Wondering What You Did to Deserve Skin Cancer

When I got the diagnosis of skin cancer, my first thoughts were wondering what was going to happen to me. However, my next thoughts were wondering what I had done wrong.

Self-blame is natural

While self-blame isn't constructive, it is natural for some of us. It doesn't matter that when I grew up no one knew that baking in the sun was harmful. But even after finding out that this is something that sometimes happens and basal cell carcinoma is treatable, I still had my doubts on my involvement with the diagnosis.

I have had basal cell carcinoma twice, and each time I think back to those days lying out in the sun in my backyard or going to the beach and getting sunburned. I grew up and live in Florida and that's just what a lot of people did and still do. I remember growing up and my daddy having skin cancers removed yet back then, I was too young to really think about it. Besides, he had dark skin and worked in the sun every day. Surely it was just something that he got because of that.

It didn't even cross my mind back then that one of the things I enjoyed the most was what was damaging my skin. Even after I got older, I still tanned and would even go to tanning salons. Mind you, I never got super dark because I'm fair-skinned in the first place. But I sure did like that golden glow.

It's not your fault

Sure, I might wonder if I could have just stayed out of the sun and tanning beds. Perhaps I could have worn more sunscreen. At the very least, I could have been more vigilant at taking care of my skin. But it's not my fault and it's not your fault. Sometimes it is a combination of UV exposure and a bit of bad genetic luck, in my opinion. I mean, look at the millions who spend hours in the sun each week and never get skin cancer.

Take care of your skin and your thoughts

It is important to take care of your skin by limiting your UV exposure and nowadays, that's fairly common knowledge. But there is another important thing to consider - take care of your thoughts, too. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, don't automatically feel as if it's all your fault. That only makes you feel worse and it is better to focus on your healing. Don't be so hard on yourself and allow yourself time to absorb the news without placing blame.

You're only human and there is no reason to think bad things about yourself. Instead, realize that you didn't deserve to get cancer, it is just something that happened - like it happens to so many others. Be good to yourself in mind and spirit.

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