Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Skin I'm In

If you're looking for knitting just skip today's post. I'm still working on the sweater and the front looks exactly like the back. I'll try to get back to knitting related stuff tomorrow.

Yesterday I had an appointment with a new dermatologist. I've been living in my new home for almost two years now and I've been putting this off - with valid reasons. I am covered head to toe with freckles, moles, beauty spots, angel kisses (my mom's favorite term), whatever you want to call them I've got them. I've been fair skinned all of my life and this is just something you deal with. Lots of sunscreen, hats and in the shade as much as possible. No matter what I do I still get more. Just in case you don't believe me:

Yup, everywhere. Here's a close up on my forearm (just ignore the blond arm hair please):

A few years ago I got a couple small ones on my toes and then one on my pinkie finger. I thought it was just dirt at first. Silly me. I'll spare you a shot of my non-manicured toes.

So I've been seeing a dermatologist regularly since I was in junior high. It's a fact of life. When I first went in they removed 3 moles and everything came back normal. I moved to Chicago, got a new dermatologist and he decided to take 4 moles that caused him concern. These were the same 4 moles that the first doctor said were fine, hadn't changed at all. No worries though, it's better to be safe than sorry. Those moles weren't cancerous either.

Fast forward to yesterday. I wait 45 minutes just to see the doctor for maybe 5 minutes at the most. He looks like a kid in a candy store when he first sees me. Immediately he decides that 1 has to go. I ask him about one that I can't see that well and he says he wants to take that one too. After less than 5 minutes he walks out. All in all he wants 3 moles removed. The same 3 that the past 2 doctors said were fine. The kicker to this one is that he doesn't do the surgeries all in one day. He wants me to come in 3 separate times to have it done. Now that's pushing it buddy. That means I'm going to have some sort of stitches for more than 6 weeks with a toddler at home and a traveling husband. Not exactly convenient.

I put off this appointment for so long because I know that as soon as I see a new doctor they get all excited and just start picking the ones they think look the worse. To me, I know they are just being cautious because I'm a walking caution sign for skin cancer but I think I have enough scars for this lifetime. I've accepted the fact that I'm not the bikini type - having a baby kind of decides that for you. When people ask what happened to me when they see a scar I have resorted to telling them that it's a bullet wound from our time living in the city. At least that's more exciting.

Public Service Announcement: If you have any moles you should use the ABCDE method for checking them often. It's easy to remember and exactly what every dermatologist uses to determine if it should be removed and tested.

A - Asymmetry, Is it shaped symmetrical?
B - Border, Does it have a definite border?
C - Color, Is it just one color?
D - Diameter, Is it smaller than a pencil eraser?
E - Evolving, Is it exactly the same and unchanged?

If you answer NO to any of these questions you should get checked out just to be sure, especially if the mole has changed. Don't let my little rant sway you. I happen to be covered in these but most people just need to visit the dermatologist only a couple times in their lifetime when questionable moles appear. A family member of mine got checked out a couple years ago and even though he didn't think it was a big deal. It was cancerous. If he had waited much longer they might not have got it in time.

I may complain about the removals but it sure beats having cancer!

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