I first noticed a mole on my stomach. It did not look ominous at all, but it was growing larger summer after summer. I thought little of it because it was flat and could be seen and not felt, but one day I noticed that the edges of the brown spot had begun to become a little fuzzy. There was no longer a clear border, but rather something that looked a bit like lipstick bleeding into the creases above a woman’s lips, and it had grown from a small dot to about the diameter of a pencil eraser.
The dermatologist I saw looked at the mole a moment and said, “I can’t say for sure, but it could very well be cancerous. Let’s take it off there and do a biopsy.” So for several minutes I was prepped with betadine and lidocaine to numb the area, and then I watched as the dermatologist cut into my skin rather deeply, and removed the offending mole. Sure enough, the results came back that I had basal cell carcinoma in that area. Thankfully, the doctor got it all.
The doctor recommended I stay out of the sun, but I love the sun. It’s what I do, kind of for a hobby of sorts, but now I’m a lot more careful. Since I can’t just say no to a warm sunny day, I make sure that I put a sunscreen on that will still allow me to get color, while at the same time protect me from getting burned. I am also a big proponent of if you must have a tan, go get a spray tan for whatever event you need it for. The benefits are no tan lines, and some of them look just fabulous.
The consequence of my addiction to sun is I now boast a fairly ugly scar smack dab in the middle of my abdomen. And it is ugly. The doctor made sure I was left with a reminder that my entire body could look the way this scar does. I think I might have another on the inside of my elbow, but for the moment, I am content not to ask. My advice to you, stay of out of the sun, use sunscreen and cover up. Enjoy the beauty of unmarked skin and the youthful look that will stay with you for many years.