Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Regrets, 22 years later.

Back in 1993, my family came down to Clearwater to visit my grandparents. We spent most of the time basking in the beautiful Florida sun. We went to Clearwater Beach, the St. Pete Pier, and even Ft. DeSoto Beach for picnics. During one of those trips to the beach, I thought it would be a great idea to refuse wearing sunscreen, even though my skin has always been lighter. My mom tried to get me to wear sunscreen but I just wasn't having it. It's no surprise then that later that afternoon when we returned to my grandparent's house, I developed a heat rash and it became increasingly worse. So bad that my mom ended up taking me to my grandmother's doctor (no walk-in clinics back in the 90s!) and I was diagnosed with sun-poisoning, was put on steroids to help the swelling, and was given strict orders to stay out of the sun. I don't remember how bad my skin peeled, as skin does when it gets sun-burned, but I remember hurting. And I remember my mom being so mad at herself for not forcing me to wear sunscreen.
Through high school, I typically avoided the sun but thought it would be a genius idea to go to a tanning bed a few times before both my junior and senior proms. Luckily I didn't go crazy at the tanning bed, but it's still awful. And looking back, I could kick myself for putting my skin through that. 
Fast-forward to my 8 years of living in Florida. I can probably count on both hands the amount of times I've been to the beach., I just don't like it. I'm so paranoid about getting burned that I usually lather up the SPF 50 and still wear a hat and sit in the shade. I'd much rather be inside a Starbucks, sipping on an iced-latte, and reading a gossip magazine. 
So where is this post going you might be asking? Well, last Friday I went to the dermatologist for a yearly skin check and because I had a tiny mole on my calf that was becoming itchy at times. Dr. Google said that was a bad, bad thing and that I should get to a dermatologist sooner than later. So, on Friday, I shuffled off to my dermatologist's office thinking at best she would say to keep an eye on it. 
At least my toes are pretty! ;)
She took one look at the mole on my leg and said "I don't like the way that looks one bit. That is coming off today and it's being biopsied". SAY WHAT!?!?!
The thought of the needle numbing my leg wasn't what scared me. Abnormal moles, biopsy, and skin cancer was all I kept thinking about. She also removed a mole from my boobs as well (it wasn't bothering me, but it had grown bigger throughout the course of my pregnancy). So, think of this as a little PSA as I wait the dreaded WEEK for results. 
Go get your skin checked.  Even ONE sunburn can increase your chances of skin cancer, which is why I visit the dermatologist every year (or in this case, every 15-ish months). I regret not letting my mom put sunscreen on me and I regret the other times I got sunburned or was stupid and went to the tanning bed. It's just not worth it. On top of everything else I'm stressed about right now, I now have to have this pit in my stomach for another few days. 

I've been praying that everything comes back fine and that it's nothing. But seriously, don't have the regrets I do. 

Get your skin checked. Oh, and stay out of the sun too!
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