When I was a little girl, my parents took me swimming a lot. In fact, I loved it, took lessons and had a lifesaving badge by the time I was 11 years old.  The class thought I couldn’t rescue this guy who was twice my size and were all laughing and having a great time, treating me like I was a little girl. Ha! I dove into the pool and dragged the guy out by his hair (using titled appropriately enough, the “hair” carry). They never laughed at me again.

But I was in the sun… a lot. I spent a little time guarding, but I also swam meets, did some synchronized swimming and well… nobody knew that there would be a danger for skin cancer in later life. We figured that if you got burned once, you’d then tan and then fine. Who knew? And I can tell you I had some doozie sunburns, even poisoning once — in Michigan.

Well, some 40 years later those sun days are taking a toll, AND, I might add, I got most of my sun in Pittsburgh, a place well known for its cloudy days.  Lucky for me, mine is called “basal cell carcinoma,” and though it needs to be treated, it’s not life threatening unless you ignore it for years and years.

On August 10, I had what’s called MOHS surgery… to get rid of the cancer cells. My doctor, Elizabeth Callahan of SkinSmart Dermatology in Sarasota, is amazing. She got it all, first try. But it was kind of a big hole because the type I have is “invasive,” and she says that means it “spiders” out, so there was probably more of me gone than needed to happen if the cancer hadn’t been aggressive like that. She did what she called a “skin flap,” and took stuff from one side of my nose to cover the other.

It looked pretty bad at first, as you can see from this photo. It took a few days for me to be able to open my eyes and to see again. No big deal. It passed, and everything healed, and it was looking pretty good. A bit of make-up and it was me again. I was happy about that. I mean, what’s more important to a woman than her face?  Well… maybe her shoes, but that’s not me. Ha!

So, six weeks has passed, and I had to go back for laser treatments to remove redness and she promises that it will be good as new in two weeks. Well… I’m hoping for that because today, it looks pretty nasty, and just when I was getting back to normal, too.  I took this last night. It’s kind of spread out and all over my face today, which thrills me no end.

I’m not whining. I feel fine, just look nasty. I’ll be hiding out for a few days and then, after a couple of weeks be better than before. At least my nose will. But I’ll be looking out for new instances and getting a yearly check up, you can bet. This wasn’t fun.

I’m telling you this so that you will get how important it is to wear sunblock, even if you’re only in the sun for a short time. Wear it, put it on your kids, and hopefully, you’ll never have to go through this stuff. And believe me, I feel blessed. There are lots of people with far worse issues than me.

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