Friday, August 31

So Far So Good

When I was in college, I had a couple of weird spots on my skin that I wanted a dermatologist to check out. So I made myself an appointment, stripped down, and bared my skin for the doctor. Because I'm a fair-skinned redhead, I asked questions about skin cancer, too.

Twenty minutes later, I left the dermatologist's office angry and embarrassed. "How old are you?" he asked me. "Twenty," I said. He huffed. "At your age," he said, "it is impossible to have skin cancer." He didn't even say "nearly impossible" or "very unlikely." He said "impossible." This idiot doctor made me feel like a fool for even considering the possibility that I was at risk for melanoma, and I left with no info on warning signs or anything. Yes, I was young, but that was no reason to treat me like I wasn't even worth your time.

Fast-forward ten years. Lately, I've somehow been reminded that skin cancer is out there. I went to a presentation on healthy habits and was reminded to get a skin cancer screening. I came across the blog of a 23-year-old who was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. I signed up for a long-term cancer prevention study. Lots of things have been reminding me that cancer exists.

I decided to get screened. I don't have any particular concerns. No moles or strange spots or anything. But I worry that I'm in the high-risk category for skin cancer because of my extremely fair skin and it kind of freaks me out. This morning I had my appointment with a new dermatologist, and it was a hundred times better than my college experience.

I explained why I was there, that I had no immediate concerns but just wanted to be checked, and the response was "Good for you!" So much nicer than "Um, why are you here?" After a thorough check, I was deemed clear. No concerns at this time. But they suggested I come back for yearly checks just to be safe. I made my next appointment before I even walked out the door.

And you better believe I will be wearing my sunscreen.


Grandma Susan said...

Good for you. Always better to err on the side of caution (when you have this Jones/Carlson fair skin. I'm sorry your first visit to a dermatologist was with such an idiot.

Linda and Matthew said...

What a terrible doctor to criticize you for being proactive! I'm glad you've found a better one. My friend Kristin had the tip of her nose removed because of skin cancer and she was only 26 at the time. After reconstructive surgery, you can barely tell, but Kristin is an olive-skinned Italian! Not even high risk! Way to go, Megan!

Making Each Day Count! said...

Love this post, good for you! This is something I want to do too.