they will have to call you back in to get a little more.

Now, mine had a good ending thankfully, except for the fact that as I write this, my finger is still bandaged. I am going 10 weeks after this whole thing started. I have new skin growing in, but it definitely is taking its time. However, not everyone is as lucky as I am. I’m only 24 years old, but now I have had a scare that requires I see a dermatologist every 6 months. So many others I know haven’t even seen a dermatologist, and they’ve been Floridians their whole lives. I’m writing to stress the importance of it. It’s definitely not the most fun, but it is so absolutely necessary. Yes, I will have a weird spot on my hand forever now. And yes, I have a few other weird spots from where they took samples. But, knowing that skin cancer is one of the most deadly, and yet also the most preventable, I feel thankful.

So guys, seriously, get an appointment to see a dermatologist. Even if you think you have nothing that fits the spectrum of weird spots. Guess what, my freckle on my hand, it didn’t fit any of the signs they tell us to watch out for. It was small, perfectly round, one color, and I’d had it for years and years without it changing. Also, wear sunscreen. I know, it smells weird, makes you feel sticky or oily. It doesn’t matter, it is so important to wear sunscreen and protect your skin. I love laying out by the pool or spending time outside with friends, but I also know that every sunburn I get, takes me one step closer to skin cancer. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take, especially not after having to deal with my skin being cut up. Just wear the sunscreen, get proper tinting on your vehicle, whatever you need to do to protect your skin during this heat. Plus, excessive sun leads to wrinkles and leathery looking skin. None of us want that.

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