A Day in the Life
As a malignant melanoma survivor, the thoughts of skin cancer never quite go away. My scars are a constant reminder of this journey that began back in 1988. Do I think about it all the time? No, but I do prepare daily to fight this thing and protect myself as best as I can. That is all that I can do. I try not to worry about things that I cannot control and I am diligent about the things that I can.
My daily preparation
Every morning I wake up and prepare for my day just like everyone else. I think about what I will be doing, about where I will be going, about what I will need to wear, etc. I consider what I want for breakfast and say my prayers. A lot of people do those things, but here is where I depart a little. I have become a fanatic regarding the weather app on my smart phone. I look at it every morning and multiple times a day.
Weather forecast - where and when?
Every morning I plan my skin protection based on knowing where I will be and when and knowing the weather forecast that will affect me. I don’t just look at the forecast for the entire day, but I look at the hourly forecast. If I am going to be in Syracuse at noon, then I want to know what the weather will be like there and then. If I will be in Rochester two hours later, then I want to know the forecast for that region at 2pm. I don’t mess around. I have become an amateur meteorologist.
My choices to protect myself from the sun
Based on what I know about my whole day I make choices. I make choices about what I will be doing, who I will be with, and how I will protect myself from the sun. This level of detail may seem crazy, but I know that my skin begins to burn after about 10-15 minutes in the sun. I want to be prepared with the right level of SPF sunscreen, clothing, and I want know my shade options as best as I can.
Keeping the car stocked for sun protection
No matter where I am going I always try to keep a few items in the car with me. This includes a hat, sunscreen, a lightweight, long sleeve shirt, and an umbrella. Most of the time I won’t need these items, but I hate getting caught unprepared. I even keep a small blanket in the car to protect me from the rays that penetrate through the windows. I know that I burn in the car if I am not careful.
Daily mole checks
Do I check my entire skin every day? No, but every day I pick a part of my body to examine as best as I can. I note changes and anything new. I ask family members to assist me when needed. I really don’t take many days off in my personal preparation and examination. I keep a small notebook to monitor my situation. Documenting my journey is important for me.
I take time for myself. As a man of faith, I feel peace and contentment about what ultimately happens to me. I try to help others. I try to inform others thoughtfully about sun protection. I try to enjoy each day and what it may have for me. Whether online or in person, I see it as part of my life mission to join the skin cancer fight with others in the community. It’s just part of a day in my life.
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