I have struggled with this post for a long time, its not something I like to dwell on or talk about, and I didn’t want to over dramatise it.
I wake up with the sun shining though the gap in the curtains, heave a big sigh and turn away burying my head under the duvet to hide from all the light. Before long Z and S are jumping on me shouting ‘Is it morning yet, Mummy’. Of course its morning the blooming sun is shining, my least favourite kind of day. Once of those days where I will plaster myself in factor 50 or wear clothes that cover me up, but make me hot and grumpy, and hide in the shade while the kids run around in the park or the garden.
When I was pregnant with Z I had a funny lump on my forehead, it was smaller than a five pence piece, red and shiny. I went to the doctors 4 times over a period of a few months, each time he said it was a blocked pore. Eventually I asked for a different doctor and demanded to be referred to a dermatologist. I remember being sat waiting for her to come in the room, I was 36 weeks pregnant wearing a brown skirt and white top. She assured me it was probably nothing but would biopsy it. When Z was just a few weeks old we went to get the biopsy done. A few weeks after that I phoned up for the results, the receptionist said it was a ‘rodent ulcer’ and not to worry. I was a new mum, I just heard the word ‘ulcer’ and not to worry and assumed it was nothing. My days were filled with gazing adoringly at my tiny baby boy, it didn’t occur to me to google it, which is most unlike me.
A week or so later I had a phone call from the hospital asking if I could come in the next day to have my skin lesion removed. I was confused, no one had said it would have to be removed. I said I couldn’t make that day, but could they send me a new appointment and went back to the doctor. She informed me I had a type of skin cancer, a Basal Cell Carcinoma. All I heard was the word cancer, looked at my perfect baby and burst into tears. She tried to tell me it was probably harmless, but I was beyond consoling, took a tissue and ran out the car where I phoned my hubby in flood of tears.
After a fair bit of googling we determind things might not be so bad. A BCC only very rarely spreads to other parts of the body, and is usually excised fully with no further treatment being required.
They are most common in older people after a lifetime of sun exposure. I couldn’t understand why I had one. I have never been on a sunbed, or worked abroad, or outside. I’ve been burned as a child and as an adult, but no more so than the average person. I am fair skinned with blue eyes, but so are millions of other people.
The BCC was eventually successfully removed leaving me with a scar about an inch long across my forehead and a small dent ( not really noticable with make up) The surgeon was amazing, as they did remove a fair bit of skin.
I do however feel quite scarred emotionally. Having had a BCC means my chances of having a more serious skin cancer are increased, I have been told to wear factor 50 all year round on all exposed skin ( a total pain in the bum ). I tend to cover up outside instead. It means I am paranoid to the point of obsessive about my freckles and moles and my children. I try really hard not to show them how scared of the sun I am. They play outside like any other child, but I worry constantly about them, I worry that one day I will miss a patch of skin when applying sun cream and they will burn, I worry that when they are older and look after themselves they won’t be careful. One of my daughter’s is a red head and almost translucent….I worry about her gorgeous perfect skin.
I now make my husband and I have regular mole checks at The Mole Clinic. Super Drug run clinics from their stores, where once I year I stand in front of the nurse who occasionally photographs one and send it off for an expert to look at. Its reassuring and the nurse is great, she knows me quite well after many visits where I turn up almost in tears about something new I have found. I would recommend them.
I for one, will be glad when the long summer days turn dark and dreary, but thats just me.
I have written this post for Sun Savvy Bloggers. I know we all take care of our children in the sun, but don’t forget to look after yourselves too.