#24: Dermatologist

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” – Helen Keller

 Helen. You had it right my friend. And getting my skin checked, along with all the other things that a person has to get checked as we get older (including all the boxes on my list), can be intimidating and scary. All those insurance risk tables start to become a bit more real, the “likelihood” age ranges come into view, and self-care becomes much more important to ensure longevity.

It seems that most stories published about cancer treatment start with “It was just a regular check-up…”, and that was why I have been putting off going to the dermatologist. Fear that my pale, freckly skin, would show an anomaly. I’m rational enough to understand that knowing is better than not knowing, but I’m also rational enough to understand that ignorance is bliss. Sometimes.

Time to be an adult. So adulting I did. When I wrote the list, I took some easy steps to check off items. Knowing that the dermatologist typically backs up about 4-5 months for appointments I got one booked for October of 2017. And went. And have since lived to write about it. My dermatologist is great. Works quickly, checking and chatting. If she pauses to look at a mark more closely, she will be consistently talking to put my mind at ease. And for the most part the checkup went smoothly.

She did pause on a mark on my back that she had noted in her files a few years ago. She said she was going to pull in another doctor to validate what she saw – that it was nothing to worry about, something to watch. The other doctor came in, and with very little fanfare said “you’re right”, and walked out. That was the only minorly upsetting part about this appointment. And now that it is marked, I will start to go back every 6 months for evaluation.

And every 6 months I will put my fear in check, and get checked out. Because knowing that if anything happens to my skin, I’ll be doing something about it within months of it coming to the surface, not years. And that is going to help me sleep better between now and then.


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