There are sun worshippers, sun lovers and sun bathers but I am sun scared. When the sun comes out, I wear hats, sunglasses and stay in the shade. Why? Because I had melanoma.
I survived. Thanks to a very determined dermatologist who insisted I get a very small mole checked when I was 6 months pregnant. It was caught early, in situ, and removed. I did not have to undergo chemo or radiation and risk the life of my unborn son.
But over the last few weeks, it's been my daughter's life that was at risk for melanoma. Five months ago, I noticed a freckle on her lip. Three weeks ago, that freckle had turned black and she developed 5 more on her upper and lower lips. She had to get checked for cancer.
When she was a baby, I slathered on the sunscreen. I made my little kids where long sleeves and hats on the beach. They wiggled and complained and begged me to let them go out in the sun for hours without that greasy, sticky, icky stuff.
I did not let them. Not even once.
But they grew up and decided tanning was cool. They went out in the sun and found out that the sun burns the hard way. I preached the importance of sunscreen, but they kept going out without it anyway. My daughter just moved to a place with a higher elevation and sunny climate. She did wear some sunscreen but forgot to cover her lips and she got black spots on her lips from sun exposure.
She had a biopsy and she's ok. But it's been a very scary few weeks waiting for the test results.
There was no such thing as sunscreen when I was a kid. I burned and peeled and was miserable with my fair skin. And I got melanoma. I survived. And my daughter is cancer free, thank god.
Please spare yourself the scare. Use a sunscreen. Cover your lips, too!
It's easy as applying a spf chapstick, lip balm or lipstick. Spray on the sunscreen. Wear a hat. Better yet, stay in the shade, be cool and cancer free!