Pound of Flesh

Ed spent a lifetime in the sun. If he was on a boat or on a ballfield, he never gave much thought to protecting his skin. One day he quit his job and moved on to a boat. His amount of exposure to the sun increased exponentially. He loved the beach. He loved fishing. He was happy to have a nice dark tan.

Ed would sometimes scoff at folks who protected themselves from the hot Florida sun. What’s the point of being on a beach if you’re going to sit in the shade? Look at that goober with the white zinc all over his face! It’s too hot to be wearing long sleeves.

As he aged, he gained new wrinkles around his eyes. He also gained something else. Ed has skin cancer.

Don’t be like Ed.

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That is my latest wound thanks to the dermatologist. It’s a good one, ain’t it?

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I also got this chunk hacked away at the same time. Both spots tested positive for Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is a much milder form of cancer than melanoma. The doc says I have no reason to be concerned. If caught and treated early it won’t present a problem. The thing is, the big wound you see there didn’t present gradually. It virtually popped up overnight. If I wasn’t a regular visitor to the dermatologist, it could have been much worse. If you see a suspicious spot, have it checked. 

A few months ago I had a smaller spot removed:

hand

That doctor was a sloppy stitcher. I won’t go back to him. The new guy is great.

Below is what this newest wound looked like after the biopsy:

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It looks big, but the actual cancerous growth was much bigger, under the skin. Hence the pound of flesh.

Sometimes, I get the nitrogen treatment. The doc will zap anything suspicious looking, often called pre-cancers, with liquid nitrogen. It freezes the area and hopefully kills off any coming cancer before it can develop. It also leaves you blistered on every spot that the nitrogen touches.

hand2

I’ve been going through these treatments too regularly for my liking. Just when I heal up from the last episode, I’m back to the nitrogen or under the knife. I have found a great dermatologist whom I like, though. I really have no choice but to stay on top of these things.

Most of this comes from damaged sustained a long time ago, but the ferocity of the Florida sun only exacerbates any latent pre-cancerous spots one might have. I’m trying to learn to avoid the sun more and to protect myself when I have no choice. Living on a boat isn’t conducive to avoiding the sun, especially in Florida. I can’t take back the ignorance of my youth either.

So that’s my personal PSA. Don’t be like Ed.

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7 thoughts on “Pound of Flesh

  1. Donna Benson

    I am very sorry to hear of your melanoma. I too was a sun worshipper (75 yrs) , also lived in the keys, and on a boat for many, many years. o far I’ve been lucky with no problems from my unwise choices all my life. But your message could be of great service . I hope you wouldn’t mind if I shared it on my FB page. I think it should be on all sailing sites. db

    Reply
  2. Steve Davidson (wino) from West Palm

    I have learned to wear the long sleeve spf fishing shirts made by pelagic, Tormentor aftco, etc. They are fine in the hot Florida sun. These new materials really work. Had all the same procedures done for the past 11 years, I go every 6 months to my Dermatologist.

    Reply

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