While Buying Watches, Talking Skin Cancer, Treatment, and Prevention

The more that people sing the praises of the Apple watch, the less I want one. “You can read your texts without looking for your phone, you can answer Dick Tracy style if your phone isn’t handy, you can measure your exercise… blah, blah, blah.”

But if I want to know how far I walked or ran, I can put my phone in my pocket and check the “heart” icon to see how far I went, both in miles and steps. I don’t need to measure everything! I am already on my phone too much as it is. If I had an Apple watch, I’d be even more distracted. Plus, I don’t like the way they look.

My favorite watches

I like pretty watches. Maybe that’s because my mom was a jeweler, and I consider a watch a piece of jewelry. Some of my favorite watches are mistaken for bracelets. A friend makes them out of colored glass tiles. They slip down my wrist when I play tennis, so lately I’ve favored a different kind of watch made by a company called Tokyobay. Two designers, one from the Bay Area and the other from Tokyo, founded it in San Francisco.

I got two at a local store, Pinch Gallery, in a cool college town, Northampton, Mass., near me. I have two because I thought I lost one, “needed” another, bought another, then of course found the missing watch in a sweatshirt pocket. Now I have one with a maroon band and one with a blue band. I guess you’d call them retro because they have actual numbers on them.

Trying on watches with Effudex on my wrists

In going back and forth to get the watches and some gifts, I became friendly with a lovely saleswoman. How this is about skin cancer, you are about to see. At the time I was trying on a replacement, my wrist was a mess of red bumps, due to treatment with Efudex/Dovonex (FLUOROURACIL, pronounced flure oh YOOR a sil, and calcipotriene.)

I seem to always be treating my wrists. They are one of my forgotten areas when it comes to sunscreen. And long-sleeved shirts, whether sun protective or not, don’t always cover the wrists. Though the newer ones with thumb holes can at least be pulled down further to cover the wrists.

Explaining about skin cancer to the sales person

It was hard to judge how the watch bands would look on my “regular” skin. “I look like I have the plague,” I said. She said she thought I looked fine. Not fine enough to get a red band, I thought. Red band, red skin wasn’t a good look. It wouldn’t always be red, but it was hard to judge. I explained the treatment process to her, starting with the name of the cream. When I told her that is called 5-FU, she said, “That’s not very nice!” Because of course it sounds like a curse, F_ _ _ You. I laughed.

I actually bought one with a green band first. But it was didn’t keep time and had to be sent back to the manufacturer. This was before I found Maroon Band. (Forgive me…I seem to have given them names.) In the between times, I bought Blue Band. Then I found Maroon Band. Are you following?

Green Band must have been defective, because after I took it home the second time, it stopped working again. Back to the store I went…again. I bought a birthday present –– socks with a sunflower theme.

At the store again with clear skin, following treatment

Maybe all this back-and-forth was happening for a reason. By the time of my last visit, my wrists had gone through the cycle of getting red and blistery and itchy and painful and then clearing up. I wanted to show my new friend the results. I showed her how clear they were, with just a vestige of pink. My friend seemed to appreciate the difference and the lesson is skin cancer management. While I was there, I did a mini seminar on how my chronic skin cancers came to be and threw in my pitch for making sure she wore sunscreen.

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