How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Skin Cancer Is Not Your Friend

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skin-cancer-not-friend-fb

So, listen. I know the internet is filled with a lot of causes and movements and groups and Change.org petitions and blah blah blah, but I want to scare the shit out of you for just a second.

Okay, maybe I won’t completely terrify you, but maybe I can talk in a way that ups the ante, just a little bit.

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Last year, I had a cut that never seemed to heal. I thought it was dry skin or a new appendage growing or something… something other than what it was. Skin cancer. And since it’s skin cancer awareness month (or so people have yelled at me on the internet), I wanted to take a second to scare you. I mean help you.

You see, my family’s genetic map seems to attract skin cancer, well cancer in general, like Taylor Swift to breakups. So, I went in to the doctor, and they sliced a piece of Charlie pizza for testing. I walked away from the experience bleeding and numb.

Then, I waited.

After a few days, I got the call while I was driving. What a feeling. The cancer word feels like a kick in the pants. And it wasn’t even malignant. But losing three close family members in as many years really makes you take pause.

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So, I went and had an operation. But let me describe it in more detail. Imagine sitting for five hours with a numb-ish forehead as they take a slice of skin, waiting for 30-45 minutes as they test it, and then slicing over and over. After the Benihana treatment, they sewed me up.

The next few months, I felt like Harry Potter. People stared, mainly at my scar, and some pointed at it. The questions about what happened always got a different answer from me:

“I got in a bar fight.”

“I saved five nuns from a burning building.”

“I’m a werewolf.”

I could never answer with any honesty because, quite honestly, the people asking the question never earned the right to ask. I had a gaping wound, and a massive scar. Wasn’t it enough that you stared?

In the end, I should’ve gone in months earlier. I let it sit for several months before doing anything about it. Don’t do that. Go get checked. Be smart.

So, now’s the part where you get to be the adult. Go find out about how to spot this shit. Make the appointment to get checked and ask them how often you should come back. Check yourself (like once a month) before you wreck yourself.

Promise me. Share this with people in your life, whether they have scars or not.

5 Comments

5 Responses to “Skin Cancer Is Not Your Friend”

  1. Never can be said enough. Period. Lost my brother-in-law to skin cancer. My wife and I typically get checked once a year … but I let that lapse recently. Going to fix that ASAP. Best of health to you.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Charlie. Skin cancer is an often overlooked issue, especially around this neck of the woods, and I appreciate you telling your tale.

    Also, I always just assumed you were a werewolf, scar or not.

  3. Meg says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your experience. For some reason (maybe because I’m currently pregnant and it may be a bit more challenging for the ol’ doc to check out my completely nude body…fun) I haven’t been back to the dermatologist in an embarrassing amount of time. Having lost my father to skin cancer when I was three, you’d think I’d amend that.

    Time to make that call! Thanks, again. Seriously. Awareness helps!

  4. Glad you’re OK. We lost my brother in law to melanoma 5 years ago. It was tough. The thing I am glad about is that now the whole family (who were all in denial before) goes and has skin checks. I will be getting one before the next summer (we’re in Australia).
    It is SO important to protect our skin! It’s not just something that happens to ‘other people’. Really young, vibrant people can die from it (in fact they can be the biggest candidates living active lifestyles outdoors). Yet it can be largely prevented if you get checked regularly and take precautions.
    So glad you’re looking out for yourself and encouraging others to do the same.

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