Skin check ….


Yesterday was my annual all-over body check up for any nasty growths.  My Dermatologist is a woman with pale, porcelain skin – I don't think she has been in the sun since deciding to study Dermatology.   

She starts at my scalp and works her way down each side to the soles of my feet and in-between my toes.  Then she does the torso and lastly the face.   "Oh, your face is pretty good this year" – she sounds disappointed but then she spies something on the left temple and zaps it with her little nitrogen spray gun and then sounds even more contented to discover a whole cluster waiting to be destroyed on my right temple.   

I started having yearly checks from my middle 20's after some nasty things were found on the side of my nose and in my hairline.  I'm really of very inappropriate colouring for a farm upbringing in Australia.   About 10 years ago, for a few years, I started having to go every 6 months because Basal Cell Carcinomas kept popping up – that's when I met this pale lady.  She meticulously notes down the location of everything she burns or cuts and notes things to "watch".  She did a great job at removing a Squamous cell cancer she found about 3 years ago and yesterday stopped to admire her handiwork which is now barely noticeable.

Each year since going back to yearly checks there has been less for her to find. Perhaps I am finally catching up to the damage that was done earlier in my life.  She is very fond of saying that it is never too late to halt further damage and in summer I don't leave the house without 30+ sunscreen on my face – even though it is creamy white and hard to rub in!

And, now I seek the shade  – though shade can be hard to find sometimes: 

(Hawks Nest Australia) 



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29 responses

  1. Ha, she sounds like a barrel of laughs. I also find that dermatologists tend to cover themselves head to toe and add a hat – not very encouraging, LOL. Very good that you're keeping up the exams. I was convinced last year that I had melanoma, fortunately it was a false alarm. From what I understand the other skin cancer types are more treatable even at later stages.
    Maybe your skin has healed because you moved to a dark and gloomy climate, no doubt, LOL! No sun to be found here – not this week anyway.

  2. I used to tan so dark when I was young, but I do regret it now. So far, nothing dangerous has popped up that I'm aware of, but it sure doesn't take any time at all to pop out a bunch of freckles if I spend any time in the sun at all. I smear on the sunscreen too.

  3. Zap, sizzle…I know those sounds. I need to get a dermatologist here…I have been putting it off. Sigh. I have had skin removed from my neck and forehead and one of the places has a new ring of brown spots around it, great. My childhood was at the coast where the Gulf Stream cruises past, making the water very warm and being out on the beach a standard of daily activity. Also being in boats. Now I wear sunscreen even when in the car. I am sensitive to many of them and find that only zinc and titanium dioxide based ones will be tolerated by my skin.Interestingly, I had this red place on my face for ages and when I was putting the treatment cream on my hands, I decided to try it on that place on my face. It is now nearly gone. How in hell's name did I get fungous on my face? Weird.

  4. so good and funny the description about your Dermatologist…I see the picture from this woman…:-)))) what a good written story about a part in your life..the shot under your written text is very impressing-I wish I would be there.

  5. Isn't it horrible, the things we do to ourselves in our youth? In Canada, the danger was more about frostbite when we were "too cool" or absent minded to dress properly for the unpredictable winter weather. I regret those sneaker-wearing episodes to this day! My own poor kids will be in your shoes in twenty years. We get almost constant sun here, and not having need of sunscreen in my youth (I don't think I even knew what it was until I got married!) I don't always think of buying it/putting it on my kids until I notice the burn already starting. It's terrible parenting, I know.

  6. Good to hear you get those check-ups! Those nasties are something you want to keep track of and nip as they bud. I'm sure you're happy to see them diminishing in number as time passes. — JG

  7. Interesting coincidence Emjay….I just returned yesterday from my first ever skin check….Mrs GOF insisted I go after she discovered something which worried her. The body examination I received was nowhere near as comprehensive as yours, but I was relieved to find out that my "mole" was a harmless apparition which only grows on "old peoples" skin. Thank you doctor.Keep up the regular checks….you can't be too careful.

  8. I suppose Dermatologists treat the results every day and don't want to end up like that. It's like the PT lady who worked on my foot – she said that after the first lecture on what can go wrong with feet she raced out and bought Merrell shoes.

  9. My mom goes about 3 or 4 times a year and almost always has something removed. I hope you are luckier than your mother; I seem to have inherited skin from my father.

  10. That is great that you get checked and get things taken care of before they become problems! Yes I am into the preventative wellness type of programs.

  11. I am sensitive to many of them and find that only zinc and titanium dioxide based ones will be tolerated by my skin. Yes, that's what I use though it can get tiring trying to rub the cream in. I use one that I get through my Dermatologist called M.D. Forte Environmental Protection Care SPF 30. I'm glad that your hand and face are now better.

  12. LOL – yes, being "too cool" usually results in some form of injury later in life. But we are prepared to put up with a lot of discomfort for coolness – I think girls are worse than boys (think stiletto heels or super pointy toed shoes and the damage done to feet)

  13. Thank you James – yes, I see the diminishing number each year as an indication that I am taking prevention more seriously than I did in my 20's.

  14. Yes, it is wonderful to come across someone I like. I tried someone else first and didn't like him at all. I feel confident that she is very thorough.

  15. The sun is only my friend in a 10 minute block – on a summer's day I can feel myself start to burn after about 10 minutes. It does make us feel better to see a sunny day rather than a cloudy one.

  16. You must be blessed with good skin GOF, to have lived in the tropics so long and never a blemish. I"m glad that your mole turned out not to be a problem – keep listening to Mrs GOF though …..

  17. All that snow must be good for something! LOL. People go off on skiing w/ends and come back with raccoon markings after getting sunburnt faces except where their sunglasses are.

  18. I'm all for preventative medicine. The company I work for has a lot of "wellness" programs and incentives for employees to stay healthy. It is cheaper for them than paying sick leave. One thing I take part in each year is the Biometrics screening – looking for risk factors based on BMI; cholesterol; sugar; blood pressure etc.

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