First: I'm fine.
Second: I have a three-inch scar running down my right cheek.
Third: sunscreen! Hats!
But back to the first point.
I'm fine. I guess that's the most important point to make. That, and I'm sure glad that I'm not a super vain person about my looks. And, I'm ready for Halloween?
Nah, it's really not that bad. But it could have been.
Michael and I make our yearly dermatology appointments each fall with Dr. Silva when we're back in Sacramento, back on the job. Obviously, we're good --- ok, great? -- candidates for skin cancer. We live the majority of the year in sunny climates. And --- oh yeah --- we went sailing for about 16 years, most of the time sin sunscreen. We didn't burn, we weren't sunbathing. But we were undoubtedly damaging our skin.
Michael headed in first and discovered he had a squamous cell carcinoma on his chest, which he had surgically removed last week.
I headed in for my check up and pointed to the tiniest little bump on my cheek. I thought it was something like a zit but it didn't heal, didn't get red, didn't change color, didn't itch. It was just a tiny bump.
Fortunately, Dr. Silva didn't agree. We didn't even get to screening the rest of my face before she was biopsying that little blemish, which came back as a very aggressive type of basal cell carcinoma. I was immediately referred to a surgeon for a procedure called Mohs Surgery, where the surgeon removes and biopsies the skin, layer by layer, all on the same day, until a completely clean biopsy is present. It can often take two or three surgeries before they are ready to stitch you up and send you home.
What's apparently so good about the Mohs Surgery is they get it all the first time.
I got lucky --- lucky that I got in so early, lucky that it only took one surgery. The type of cell I have is aggressive, ill-defined, often spreading rapidly below the radar so that by the time the bump shows up, it's off and running.
I would hate to think what my face would have looked like if I had waited.
I'm not sharing this because I need to whine or I need sympathy or I need flowers. Really, all I need is for all of my friends to take the time to get screened by a good dermatologist.
Because, as I said, my little innocuous bump was tiny.