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C

07/28/2015

Belle

IMG_4944

Biopsied nose. (Makeup on the rest of the face to help hide giant pores of doom)

It is becoming increasingly obvious that my skin is aging. Perhaps it is seeing my skin next to that of a toddler, untainted by life and sun, or maybe all the sleepless nights of infancy are manifesting themselves through fine lines and wrinkles. Whatever it is, my skin looks dull and the pores seem to be making a joint effort to slowly swallow my face in one blackhole of grime. I’ve been working hard to combat the pores and aging with various natural and store-bought products and nothing seems to really help.

“Maybe this is just my new normal?”

*******

About a year ago a little spot on my nose started bleeding.

“Gross.”

I applied some concealer and carried on.

Since then this little spot has slowly grown, popping open every so often to bleed and becoming increasingly difficult to cover with makeup. Last month I finally made it to the dermatologist, something that had been on the to-do list for months but kept getting pushed back due to all of Sabine’s appointments.

“Let’s take this mole off your back and THAT needs to be frozen off,” she said pointing to my nose and brandishing her syringe of Novocain.

SLICE

Off went the mole.

WHOOOOOSH

Poof went the spot under the icy jets of liquid nitrogen.

“You are good for a year now! Give me a call if anything pops up before then!”

*******

Two weeks later the bleeding nose spot was back, and bigger.

Groan.

Yesterday I went back to the dermatologist, pointed to the nose and the first thing she said was, “Oh that’s not good.”

And then she biopsied it, explaining that since it came back so quickly and is bleeding she suspected cancer.

Cancer.

I must have looked instantly panicked because she explained that it is likely “just basal cell carcinoma” but that it should still be tested and removed if positive. With proper removal, prognosis is extremely good with this type of cancer. “Think of it less like cancer and more like a cavity in your face,” she said with a laugh and slice of my nose.

The biopsy results should be back in a week. Until then, I’m left to think about this thing on my nose and all the other things that might be coming down the road. I’m thankful that my first brush with the big “C” is such a minor one, but it still raises a lot of emotions and puts things into perspective.

This skin has seen a lot of sun. I was raised in Florida and Alabama and have always been outdoorsy. My complexion is fair and eyes are light. I have thin hair, a scalp that always burns and I hate to wear hats because hat hair is such a bad look. I often forget sunscreen.

I am a perfect candidate for all kinds of scary skin things.

Hopefully by monitoring future skin changes and making new habits I can avoid more serious complications down the road. Some new hats are on order and a special SPF 50 primer is now part of my daily beauty routine. And those fine lines, wrinkles and black heads? I am trying to embrace their presence and view them as a daily reminder of what is important – being here to see them. Aging beats the alternative.

How do you protect your skin against the sun? What are your favorite sunscreens and hats? And fellow thin-haired readers. Any tips for the hat hair?

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13 Comments

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  1. July 28, 2015

    ooh boy, scary stuff.. good luck and I hope its just a pesky infection and nothing close to C.
    I got a whole regimen of skin care, but then I am Indian skin, mine might not work with yours. If you still want to try them out, let me know. I make only home made stuff and it helps.

  2. Kathy #
    July 28, 2015

    I had a similar experience last summer. My “spot” ended up being sun damage and not cancer. Same idea with the nitro burn technique. I was warned by the dermatologist to wear a hat in the sun. I scoured Adventure Guide till I found a suitable one that I would actually wear. Now Spot has returned bigger this time. Sigh.

    • July 28, 2015

      😦 Sucks, huh. Have you gone back to the derm?

  3. Mo #
    July 28, 2015

    Hugs hugs hugs hugs

  4. July 28, 2015

    Ok… I have the same type of thing on my jaw line. I just peel the scan/dry skin and carry on. Reading this, I’ll be booking a derma appointment stat.

    Getting old sucks.

    • July 28, 2015

      Yes. Anything odd about skin should be checked by a dermatologist. We have a really strong history of skin cancer (from simple stuff like the basal cell all the way to melanoma) so I try to go every year for a full body check. I let it go way to long this time though. From now on it will happen each year when I go for my annual.

  5. July 28, 2015

    I think a look on panic is perfectly normal when someone says cancer. I’m lame and try my best to be in the shade only if at all possible…but in ,y different the sun hurts my eyes and gives me migraines.

  6. July 28, 2015

    Oh Belle! that is scary. Skin cancer is rife here in Australia so we are all drilled constantly about sunscreen etc.

    I can still be bad because I love the sun and I love a tan! However I wear SPF30 every day – even in winter on my face through my moisturizer and I always make sure my shoulders and chest are sunscreened – especially now as my skin ages immediately as soon as it goes brown (it’s kinda gross)

    I have a full check every 2 years and make Ryan go every year because he is always out in the sun.

    I try to remember to wear a hat and I like big floppy sunhats or peaked caps. You can get the SPF hats.

    I wear glasses and I need to get prescription sunglasses.

    Seems to me you are doing all the right things, this was just a scary reminder.

  7. July 28, 2015

    Argh…that is so scary 😦 Basal cell is very common in my family, and very very treatable. If it does come back cancerous, they will do MOHS which takes off thin layers of cells until the affected area is completely gone. I myself have had melanoma (at 28 years old caught very early). Yes….that’s right. Mel-freakin-noma. Had it not been for my mom’s insistence on my getting it biopsied, I don’t even want to think what could have happened. I am religious about getting a full check every 6 months now, but admittedly, I don’t wear sunscreen on my face nearly enough. I’ve found that Neutrogena face stuff goes on very nice and lightweight, when I do use it. And damnit, I am going to start wearing a face screen every day now. You’ve inspired me.

  8. July 28, 2015

    Thin hair here and I usually spray with sunblock and wear a hat. It’s pretty gross, but my scalp has been burned to the point of flaky skin and THAT’S worse than sunblock-hair. Sending good thoughts your way, friend!

  9. nonsequiturchica #
    July 29, 2015

    I’m so sorry to hear this- so scary! But I’m also really glad I read this because last night I had a bleeding spot on my nose and no zit/scratch/other reason for the bleeding. I’ll keep my eye on it just in case.

    About a year ago I read that everyone should be wearing sunscreen on a daily basis- at least on their face so I incorporated a face sunscreen/moisturizer into my daily routine. I’m a little worried that I am too late though- I was not smart in high school and college and simply didn’t put on sunscreen enough when I spent a lot of time playing sports outdoors. I am annoying with sunscreen with my daughter but she has my Irish fair skin and I don’t want her to have a problem later on in life.

  10. Alissa S #
    July 30, 2015

    Yeah, skin cancer is nothing to mess around with. I found a good facial sunblock – the non-oily kind and use it anytime it’s sunny and use the less expensive kind on my body. As for the head, I too have scalp that shows a bit too much so I either put the SPF on my scalp or wear a bandana. It looks a little funny, but saves my head. I haven’t gotten a good hat yet, but that is also a good option.

  11. jak #
    July 31, 2015

    ACQK! so this was like mini-Mose surgery eh? do keep an eye on it. wow. scary.

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