Sunny Days Ahead

Today hit 80 degrees and people start showing more skin.  Before jumping into the summer sun read this guest post…what can you do to protect yourself?

On June 2nd 2014 around 6:30 pm I was diagnosed with stage 1 skin cancer. Let me tell you those were words I never thought I would write. When the doctor called and told me he had the results from the mole they took off my back a few days earlier I thought ‘oh cool normally I just get a letter but he knew that I would want to know I was fine sooner’. Yet the second he asked, “is now a good time to talk?” I thought “f#$&”! He then began to explain that it was cancer, I think he said melanoma, I’m not sure I didn’t hear much after that. I heard that the skin around the mole he took tested negative which was a great sign. It meant there was a very high chance that they got it all already but to be sure he wanted to take skin from around to be completely sure he got it all. He then stated to talk about the very large scar this would create, but all I was thinking was “I have cancer, who the hell cares about a scar get this off me now”. It turns out I did hear melanoma it was stage 1 and was on the left side of my back.

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Do you know what the worst part about my diagnosis was? Telling my family and friends. How do you tell the people who love you the most that would do anything for you that your stupid choices lead you to this path? How do you reassure them that it is going to be ok when you actually don’t know if it will? Second worst part is not being able to drive, sweat, sleep, shower, get a real hug when you need comfort or live a normal life while the huge hole on your back heals.

I grew up loving the beach, loving the sun, loving to get a tan. In high school and college I was a tanning bed junkie. I would also spend most of my sunny days outside with zero SPF and some sort of tanner on. The darker I got the better. I read all the articles, I saw all the studies, my friends constantly told me to put some SPF on but my main view was ‘it will never happen to me’. It did though and it is something that for the rest of my life I will have to deal with. I have a huge scar on my back as the doctor promised and have to go to the dermatologist twice a year. Friends this is not cheap! Dermos are considered specialists, so that’s a few hundred a year.

I am one of the lucky ones though, it was caught very early and we were able to take it out before it went anywhere. A lot of people never go to the dermatologist so by the time it is diagnosed it has spread. Four years later I am in remission but still have to be very vigilant. There are a ton of products that I love that help me along this journey of clean skin checks. The best one though is go to a dermatologist! Get yearly skin checks, they will take pictures of all odd looking moles and be able to monitor you.

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Sunscreens I use:

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 55 SPF this one goes on my face and on my body during the summer when I am not at the beach and just out and about. Blocks really well, doesn’t smell like a coconut bomb and doesn’t leave me feeling sticky.

Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 I use this one at the beach, I wish it was more dry like the Neutrogena and I would wear it all the time but it is a little too sticky for me under normal clothes.

Clothing – the worst part when I am at the beach or out on the boat is wondering if my SPF is covering everything. To take away that stress I buy clothing with SPF built in it.

Athleta has the best selection of UPF swimwear due to my circumstances I normally buy the long sleeve shirts so as little sun as possible gets to me.

Coolibar is a company out of Australia and all their clothing has built in UPF I like to get stuff for running in the summer from here.

Another option is RIT Sunguard this will make all your clothing SPF 30 for up to 30 washes. This isn’t something I bank on though because I cannot tell you how many times I have washed a particular item.

Thank you A.M. for sharing your story with us! You are a beautiful and strong woman!! Skin cancer hits too close to home for me so I need to take charge this summer and protect my precious skin!  Anyone else??

#realschmitt #midwestblogger #skincancerawareness #protectyourself #cancersucks #summer

 

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