Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Tan That Was No More

I am a recovering sun worshiper. There was a time when spring rolled around that I would layout without any sunscreen so that I could get my first burn of the season over with and lay the solid foundation for a beautiful tan. I would at times use suntan lotion with an SPF of 4, yes I said 4, so I wouldn’t get too red. A minor burn was a small price to pay for a gorgeous tan.

Remember to hydrate after you are in the sun.
Once I had my base tan down it was very easy to get a great tan for the summer as I have quite a bit of Spanish blood in my pedigree which yields nice skin for tanning. My friends and I would get together to compare tans. I would always win. I was quite proud of my tanness. That’s when I was reminded of the old biblical saying, “Pride comes before the fall.”

I say I am a recovering sun worshiper because in the fall of 2003 I had a mole that started to tingle and itch. I took a trip to the dermatologist who unfortunately informed me that I had a melanoma… skin cancer… The big C. Of course I, being a sun worshiper at the time, had no knowledge about melanomas so when the doctor asked me to make an appointment in the next day or two to come in and get it removed I told him I was booked up for two weeks. I scheduled an appointment 17 days out.

This woman has a nice tan.
Once I arrived home I figured I should look on the internet and find out what this melanoma thing I had was… because if you want to know about serious life and death issues you turn to the internet. I was dialing the phone number to the doctor’s office three minutes later with a look of terror on my face like an old woman who just discovered the corner market is out of Depends. I was so flustered I misdialed and couldn’t figure out why my doctor’s receptionist spoke Russian.

Who knew you could die from being in the sun!  They really should tell people.
The next day I was in the doctor’s office getting my finger operated on. They took a huge chunk out of my pinkie finger and then sewed me back up. I didn’t have enough flesh left on that finger to allow it to bend for months so I looked very pompous when I drank anything as my pinkie stuck out. It actually looked like someone had sewn my finger back on. It was quite disgusting. I love it.

SPF 100?  This stuff will make you whiter.
I often tell my wife that I want to participate in the Cancer Survivor walks. I just imagine a woman who had an entire breast removed or a man who had a wife die of cancer asks me what I had I can say, “I had an itchy mole. They gave me a local on my pinkie… it was rough. I have a… *cough*… scar.” My wife doesn’t think it is a good idea. I think they must have a ranking system on those walks; breast cancer and other life threatening cancers in the front followed by cancers that you probably gave to yourself, like lung cancer, and then skin cancer and people who thought they had cancer once in the back.

I could just get a fake tan like these two gentlemen.  No one would ever know.
I miss my tan. Of course I am not as white as my wife. I often wear sunglasses around her not necessarily for the sun, but the glare off her skin. I actually thought she was wearing white nylons one time… she wasn’t. Now that I say that, guess which one of us will not have age spots, wrinkles and skin cancer. Yep. My wife.

In a few years I will need to start bathing in this stuff.
In a recent development I have discovered this creamy substance called sunscreen. Apparently you rub it on your body and it keeps you white.  As I type this out with my pasty white fingers I remember how blessed I am that they only had to take a hunk out of my finger and it did not spread to the rest of my body. This story could have ended so much different. God is good. 


  1. cancer is cancer no matter how you look at it. Skin cancer, if ignored, can spread and break into other organs and cancers. It should not be taken lightly by any means. But for the cancer races, you might be looked at a bit differently as a survivor than those whom had something more serious. My brother had non-hodkins lymphoma 5 times from age 12-27 before he eventually died, not from teh cancer itself but from the treatment as his body could no longer handle it. 1 in 3 Americans will have some form of cancer in their lifetimes even if its something as small as a mole, it is still cancer and most of us will have to experience this at some point in our lives. I hope I am not that 1 in 3 myself, which is why i take pride in being a pasty white girl :)