Check Yo Self

I love the sun.  I love the warmth & overall good feelings it brings.  Unfortunately, the sun does not love me back.  As a fair skinned-freckled-redhead, I’ve always known that I have a higher chance of getting skin cancer & unfortunately, I don’t know any of my family history either.  I’ve been an avid user of self tanners since I can’t get a natural tan in the first place.  I’m guilty of using tanning beds more than I should.  It was the thing to do when I was in middle school & high school.  I even worked at a tanning salon for awhile during my senior year of high school & would tan for free.  In college & my early 20s, I would use tanning beds off & on.  I loved laying in the warmth of the bed, especially in the middle of January.

Back in December, I read posts by two different bloggers within a week of each other where they had to have cancerous spots removed.   It finally hit me that I needed to get to the doctor ASAP.  I’ve had these two black spots just above the back of my knee that I knew I needed to get checked out.  They weren’t large spots by any means, smaller than the size of a pencil eraser but little bigger than a pen mark.  The bad thing is that I just kept putting off making an appointment.  It’s not like I didn’t have health insurance or something like that.  I was just lazy.  I’ve also had another nagging skin condition that I needed to get check out so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone.

I found a dermatologist that wasn’t all the way out in West Omaha so I made the appointment and waited three agonizing weeks.  I kept thinking about the worst case scenario-  what if the spots are melanoma?  What if they have to do surgery on my leg?  I’m not normally a hypochondriac but let’s just say I was kind of a nervous wreck for awhile.  January 11th finally rolls around and the doctor checks them out.  She decided that only one spot looked concerning & wanted to do a biopsy.  Since the spot was very small, she was hopeful that it would not be a huge issue & most likely caught before spreading any further.  She numbed the area, cut out the mole, and stitched it up all within maybe two minutes.  The procedure wasn’t painful at all and they would have the results within 10-14 days.  I was advised to take it easy the rest of the day but I could go back to my regular activity within a day.  I’m so very thankful that having the stitches didn’t keep me on the couch.  I needed to stay active to maintain my sanity.  If I let myself think about it too much, I started to worry about all the things I worried about before my appointment.  During this time, I read about another blogger who recently had to have a spot removed which made me freak out even more.  Even though I had no idea what the results would be, I couldn’t help but be angry for some silly reasons.  I was mostly angry with my genetics– why did I have to be born with this complexion?  Why does skin cancer have to even exist when the sun is so wonderful?

I ended up having to go back into the office on January 27th to get the two little stitches removed.  Curtis & I both tried to cut them out here at home but didn’t have much luck with it.  They still didn’t have my results back yet but assured me that they would call as soon as they received them.  I called on Wednesday & Thursday of last week before I finally got a call back from the nurse.  The first call was to let me know that my results were still pending.  About 20 minutes later, she called me back to let me know she actually found my results.

Benign.

I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I heard that.  I was so convinced I had melanoma due to my genetics along with the fact that the mole was black & found on the back of my leg.     

Since this appointment was just a quick spot check on the moles I thought were concerning, I have a full body scan scheduled for next month.  It is possible that I could have some more spots removed after that time.   This whole experience has been extremely eye opening.  I know I’ve already done some damage to my skin by using tanning beds, not wearing sunscreen all the time, etc. so I fear that skin cancer will eventually come about at some point in my life.  I am vowing to start using sunscreen more often (and not just when I’m outside at boot camp during the summer) and yearly body checks.    

Have you ever experienced anything like this?  Any suggestions on good sunscreen?  I’ve been using  a sport sunscreen or a generic store brand kind.

Linking up with Jenn & Jessi for What’s Hap-pinning Wednesday!

10 Comments

  1. whew! it’s always SO SCARY when you’re waiting for results and i’m glad that it came back benign.

    i use natural sun screen (either by eminence https://organicskincenter.com/collections/eminence-organics-sun-care or green beaver http://greenbeaver.com/categories/sunscreens/) on my body and a tinted one (https://eminenceorganics.com/ca/product/caramel-latte-tinted-moisturizer-spf-25-light-medium)for my face.
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…Tremblant 2017My Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 9, 2017

      Right, I was such a nervous wreck for those three weeks! I thought I was going to lose my mind some days, haha. Thanks for recommendations– bookmarked now!

      Reply
  2. Jessi's Design
    February 8, 2017

    Good for you for being proactive and getting everything checked out and thanks goodness all is ok! I was the same exact way in HS/College – I mean it was the thing to do! Thanks for sharing this! xo
    Jessi’s Design recently posted…“Surviving not Thriving”My Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 9, 2017

      Right! I was such a nervous wreck for those three weeks! I think tanning was just part of our generation too. I went to high school from 2002-2006 and remember all the girls tanning before homecoming, prom, etc. Even in middle school too! It seems like that culture is changing though as self tanning has become more popular & way better products.

      Reply
  3. Melissa @ Loving Life Moore
    February 8, 2017

    This is SO important! My mother is South African and never took care of her skin, and my father is Dutch and did the same. Both have had Basal Cell Carcinoma, and we’re so lucky it hasn’t been worse. I always apply sunscreen and appropriately care for my skin – such an important thing to teach my littles, too!

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 9, 2017

      I feel like sunscreen, tanning, etc. has become WAY more prevalent in the news/media over the past few years so I *think* the tanning culture is slightly changing. It’s eye opening when it is something that hits close to home too.

      Reply
  4. Jessie @ Just Jessie
    February 9, 2017

    Girl, I’m with you on the sun not loving me either. I’ve had WAY too many sunburns in my life. I’ve been pretty regular with the dermatologist (because unlike you, I am a hypochondriac lol) but I haven’t been in awhile. I have this weird mole in between one of my toes and one on my side that are new, so I feel like I should get those checked out. How weird is the one between my toes? LOL
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    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 9, 2017

      Yes, that is very strange for one to pop up! I’m sure they could check it out during your next appointment though! I actually hadn’t been to the dermatologist to get a spot checked out since I was in elementary school…yikes. 🙁 It just hasn’t been something that I’ve really thought about until recently. Now it’s going to be a regular occurrence!

      Reply
  5. kristen
    February 10, 2017

    it really is so terrifying. i’m not a hypochondriac, but i am about skin cancer. unfortunately, i know my family history and it’s not good, everyone in my family has had skin cancer basically. it’s our ‘national cancer’. something like 2 in 3 australians will get it – i’ve had several moles removed, and i get check ups every 6 months-1 year (i try to go more often but.. life). solariums/tanning beds are illegal at home but i still grew up in the sun and getting sunburned more than i’d like to admit. and i don’t know if my odds are better now living in the US, or if all the damage was done in my first 25 years. so yeah, it’s terrifying. i’m glad you got good news and i hope it continues that way for you.
    kristen recently posted…January 2017 – What’s New With You Link UpMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      February 11, 2017

      Wow, I had no idea that tanning beds were banned there! Just because of the high skin cancer rates? I don’t know if they will ever end up doing that here. I know they added a higher tax to anything tanning-related but who knows if it will go beyond that. Way to go for being proactive about it! I definitely think it’s a good idea to get checked out often, especially with a family history of it.

      Reply

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