Because I habitually #FAIL at sun protection my body has seen more than its fair share of sunburns. Some were so bad that I awoke fused to my sheets when the Aloe Vera gel dried. It’s not pretty when you’re pried from the bed by your wife and see a life-sized layer of skin where you once were.
I got better at avoiding UV radiation around the age of 37 but that did nothing to offset the damage already done.
I knew about the dangers of sun spots and skin cancer but I believed the doctor could just make short work of it with a razor blade and you’d be out the door.
My wife has been begging me to get some spots checked for the last year but I always scoffed at her concern because I’m invincible. To get some peace for me and some peace of mind for her, I ultimately went in to get sliced up and have some spots checked. Fortunately, they all came back as “abnormal in shape”, but benign. Just as I expected, Supergreg lives.
When I read about the untimely and unfortunate passing of Coach Bill Cowher’s wife to skin cancer, it rattled me. Hard. I genuinely had no idea you could die from it. I thought it was all topical and more of a visual ailment. But her death drew me to the internet like a moth to a flame and I soon realized that I hadn’t taken the threat, or my wife’s concern, seriously.
Not until I visited SkinCancer.org did I realize that skin cancer could kill me. Baffled that something so easily removed could lead to death, I read further, and discovered that left untreated, skin cancer can hijack a ride on the lymph node train and migrate to other parts of the body.
Last week, scared out of my wits by Mrs. Cowher’s story, I decided to go in for another check. Even with the insecurity of having a bandage on my face, I asked to have a suspicious spot on my cheek analyzed. It took about 30 seconds for the doctor to chisel out a sample for the lab, and I was out the door in minutes.
About 30 minutes ago I got a call from the office telling me that the spot I was certain was nothing, was in fact, a Melanoma. As per the Skin Cancer organization’s website, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and it can lead to serious illness and/or death.
Clearly, I’m not invincible, and I have no doubt in my mind that my wife and the passing of Mrs. Cowher, saved my life. At least from skin cancer.
Maybe not in the sense that I would have been dead next week, next year, or even in ten years had it not been for them, but melanomas can, have, and do often turn deadly. Had it not been caught early, who knows what the outcome would have been.
I’ve always known “Melanoma” to be a bad thing, but no more will I be all, “Yeah, but it’s only skin cancer”. Contrary to my prior belief that skin cancer wasn’t a bad-a$$ enough cancer to worry about, it is. And I don’t care where melanoma is located…inside or out…it can kill.
As for me, they think I’ll be 100% fine. It was caught early and it’ll be removed at my appointment a week from Monday. I’ll have a few stitches from the incision as they’ll be diggin’ in to make sure it’s totally gone. Then, a nervous week while I await test results for what I’m confident will be an “all clear” diagnosis.
If nothing else. And I don’t care about Facebook links, tweets, or even comments at this point. If you do nothing else, please read these skin cancer facts.
And if you want to gain MAJOR karma? Check yourself out next time you’re in the shower or admiring your physique in the mirror (like I often do). If you spot something, make an appointment with your doctor or a dermatologist. In mere minutes you’ll either have peace of mind or in-time treatment for something that could manifest itself.
Not sure what to look for? Check this out…there’s even some cartoonish nudity in it for you. If you’re into that kind of thing. Which I’m not. Just sayin’. Extra motivation.
I want you around for a LONG time because I clearly can’t risk losing any readers. But if you do stop reading my blog, I’d rather it be because you hate me, and not because of a preventable tragedy.
Get checked. Tomorrow.
Or I’ll sic my wife on ya.