I have a wonderful relationship with my son, Jake. He’s my little buddy and nobody makes me laugh harder than him. (Full Disclosure: He’s a grown-up, hairy 28-year old man.) So what would be more appropriate than to call him the morning I found out I had skin cancer and ‘SING’ the diagnosis to him over the phone. Please Note: I’m not encouraging this kind of behavior, it’s just ‘US’.
Phone: Ring, Ring
Jake: (Answers the phone) ‘Is this important? I’m at work.’
Me: ‘Sort of…… Sings: ‘la la la la, I have skin cancer, la la la la la’
Jake: ‘What did you say?’
Me: Sings again: ‘la la la la, I have skin cancer, la la la la la’
Jake: ‘How is that even possible? I’ve never seen anyone wear more sunblock and hats than you in my entire life.’
And he’s right. I’ve never been a sun worshipper. I apply sunblock every single day of my life and have since I was 20. And not just my face and neck, but my chest and arms too. I keep roll-on sunblock in my purse 365 days a year so I can re-apply it during the day. I wear sun visors constantly! Anytime I know I’ll be in the sun for more than ten minutes, I’ve got a hat or visor and sunglasses on. Cuz Spoiler alert: I’m white, in fact, I’m very white. There’s a chance God forgot to give me melanin when he was assembling me in heaven. I’m pale with blue eyes, red hair, not a lot of freckles as they’ve faded with age….thank you baby Jesus!
Every evening before I shower, I go through a 5 to 10 minute facial routine. I wash, mask, exfoliate and then moisturize the crap out of my face. In the morning, I wash that off and re-apply the daytime moisturizer, sunblock, foundation and powder. I draw the line at carrying a fancy, southern-belle parasol, although I am now reconsidering.
This just in from the news desk. I’m old. I’ll attach a photo and you may not think I’m old. But really….drum roll…I’m in my 50s. My husband asks me weekly if I’m planning to age anytime soon. The answer is ‘Not if I can help it!’ I’m attaching an un-retouched photo of myself taken two weeks ago, a close-up on a sunny day while standing under a tree. I told my friend (who I cropped out for this blog post) that I wouldn’t pose in the sun, we had to stand in the shade. That’s how careful I always am. And still over the years, I’ve gone to the dermatologist and had various ‘barnacles’ removed from my skin. Some have been ‘pre-cancerous’ and some have been ‘nothing’. But this one was ‘squamous cell carcinoma’. That just sounds bad. ‘Squamous’ sounds like something an ugly fish would have stuck on its hind quarters, not something I should have on my face.
So, the appointment’s been made. It’ll be removed, there will be stitches on my face and I’m re-thinking my hair-do. Gonna try a modified ”Veronica Lake.” I always thought she was beautiful, so now I’m gonna copycat her! (See below: it’s Veronica Lake y’all!)
After the surgery, I’ll find out the biopsy results and learn if I need further treatment. My fingers are crossed, I’m being optimistic and I’m gonna use even MORE sunblock after this. I’m also checking out parasols on-line. Maybe I’ll start a new trend.
And about my son and my cancer song? A few hours later that same day, I received a text from him. “Hey Mom, I love you. Thanks for singing to me, you seem very happy….for someone with a skin cancer diagnosis!’ (NOTE: I’m always happy when I talk to my kids and skin cancer won’t change that any time soon!)