My risk for skin cancer is high: I was an indoor tanner for YEARS. While my skin does (eventually) tan, I am light skinned with blue eyes. Probably a II on the Fitzpatrick Skin Type classification. I had SEVERAL terrible sunburns PER YEAR — as both a child and an adult. I was a sun worshipper by beach or by pool. I have visible sun damage by way of freckles and age spots. And now I’ve had my first basal cell carcinoma. While I’d like to hope it will be my only experience with skin cancer, I’m realistic in that is probably unlikely.
Now that I’ve had one, my risk is 50% greater for developing another in my lifetime. And the statistics were already not in my favor to begin with. Plus, all things considered, I’m still young.
At my annual skin cancer screening in April, I let my dermatologist know that I had a rough patch of skin near my right eye — it broke open once over last summer, bled, but never scabbed. A few times it broke open again when I used my Clairsonic in that area. I just thought it was a sensitive spot. Like, my sunglasses gave me a callous. There was no mole, no freckle and no discolored skin. But I’m glad I brought it to her attention anyway.
She said the skin had a “sheen” to it and biopsied from that area.
A week later, I learned that the pathology report read basal cell carcinoma, a common and, thankfully, treatable form of skin cancer. But still, I HAVE SKIN CANCER. Because of my curious and over-driven (possibly over-anxious) brain, I had to learn everything about it: how it occurs, the differences between the types of skin cancer, treatment options… so many disfiguring pictures.
My dermatologist recommended MOHs surgery, since the BCC was on my face. ON MY FACE. During the procedure, a MOHs surgeon removes the cancerous tissue, testing the margins of each piece to ensure all of the cancer is out. You don’t leave until you test cancer free. Some people need several rounds of this — thankfully, I needed only one, which means the cancer was small and caught early.
Even still, I needed approximately 15 stitches to patch me back up — some of those are INSIDE my skin, and will be in there for up to three months. I get my bandages off tomorrow afternoon, and I think they’re taking out the exterior stitches.
Progression of healing:
I definitely have some healing left to do. Emotionally and cosmetically. Scarring is inevitable when removing skin cancer. And I will always have the reminder looking back at me every. single. day. I probably still have yet to reach full acceptance and accountability.
It’s really hard to accept that, at a certain level, I could have protected myself from this. I’m the only one to blame, thinking for so many years that Tan is Beautiful. While I’ve given up my tanning days several years ago, I can’t erase time and terrible mistakes. It’s heartbreaking… and an emotional roller coaster that won’t end for some time.
The noticeable bruising and swelling is very difficult to cover, especially when you can’t just hide inside your house for the next three months. So, that’s why I decided to share my story and my pictures, even though this was really hard for me. To every 30-something: GET YOUR ANNUAL SKIN CANCER SCREENING. Yes, I’m yelling. And for those young people who think you’re invincible, please stop tanning — indoor and out. Use 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen. Always.
You may think that Tan is Beautiful too. But cancer is not.
Our neighborhood yard sale was last weekend, and I really wish now that I would have got my shit together a little early (and cleaned out my closets and organized the basement). As we walked around, looking at the items that were selling, we groaned in unison: “We totally could have got rid of that!”
I also groaned and grumped later when I didn’t jump on the purchase of a $20 hammock, and it was sniped before I returned to purchase. I am not a good yard sale-r.
Old electronics. Clothes with tags still on. Home decor: lamps and frames and cabinets and tables. Random small appliances and kitchen ware. Boxes and boxes of cables and wires and chargers… formerly-awesome models of iPhones and iPods.
We have all these things and more!
After checking out sites like sellmymobile.com though, I think I can get a little more money for my old electronics that way (and a neighbor won’t have any weird, non-erased, possibly gossipy personal info). Not even joking though, I never imagined an old iphone could net me almost $200 at resale.
Every season I seem to go through another Purge though. I continue wanting to own LESS. I hate the idea of Storage. I wish that neighborhood-wide yard sales were a monthly thing because I’d be making at least a little something off all these old electronics, clothing with tages still on, home decor… you get where I’m going.
Summer’s Purge may have been a weekend too late for a successful yard sale, but I’m reaping the reward of removing all the clutter.
Had my MOHs surgery this week, so this post will be short-and-sweet. I have to wait 7-10 days to do any kind of physical activity, so I’m also on derby break. I’ll know more next Thursday when I get my bandages removed (for further healing time). I have no idea how long my stitches will be in my face, which is weird — especially if they’re going to be exposed.
Neighborhood yard sale (also, first time in public since the surgery). Power game on Saturday, and then the Pirates game with my dad on Sunday. But lots of rest and learning how to cover up a black eye with makeup.
52 books in 52 weeks:
I got 17% through a new book about Ted Bundy, but it was boring, so I cut my losses and started reading something else.
seven things, seven days:
1. I won a $100 restaurant gift card from Dawg’s Dish. SO AWESOME! And we have a new restaurant to try when we return home to Cleveland this summer.
2. Yoga. Needed.
3. Purchased a CC cream (finally) and was disappointed to learn it didn’t contain sunscreen. Plus, the product itself sucks. Meh.
4. We booked a trip to Costa Rica!
5. Now I need to renew my passport though… holy expensive — especially for expedited processing!
6. Homemade strawberry milkshakes: for those days when you cannot drink alcohol. Sober Therapy.
7. Does trying to be happy make us unhappy?
Mental health is the foundation of our thoughts, feelings, self-esteem and behaviors and how each (or all) affect our life. Having good mental health provides a feeling of general well-being, helping you make better decisions and coping with everyday stressors. Sometimes, you may need assistance from a professional to take care of mental health — especially if emotions or problems seem beyond your control. I have a family history of (mostly undiagnosed) mental illness and have been personally treated for my own anxiety issues (a cluster of social anxiety, agoraphobia, OCD and panic disorder).
Being open about mental health can often lead to even more anxiety because of the stigma, rejection and lack of empathy or understanding for those of us living with mental health issues. Before you judge, educate yourself.
Some mental health facts:
- One in four Americans experiences a mental health disorder every year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
- Chronic stress can affect both our physical and psychological well-being by causing a variety of problems including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
- Research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior finds that 68 percent of Americans do not want someone with a mental illness marrying into their family and 58 percent do not want people with mental illness in their workplaces.
Congress designated May as Mental Health Month in 1949 to illustrate the importance of mental health issues to the overall health and well-being of American citizens. Each year, bloggers will join APA for a Mental Health Month Blog Day to educate the public about mental health, decrease stigma about mental illness, and discuss strategies for making lasting lifestyle and behavior changes that promote overall health and wellness.
Stop the stigma of mental health disorders — and don’t hesitate to get professional services if and when you need help.
Online Dating for 30-somethings is something else… am I right, or am I right? While I’m not in the dating pool, I’ve BEEN THERE. I’ve also heard the stories — oh, SO many stories — about online dating. True story though: I know two couples (who have openly admitted to it anyways) that met and live, now, happily ever after because of internet dating sites. So, it’s not all catfish.
But are you ready for something different? Stir is Match.com’s answer to online dating. 30-somethings (among others) can meet potential suitors by participating in a wide range of offline dating activities to Match.com — members around the country come together for unique events ranging from large-scale happy hours to more intimate affairs.
Match.com Stir is celebrating its one-year anniversary! In just one year, Match has hosted 2,850 events and collaborated with over 1,200 venues and partners, including House of Blues, Banana Republic, Sur la Table and Warrior Dash. They also play well with the local gems in each city (Pittsburgh too!). Over 225,000 singles have attended Stir Singles Events to date! That sounds like a lot of happy daters.
In celebration of the anniversary, Match.com is offering the opportunity for singles to create their own Stir event. If your event is chosen, you get to work with Stir event planners to bring that idea to life.
Visit Match.com’s “What Stirs You?” Contest Page now through Tuesday May 28th, 2013 — and tell Match.com what you think would make for the perfect singles event. That’s all you need to do to be entered to win. Entries will be judged based on quality, creativity, uniqueness and geographical relevance. The selected winner will have their idea recreated by the Events by Match.com team in their city and will receive an invitation to attend the event along with ten of their singles friends (no charge!). Bonus: the winner will also receive a free six-month Match.com subscription.
So, tell me 30-somethings: What Stirs you?
Disclaimer: I received compensation for publishing this post about Match.com and Stir events. All opinions are my own.
30-something Therapy is psychoeducational, with forward-positive community behavioral support. This blog is NOT intended to diagnose, treat, or replace human-to-human legal and licensed psychological or medical professional therapy or counseling. If you need help, please locate and connect with a certified professional in your area.