baby oil, tanning and skin cancer…

by mendibpng

I debated writing out the whole story of how we learned that I had skin cancer. I finally decided that if one person reads this and wonders if they should get a mole or a funny spot checked then it’s worth putting this out in cyberspace.

Back up to my teenage years. Do you remember when we slathered ourselves with baby oil or some other kind of burn inducing agent in order to get a good tan? I remember doing it often with my sisters and friends. We believed that the browner we got, the better we looked. Back in those days, we didn’t know the things we know now about skin cancer!

A few years ago, I asked a doctor about a spot right in the middle my forehead, right on the hairline. He said “let me measure it” and then told me we’d keep an eye on it.

On our last furlough, as another doctor filled in my ‘Pre-field Health Forms’ (ie the ones we need to be ok’ed to come back to PNG) I asked him about this spot. It was scabbing over and itching by this time. He explained that it was skin damage and proceeded to freeze it off for me. That was two years ago.

For a while I didn’t notice it anymore. However, it developed into something else. I would annoy me because it would scab over and bleed profusely if I bumped it or got it wet in the shower. I kept putting off a whole doctor’s visit just for that, believing that it was still skin damage until a couple of months ago when I had to go to to our clinic anyway for a toe infection. When the doctor looked at it, she said that our other doctor here would probably want to look at it and possibly biopsy it.

As soon as he began the biopsy, he told me with certainty that he believed it was skin cancer. He mentioned that the location of this spot is one of the most common places for skin cancer. He said I would probably have to go to Cairns or Brisbane, Australia to get it taken care of. Oh, and one side note: my next door neighbor was the nurse assisting the doctor. That is one of the ‘funny’ things around here, we live with the people who take care of us.

We waited five weeks for the results, and my doctor called to tell me I had skin cancer. However, if one is going to have skin cancer, this is the kind to have…it is basal cell carcinoma. Even after I heard it was skin cancer, I wasn’t really sure how serious this was. My first inkling came when I asked if I could wait until my parents visit in June and travel to Australia with them. No, he really wanted me to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

So here I am a few more weeks later. I have three appointments set up, for May 8, 9 and 10, the final of which is a Mohs procedure. Apparently I will be ‘put under’ for this. The two things I am most looking forward to is: I get to stay with a close friend, and my big sister will be flying up for the weekend to hang out with me.

Stay tuned because tomorrow I will post how all of this makes me feel.

3 Comments to “baby oil, tanning and skin cancer…”

  1. We are praying for you, Mandy, and trust that the skin cancer will be completely eradicated in May with the procedures. Thankful to our Heavenly Father for prompting you to have it looked at. We’ll also be praying for your family as they will be without Mama for a few days. 🙂 Love to all of you!

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