Public Service

I had yet another suspicious-looking mole removed last night. I left the house at 4:30 and got out of the doctor’s office at 8. This is a lot of aggravation (not to mention the $50 co-pays) but since I’m already at high risk for skin cancer (three stage-2 sunburns, blonde hair, light eyes), I gotta do it while I still have insurance.

So far, all but one biopsy has contained cells in the early stages of various skin cancers – squamous, basal cell – so I’m glad they’re gone. The doctor was suspicious this one might be a melanoma. (And here, I thought it was just a tiny dark freckle.)

This time, because it was my leg and not my back, I got to watch. I didn’t realize they actually punch out a core of tissue and then stitch it closed. (If you like that sort of thing, you can watch how it’s done here.)

I had a push: A friend who went through the full cycle of chemo and radiation for malignant melanoma and now peers at everyone else’s uncovered skin. “That’s what mine looked like. You really need to get that checked out,” she says to everyone she meets. (Thanks, Jean, I did!)

And now I’m pushing you. The only really painful part is the co-pay – that, and the long wait in the waiting room. But if you have a skin growth that concerns you, or you’ve never been checked by a dermatologist, go get it done.

5 Responses to Public Service

  1. PurpleGirl February 20, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    I can remember only one really bad sun burn as a child. My family didn’t like going to the beach so I wasn’t exposed as a child to lots of sun. As a teenager I developed a problem of getting headaches if I was in the sun for almost length of time so I just watched my exposure time, stayed indoors and stayed mostly pale during the summers. People at school or work sometimes made/make comments about my staying pale in the summer and I answer, “It’s better than suffering headaches.” Also, I had two friends who both had stepmothers die of melanoma and who spoke to me about skin cancers. In a way, I’m thankful for the headache problem. You don’t need to roast yourself in the sun.

  2. katiebird February 20, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Susie, I can’t even count the number of bad sunburns I’ve had. A couple were so bad my skin scabbed-over with a deep, thick scab. Cancer & skin cancer runs in my family & my sister with my skin type had a melanoma removed about 10 years ago. Luckily it was caught at such an early stage no other treatment was necessary.

    But, ever since I’ve had doctors examine my skin (covered with freckles & moles) about once a year. I have pretty good doctors too — they even check my head through my hair.

    I know it’s a pain to go through all that (I once had 17 moles removed on one day) but, I think it’s worth it.

  3. susie February 20, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    I wish I could get them all taken off in one day, but the insurance co. won’t let me do it.

  4. katiebird February 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    That’s a shame. I guess it’s been almost 30 years since I had it done and the insurance world has changed a lot since then.

    If you DO get it approved, find someone to drive you. I drove myself and almost passed out on the way home. I don’t know if it was from mild shock at all the little jabs or the combined affect of all the local-pain killers but, I barely made it home before I collapsed.

  5. MB February 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Ha, I guess I just figured out what to do on my spring break. That is, if my university health plan has a dermatologist who does more than prescribe zit cream ;).

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