Saturday, January 5, 2013

In the End, It Is Vanity That Betrays Us

I haven't spoke about this yet.  It was kind of a shock to me.  My stepdad had a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) removed from the bridge of his nose in November.  He was never a tanner.  He always wore sunscreen that I know of and I have known him for most of my life.  I used to make fun of him because he would put so much sunscreen on, he would look like a ghost!  I was stunned that he of all people would have a skin cancer removed.

When I first found out, my first thought was, "Thank God it is basal cell and not melanoma."  Since I have had both melanoma (stage1b) and BCC, I know that BCC is not deadly like melanoma.  I know that they both can be disfiguring though.  I felt scared for him.  My Mom was with him through the whole procedure.  Since it was on his nose, they actually went down and took cartlidge to make sure they got it all during the MOHS surgery.  They took a chunk the size of an M&M candy.  They made sure they got it all, then they sewed him up.

No big deal.  He was instructed when to remove the bandage and did so.  When he did, the stitches came out.  All of them.  So he covered it up and when he went back to the dermatologist, they were shocked that all of the stitches had come right out on the bandage.  His nose, unfortunately, could not be sewn back up at this point.  So, now he has to keep it clean and covered, and hope that it will heal.  When it does, he will have quite a battle scar.

It hurts me that he has had to go through all of this.  Trust me, he is not throwing a pity party at all.  He is just dealing with it. He talked to me a lot about the procedure and everything, which I know means that he wants me to know and because I understand.  We share skin cancer together. I know he wants everyone to know that skin cancer is NOT just something a doctor cuts off and you are fine.  He wouldn't blog about it or anything, but I know he wants people to get the message.  He has an open wound on his face now that will turn into a scar.  He didn't tan.  He was very diligent about using sunscreen, even when it wasn't cool.  It CAN happen to anyone.  A skin cancer ain't pretty, and it ain't worth a tan.  So, if you insist that a tan is prettier than being "too pale"  then realize that when the tanning salons make you sign the waiver that says they are not liable if you get skin cancer, that it is because tanning causes skin cancer.

                           Basal Cell Carcinoma.
                                                              Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Your chances of getting melanoma increase by 75% if you use a tanning bed JUST ONE TIME.  I used them for less than a year and ended up with melanoma AND BCC.  No one really wants to have chunks cut from their skin.  It hurts!  And it leaves a nasty looking scar.  Is that worth a tan?  I bet my step dad wouldn't think so.

My fiance said this once, before I got melanoma, and it has stuck with me since.  "In the end, it is vanity that betrays us."  I didn't understand it before my melanoma diagnosis, but I understand it now.

A tan fades.  The damage doesn't.  Your skin remembers.  Don't be betrayed.


  1. That is a great saying, about vanity betraying us! SO TRUE!

  2. LOVE that saying!!! So very true! I hope your step dad heals well. :)