A woman walks confidently as bright fireworks light up the sky above her.

Celebrating Good News

Sixteen. That is my estimate of how many skin checks I have had with a dermatologist over the last five years. And at almost every single one of those appointments, I had something that needed either a biopsy or treatment with cryosurgery.

25 years of skin cancer

I’ve had skin cancer for 25 years so I know I’ve had a lot more skin checks than that, but after a significant surgery in 2015 to remove 23 areas of skin cancer in one day, I was put on an every-three-month skin check schedule until I was able to ‘graduate’ to twice a year appointments. I see my dermatologist in the summer and in the winter and also between the scheduled appointments if I find something I think needs to be checked.

Hoping for a clear skin check

That makes for a lot of appointments, and that makes for a lot of procedures. And to be honest, it’s tiring. I go into each appointment knowing there’s a high probability my doctor will find something. I know I should be used to this by now, but I’m not. Call me an eternal optimist, but every time I go, I’m hoping for a good checkup. And nearly every time I go, that doesn’t happen.

Questionable spots

I recently had my six-month skin check with my dermatologist. I’m currently in the process of healing from a Mohs surgery on my face, and the last thing I wanted was to have to get a biopsy or to have something frozen. I had two places that I wanted my doctor to look at. One was a mole on my leg that I wasn’t sure if I’d seen before, and the other looked like a freckle but I wanted to be sure because it also looked newer to me. My doctor looked at both areas and thankfully said they aren’t places to be concerned about.

A clear skin check!

And guess what? She did the complete skin check, and then told me that there was nothing that needed to be treated! That meant no cryosurgery (and no watering eyes that often accompany it), no numbing shots, no biopsies, no anxiety that comes with waiting for the results from a biopsy, no bandages...nothing! I think my dermatologist was as excited as I was at this news. She said it has been a very long time since we didn’t have anything to treat. That was definitely news worth celebrating, and this put me in a great mood for the rest of the day. Heck, I’m still in a great mood and my appointment was two days ago!

If you’re like me and get exhausted by what seems like never-ending procedures to treat your skin cancer, I hope that you also get good news at your next appointment. See your dermatologist at least once a year for a full-body check, do self-skin checks in between appointments, and know that I’m rooting for you.

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