A Glimpse Into What It’s Like to Have Skin Cancer

Tonight as I was getting ready for bed, I saw for the first time the bandaged areas where I had two biopsies earlier in the day. And I cried. Not because of the pain, which wasn’t horrible even though I could feel it every time I moved, but because there are days that I am so very tired of having skin cancer.

It's always there

I’ve had it for over twenty years, and it will not go away. I went for the last year and a half without any new spots and now I have two, one in an area that doesn’t even see the light of day. I cried because in the morning, I’ll have to work up the courage to pull off the bandages so I can clean and re-bandage the areas. Because I’ll be getting a phone call in about a week from my doctor with the biopsy results, and she’s already told me she thinks they’re squamous cell. Because for twenty years, I was ‘lucky’ enough to have only basal cell carcinoma except for one spot, and I’m wondering now if I have moved on to squamous cell. Because if the biopsy results are what I think they will be, I’ll have to go in to have the areas removed. Because I’m tired of paying medical bills. Because I can’t just glance in a mirror like most people; I’m also subconsciously checking my skin for new spots.


Because absolutely no one I know knows what it’s like to have this. Because I feel guilty when I feel sorry for myself... after all, it’s ‘just skin cancer’, as I’ve been told - I haven’t had to have radiation or chemo or lose a body part, so this should be no big deal, right? Because I can’t help but think that if I didn’t get so many sunburns as a child or lay out when I was a teen or go to Florida so many times in my 20’s and early 30’s, maybe I wouldn’t have this. Because it’s almost summer and I see people with their gorgeous tans, and culture tells us that being tan makes people look better. I can’t get a tan, so therefore I am less? Because I’ve had friends tell me they have seen my Facebook posts on skin cancer awareness but they won’t ‘like’ them or share them because they go tanning and they don’t want to seem hypocritical. Because sometimes I feel like even with all the awareness efforts, it’s not doing any good.

But tomorrow will be a new day, and I’ll get my positive attitude back, and I’ll keep checking my skin, because that is what I have to do.

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