Costume mask with bandages on it

A Member of the Not-So-Secret Society

Have you ever wanted to be a member of a club? As a kid, maybe you and your friends had a secret club, complete with a handshake that only you knew. Or maybe you are currently a member of a club. For years now, I’ve been part of a club. Unwillingly.

My skin cancer group

That club is the skin cancer club. My first diagnosis was in 1995. A couple of years later was my next diagnosis, then another and another and another. Almost 25 years later, here we are. I’ve apparently been granted a lifetime membership in a club I don’t even want to be in.

Not-so-secret club

The skin cancer club is definitely not a secret club, at least not for me. Scars, biopsy marks, stitches...they’re all on display for everyone to see. Sometimes I forget that I’m a member, and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror after yet another procedure and have a moment of shock. I may feel the same on the inside, for the most part, but I don’t always look the same on the outside.

I’m currently sporting a scab on my face just under my nose from a recent biopsy. It’s been very slow to heal, and there are times that I feel self-conscious about it. I’m pretty sure that when people look at me, they’re staring at my scab. It’s all I can see when I look in the mirror. I mentioned it to my daughter, and she said she doesn’t really notice it. Bless her heart for saying that, whether or not it was completely the truth.

Talking about my membership

Some people have conditions that are invisible to others. Skin cancer isn’t really like that. Not only can people see my diagnosis of the day (if the skin cancer is in a visible area), thanks to the public posts on Facebook that I’ve made about my skin cancer surgeries, procedures, and recoveries, mine is on display for the whole world to see. Literally.

I don’t always want to talk about my latest diagnosis or what I’m going through, but sometimes I feel I need to mention it, especially if I have stitches or a fresh scar or a skin cancer spot in a visible area. It can make for a good teaching moment, and hopefully educate others so they don’t have to go through what I go through.

The community you didn't want, but you might need

If you are a member of the Not-So-Secret Society, I’m not going to welcome you. I have a feeling you also don’t really want to be here. But I will let you know that you are in the right place to find support. This is a great community for learning, sharing, and venting. We are here for you, and we are all in this together.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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