The Importance of Sun Protection & Going to the Dermatologist

Today’s blog post is going to be on the more serious side so get ready because this may be a long one…

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been having to go to the dermatologist and get regular checks for moles. This is something that is hereditary in my family. I get them from my dad, who also has several freckles and moles. But unfortunately, skin cancer also runs in my family.

When I was in seventh grade I had my first mole-related problem. On my right shoulder, I had a mole that had to be biopsied. I later found out that the results came back and they weren’t good. Now, it wasn’t melanoma, but I had to get the mole surgically removed. That was in seventh grade. Seventh grade. There aren’t any other people I know that had to go through something when they were that age. I remember having to leave school early to go to the dermatologist office and my teachers almost didn’t believe me.

Fast forward to my junior year of high school. I had one on the side of my face that also had to be surgically removed. Again, it wasn’t melanoma, but like the previous one had to be removed in case the area changed in the years to come. Both of these spots had the possibility of turning into melanoma down the road and I did everything my dermatologist recommended to remove them from my body. Yes they hurt, and yes I now have scars on my face and back, but it’s better than the possible outcome.

Now, just around a week and a half ago I found myself at the dermatologist office to get a cyst checked out (which is fine!) and to be safe my doctor wanted to do a body check since it had been so long since the last one. Unfortunately, I had to get two moles removed. A couple days went by and when the results came in, I got a phone call. These were not melanoma, but they still had to get surgically removed.

While I was relieved their results weren’t as serious as they could have been, I was still nervous to have to get two spots in one sitting removed.

I got those spots removed yesterday, Thursday, August 17. I now have two sets of stitches, as you can see from the photos below. One is on my neck and the other on my back. Apologies if the second one is a bit gross, I didn’t know there were markings on it from the removal. I actually have to leave the bandages on for two days before I can air them out.

Why am I telling you guys this story? This is something that I’ve dealt with my entire life, and probably will be for the rest of it. I’ve already been told that I have to go back in three months to get my entire body checked for additional spots. As you all have seen on the blog in addition to my social media accounts, I am extremely pale. I’ve never been one to want to go tanning and every time I do go out in the sun, I make sure to put sunscreen all over my body.

But this still happens to me. It is so important to not only use sun protection but to actively go to your dermatologist. While these spots, like the others, will leave scars on my back, face, neck, etc. it is way better than the alternative. If you have a history of skin cancer in your family, it is even more important to do checks on yourself regularly and know what an atypical mole looks like.

It is also extremely important to use sunscreen and practice proper sun protection. Whether you’re swimming, laying out, at a theme park, etc. you need to be actively applying it throughout the day. Yes, some are waterproof but it’s typically only for a certain time frame. Even if it’s a cloudy day it is still important to apply sunscreen!!!

I’m sure you all have seen these charts before but I wanted to include it in this post so you know the signs. While I won’t go into the detail of the removals yesterday, I will say it is not a fun experience. You have to get multiple shots to numb the area and then a deep cut is made to ensure the whole mole is removed without any traces left over.

This is the reality for many other people like me. If you’ve lost someone to skin cancer, my deepest condolences. If you or someone you know is currently battling skin cancer, I’m

If you’ve lost someone to skin cancer, my deepest condolences. If you or someone you know is currently battling skin cancer, I’m rooting for them.

Apologies if this post is a little all over the place, I kind of wrote this on a whim and didn’t have any official structure as I wanted this to be more conversational and emotional. If I’m being honest, I’m currently laying in bed trying to not think about the irritation from the stitches and move my neck/back too fast to stretch the incisions.

Thank you guys for hearing me out on this topic. I think it is something that everyone should know and practice. Take it from me, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Moral of this post? Wear sunscreen every. single. day. and find a dermatologist that you like, and go in *at least* once a year to get your body checked for any atypical moles. Know the signs of possible abnormalities.

1 Comment

  1. Jen Dafgek
    08.18.2017 / 2:52 pm

    Love this post! Such an important topic and proud of you for sharing your experiences <3