That time again folks, a visit to my dermatologist to remove a precancerous growth from my face. I continue to pay the price for the Folly of my Youth, baking myself on the beach seeking that ever elusive tan.
Of all the dire warnings we received in our youth from going straight to Hell if we smoked weed to the perils of unprotected sex perhaps the most accurate is the danger of baking oneself on the beach. Oh yes, I was one of those fools, who early spent the morning lying supine on the beach, baking my supple bod under the ultra violet cancer causing rays of the Sun.
|Me, foolishly |
Thirty years ago this year (yes, it was THAT long ago) I first visited a dermatologist. That was when I worked at a big bank in Philadelphia. During my lunch hour I took a walk down to Thomas Jefferson University for my doctor's appointment. Coincidentally, my doctor at that time was also of Chinese ancestry as is my doctor now. What are the odds?
I had arranged an appointment because I noticed that every time I shaved my left cheek would hurt. The doctor examined my face and told me my face was covered with actinic keratosis lesions. "What in the world is actinic keratosis?" I thought. Well, he old me they were pre CANCEROUS lesions.
There is was. The dreaded "C" word. I was so taken aback that I had to sit down. He explained to me that while actinic keratosis lesions are not cancerous they could lead to cancer. He also told me that, for the rest of my life, I would have to see a dermatologist every six months. This was thirty years ago folks. And with few exceptions, I have been seeing a dermatologist.
|Me this morning after the biopsy was taken from my left cheek|
But first he had to treat all the lesions, most of which were not noticeable to the casual eye, with a topical chemotherapy treatment. Basically, this was a chemical skin peel of my face. And folks, I'm here to tell you that was one of the most painful procedures I've ever had in my long life. The only medical problem that has been more painful was my passing of kidney stones and folks, NOTHING surpasses that pain level. But this topical chemical skin peel was pretty painful.
|That's part of my left cheek in the little vial next to the forceps|
I had it done over the New Year's holiday. My face looked like raw hamburger. I was scaring folks with my appearance. I remember standing on the platform at Suburban Station and people would take one look at my beet red face and give me space, like I was contagious.
It took about two weeks for my face to heal. The good news was that I had all new skin on my face, felt like a baby's ass (not that I would know). The bad news was that I could never lay on the beach again. Come to think of it, that wasn't really bad news. I was always bored laying on the beach anyway. The bad news was that I would always have the cost (and there were years that I didn't have insurance so all those dermatologist visits came out of my shallow pocket) and inconvenience of finding a dermatologist for the rest of my life. Another chunk of my freedom gone.
Most visits to my dermatologist over the years I've managed to get out of their office without having chunks of my flesh either being burned (dry ice) or cut (for biopsies). However, in recent years I almost always have another piece of flesh taken off of my once prime bod. These days this old bod gives up a little more sun baked flesh to the dermatologist's laboratory. And this morning I was asked if my damaged skin could be on my doctor's new website warning of the danger and damage of prolonged sun exposure. Of course I gave my permission. Just another instance of my image living on long after I'm gone (this along with my brief appearance in the audience of "The Price is Right!")
My good doctor dug out a piece of my left cheek this morning for a biopsy. I'll know the results in about a week and a half. Been here before folks. Always got a pass from the cancer. Hopefully I'll get another pass.
Afterward, to cheer my spirits we stopped at the local Walmart. Shopping and watching Walmart People always cheers me up. I'm never disappointed when I slum it up in a Walmart (listen to me, like I'm NOT one of THOSE people).