That Awkward Moment at the Dermatologist’s Office

In February of last year, my dermatologist discovered a spot on my face that turned out to be melanoma. In March they successfully and skillfully surgically removed it and I have a barely noticeable scar on my left cheek. Since that time, I have had two full body “scans” and have had no more problems. The second of those body scans occurred just yesterday.

I am of the opinion that the circle of people of the opposite sex who have seen you naked ought to be a small one. You know, like, your momma and your wife. Okay, I probably have to put my big sister in there, though that troubles me a tad. So when I am sitting on the examination table in my boxer briefs and a sheet and my female dermatologist walks back in with, not one, but two female companions,  the following internal commentary is how this modest man’s mind copes with it:

“Well, ladies, FEAST YOUR EYES!”

“If the underwear goes, there WILL be a surcharge.”

“Maybe the tanning bed should have been a consideration. Tan fat looks better than white fat… oh wait… this is the dermatologist.”

“One friend for accountability’s sake, but two friends??? Now its an exhibition.”

“The expanse of my body is such that it takes six eyes to do this scan job in a timely fashion.”

“Ladies, now I know how it feels to walk past the construction site.”

“You are smiling now, just don’t laugh when I leave.”

“Don’t make eye contact! Don’t make eye contact!”

Honestly, it was not that bad at all. I share this humorous anecdote mainly because I want to, at least, begin the dialogue for you in your home with those you love. If you have any strange spots/places show up on your body, PLEASE let a loved one check it out and if you have any question at all, talk with your doctor. Believe me, it is totally worth any momentary discomfort. It can save your life.

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Public Service Announcement: Health Edition

photoSo I’ve got this huge bandage on my face now… kinda weird.

This is what happens within a few weeks of your wife finally putting her foot down and saying, “I want you to have that checked out!”

I had a brown spot show up on my cheek several months ago. It came along and I paid it very little attention. Fortunately, I was going to see my family doctor for a regular visit and so it was not a stretch to simply tell him of my additional concern. After having a look he referred me to a dermatologist.

The dermatologist and I decided the best and fastest course of action was to remove it at my first office visit and then work up the pathology and figure out with what we were dealing. That was just over a week and a half ago.

This past Thursday, I received the results. It was melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. Thankfully, the type I was diagnosed with, more specifically, was melanoma in situ. That means it was limited to the outermost layer of skin and not invasive. Upon my return to the dermatologist yesterday, the surgeon carefully removed a larger area of skin around the wound, hence the lovely deck-of-cards-sized bandage. Provided she was successful in removing all of it, I could walk away never having it bother me again. I will spend the rest of my life occasionally returning for checks just to make sure I’m clear.

I’m very blessed to have a wife who was persistent in her pleas for me to have it checked before it could turn into something much, much worse. If my putting this out for public consumption could help one person catch something early, well, that would be great.

PLEASE, take a few minutes to make sure you don’t have any strange, irregular, discolored spots on your body. Here’s a link to the WebMD.com information related to melanoma. Check your loved ones!

Grace and Peace.