Tan Lines

This week I made my annual pilgrimage to the dermatologist’s office.  I make my appointment at least a year in advance because as you might imagine, living in Florida now, there is standing room only in the waiting room.

This last visit prompted me to write a letter in my head to my 16 year old self.  It went something like this:

“When packing for those Spring Break trips to South Padre Island, just put the baby oil back into your mother’s medicine cabinet and back away slowly.  You will never tan.  Ever.  The best you can hope for is a bright lobster red.  Which will then clash with your orange hair after you discover Sun-In.  When you are 50, which I realize is just one foot in the grave, one foot on a banana peel close to death, you will be grateful for this advice.”

During this particular dermatologist visit, I had a few things fried from my body.  There were two raised spots on my legs that the doctor was afraid I would eventually shave off accidentally.  I am now thinking that the shaving would have been the way to go, judging from the amount of screaming in my head.

The freezing aspect of the ordeal was more like a white hot searing pain that rivaled childbirth.  But without the really fun drugs.

Next, her attention settled on my nose, which she declared pre-cancerous.  “MY WHOLE NOSE?”  No, she explained, but there were spots that need removing.  I eyed the torture device used to burn holes in my legs.  She quickly assured me that because it was MY NOSE, she would go the route of prescribing a cream that would slowly burn off the spots.

Oh, yes.  A slow torture.  That’s more appealing.

She warned me that I may have a couple of uncomfortable weeks, some pronounced redness, and SCABBING.

Party at my house.

Signed,
Bozo

February 17, 2012

10 Responses to Tan Lines

  • I have been procrastinating making an appointment with a dermatologist so your story was a gentle reminder. Of course, I still don’t want to go just to have my thoughts about these places on my skin confirmed as pre-cancerous. But maybe while I’m there they can give me some miracle cream to make the lovely brown age spots on my face disappear 🙂 Would love to know the name of your doctor if you wouldn’t mind emailing me. Thanks!

  • My dermatologist informed me my areas of concern were merely age spots. Awesome. He also let me know the horrific amount of skin tags I have (gross and annoying) are a result of genetics. Lucky me. I’ve thought of having them removed, but yeah, I’m not a fan of pain.

  • Oh Dee Dee, my husband had to use that cream on his face back in the Fall of 2010. He had many precancerous spots on both of his checks (facial – haha), a couple small spots on his nose. After he was done, his skin looks great, smooth as a baby’s bottom. It wasn’t pretty going though it, but I would think, just a couple spots on your nose won’t be too bad at all. Both of his checks were beet red going through it, but I honestly don’t remember too much scabbing – it was minimal.

    I am having huge dental issues (I’m 54), because I didn’t take better care of them in my younger days. I know, it really stinks to reap the consequences of our younger years – dang blast it all! Oh well, we’re all in it together 🙂

  • good gracious – both of his CHEEKS!! Must be I have bills on my mind!!!

  • Oh Yes!!! Been there done that and will soon again, I’m afraid… I have to use 50 SPF sun screen at all times to ANY exposed skin to the sun.. Partly genetics the other being stupid in the sun young trying to get as much color as possible… seriously it isn’t funny, I lost my father to Melanoma, so use the cream and grin at the strange looks you will get!!!!

  • OMG! Your posts…no matter how serious the subject, always seem to make me laugh. BOZO!! 🙂 I am dreading my visit to the dermatologist soon. I was a huge fan of the baby oil and like you never ever tanned. I was always bright red and unable to move. Ugh! Boy do I regret those days now.

  • Btw- I finally found that Olay hair removal kit at our local Meijer. It was pricier than I’d hoped ($23.99) but thanks to a $20 coupon from the store because we filled an rx there, it only got me $4 something with tax! And it worked BEAUTIFULLY!! The only downside was using it on a Saturday morning with all the fam home. I was picked on mercilessly for trying to avoid becoming the bearded lady at the circus. They love me 😉

  • Made my first trip in quite a while on Monday. We fired our last dermatologist when he insisted my husband go on antibiotics while our internist was trying to keep him off so my husband wouldn’t become immune to all the antibiotics (at that point we only had IV ones that worked). The dermajerk gave us an ultimatum – take antibiotics or there was nothing further he would do. And he pooh-poohed any natural solutions as “old wives’ tales. We ended up finding that coconut oil is great for a lot things – and quit going to him.

    But, with my Dad a skin cancer survivor with two surgeries now and enough spots frozen and burned off he should look like dotted swiss fabric, I knew I couldn’t put off finding a new one outside our local clinic any longer. My face had broken out even though I gave up Coke (cola!), chocolate (wahhhhh!), bananas, and everything I thought could possibly help. After using multiple scrubs, creams and makeup (including Mary Kay from a friend of mine) I figured I needed to either use spackling compound or go get it looked at by a “professional”. Being a caregiver, I just don’t find the time to take care of myself. Trying to treat myself better, I was lucky to snag an 8:00 a.m. appointment in less than a week rather than waiting 6 weeks for the next opening.

    Good news! I was handed two prescriptions for my face – antibiotics: oral and gel. Bad/Good news! I only had to have one spot frozen off. “The stinging will stop in 15-20 minutes.” An hour later it still hurt. I called the next day and asked what I was to do with the bloody blister that makes my hand look like I belong in a leper colony. I was told “leave it alone – no bandaids, don’t use neosporin/polysporin, and do basic wound care if it bursts. We really didn’t give you the yellow sheet with care instructions???” No, just the orange one telling me about skin cancer. So I left it alone. And it chose to bleed during a caregiver breakfast this morning- yum! Got it stopped, then ripped the thing on the cart as I’m checking out of Walmart. I was amazed how fast the cashier laid her hands on the roll of paper towels and almost threw them at me at the sight of my blood flowing!!!

    Well, I’ve done my wound care now. I go back in 3 weeks. I just hope I won’t have to go through it again.

    I use Neutragena’s 100 spf Dry Touch – which has worked far better for me and my husband than Blue Lizard, Coppertone (even the Baby one) and a slew of others. I did buy a tube of their 50 spf to try which one of the office staff just raved over. We’ll see. Humph.

    I am grateful that I’m not following in my dad’s footsteps so far, though I tend to take after him. My mom’s skin? She would tan very dark. She’s only had a couple of spots removed even though she used to swim outside for hours each day. She has great skin, no acne of any kind. But she has Parkinson’s dementia. Hmmmm. I’ll take the boo-boo. 😉

  • Ooh, my dad’s used that cream a few times. Once all over his face, another phase for his arms, and now he just finished round 2 or 3 of smaller areas on his face for “touch up” chemo. (It’s basically topical chemo – they used to put that stuff IN people for chemo.) The times he did larger areas he ended up on Vicodin towards the end, which really helped, but he photographed the whole affair and was still out and about. Just…looking a bit plague-like, since it was a lot of damage to correct over his WHOLE face. (It only makes the pre-cancerous spots angry. Hasn’t been nearly as bad when he touched up areas a few years later.) His last photos of treatment and the first few of recovery show him with a brown paper bag over his head, with a face drawn on. So he took it in good humor!

    He slowed down his recovery by not following instructions, so if they give you a steroid cream or whatever for when you’re done, use it! And just know that depending on how bad the damage is, you may want to stay home towards the end and the first few days after. His first round anywhere was rather bad/red/quite scabbed, but when there’s been less damage as he touches areas up, it doesn’t look bad. He grew up out west, was always outside a lot growing up and as an adult, and never believed in sunscreen because he didn’t burn. The so-far-minor skin cancers (squamous and basal) started in his 60’s, which probably makes him pretty lucky, but they freeze other stuff all the time.

    Good luck! It really just depends on how bad the damage is – they said his face was about the worst they’d ever seen, and he probably should have done it in “zones” as they recommended! But it all heals up wonderfully, I promise, so don’t worry about any redness or scabbing.

  • Dee-Dee. Three weeks ago I had a little supmin-sumpin “burned/frozen” off my wrist. (I was not up for the “full body scan” after that!) And … because I’m not a grown-up who knows better, I didn’t take proper care of it and it is now infected.

    And … because I am not a grown-up, who has stocking necessities under control, we don’t have even one regular band-aid in the house for me to put on it. As a result, I’m sporting Christmas Tree decorated band-aids left over from the holidays.