I really thought I’d be able to get a video of my cute skin doctor, Steve, saying “use sunscreen, you dumb dorks,” but he wouldn’t agree to saying something that straightforward, even when I told him it was for the children.
And there’s some restriction that has to do with HIPAA or something, so I couldn’t take any kind of video of him and his assistant in his office this morning.
You’re not going to get to see how cute he is. Sorry.
In November, 2012, I had a huge basal-cell carcinoma removed from the left side of my nose via a procedure called Mohs.
Don’t worry, the doctor told me, no one has ever lost a day of her life from this type of cancer. So I blithely went about my routine, scheduled a family trip to Guatemala, as well as a presentation in front of a couple hundred people, and another half marathon.
Okay, the doctor said, maybe you should worry a little more than that.
I postponed the surgery until after our journey to a third world country, and the half marathon, and took a powder on the presentation.
As it turns out, the damn cancer-thing was dug in there like a tick and getting it out left an enormous scar on my schnoz that everyone lies and tells me is barely noticeable even though they know I can take it if they tell me the truth.
As it also turns out, if you have ever had basal cell cancer, your whole skin system has probably reached the threshold where the cancer’s just biding it’s time, waiting to spring out on you somewhere else. In fact, Steve said I was 33% more likely to be diagnosed again within the first 18 months of the first episode.
Let’s see, it’s been … 18 months.
This wouldn’t be a problem were I not a total outdoor person. I’d rather jam chopsticks under my fingernails than run on a treadmill, inside. So I’ve been faithfully wearing sunscreen every day.
On my face.
Which means today I had to go back in to see Dr. Steve – who won’t let me film him telling you all not to be big, dumb dorks and to wear sunscreen – to get a dang thing cut off my arm.
Steve says he tells people all the time to wear sunscreen, particularly young women who feel compelled to get a tan. He says nobody listens to him.
I’d listen to Steve if I were a young woman.
It was somewhere in my teens and early twenties that I did all this damage to my skin, heedless of the fact that my ancestors come from the north where there is no sun and everybody stays covered up all the time anyway.
I didn’t think back then that I would care much about wrinkles, either. Steve was probably in diapers. We were all so carefree …
Today, I care about wrinkles enough I might give some serious consideration to Botox, except I’m totally squeamish about having botulism pumped into my face. I’ve also had needles stuck in there before, and that’s an experience I’d rank somewhere around having a root canal or giving birth without the benefit of drugs.
Even though he wouldn’t let me film him, Steve was happy to suggest some pictures of my arm, before and after he excised this latest cancer (you can see where the biopsy was taken, right next to the scar from the last time I had some basal cells removed).
If you happen to have seventeen year olds around who think it’s cool to hang out in the sun for any length of time, and especially if they have fair hair and blue eyes, call them over to the screen right now.
Then pull the Jewish mom act on them like I do with my own kids these days.
“Do you want to catch THE CANCER?” I say in what I think is a truly brilliant New York-slash-Nanny-slash-Fiddler-On-The-Roof accent, but what is more likely something you’d associate with a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon.
You might throw a little salt over one shoulder and make a sign to ward off an evil eye while you’re at it.
Then call Steve.
You know, this day would be considerably brighter if you voted. Let me know, first, though, if you’re going to make my day brighter. I’ll need to put on a burqa.