Too Much C-Word

If things have seemed a little dispirited around here (especially Twitter – eep!), I apologize.

I’m one of those tortured souls lunatic masochistic idiots that gets really stressed out about stuff when you’re supposed to be having fun.

To say the final weeks of wedding planning have me a bit frazzled would be an obnoxious understatement.  Like, INCREDIBLY OBNOXIOUS.  But on top of the wedding stress, I took a little gut punch the other day.

A big, fat, dick-move, GUT PUNCH.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

See, Cancer (herein referred to as “the c-word”) is a big deal around our parts.

They say 1 out of every 2 Americans are affected by the c-word in some way, and that it’s (unfortunately) by no means an uncommon disease these days.  But, after losing loved ones (most recently, here), watching friends struggle with the fight now, and having FOUR separate familial survivors currently in B’s family alone, I’d say we’ve had our share.  Enough with the c-word, already.

Recently, BHibs had a really scary bout with Melanoma.  She’s still not in the clear, and hearing the trials of doctors visits, surgeries, and awaiting lab results, I got nervous.  Coupled with B’s cousin’s serious fight with melanoma, I decided to be proactive.

I scheduled a routine skin check with my dermatologist.  I have fair skin, lots of freckles/moles, and was not diligent in my youth about wearing sunscreen. I was willing to pay a $20 copay for some peace of mind and assurance.

Friday afternoon I got the call about the samples they sent for biopsy.  The news was NOT good.  (Who calls with bad news 1 hour before the weekend starts??!  DICK MOVE.)

Basal Cell Carcinoma (nonmelanocytic skin cancer)

and Junctional Nevus with Moderate Atypia (pre-melanoma mole)


I’ll be going in a few days to have additional cells excised from the areas that came back abnormal.  Yes that means surgery, and yes that’s kind of scary.  It also means I’ll have a pretty gnarly scar on my arm for the wedding.

But thinking about “what could have been” is even more frightful.  I seriously get nauseous thinking about what these pesky little jerk cells could have done if they’d gone un-detected.  So, in the most ass-backwards, selfish, sick way :

THANK YOU, BHibs & Andrea, for getting the c-word, raising awareness, and pushing me to be proactive.

(overprotective, motherly speech coming right up :)

Skin c-word is the most common cancer, but also one of the easiest to prevent, detect, and fight.  Unlike organ and bone cancers that lurk in your body and attack without warning, our lovely epidermis does a pretty good job communicating with us.  LISTEN TO IT!

Wear SPF.  Keep an eye on those moles.  Get an annual skin check.  (Mine was covered by insurance since it’s a preventative exam, and took less than 30 minutes.)

Just add it to your annual exam list – you take care of your teeth, your eyes, and your lady parts;  take care of your skin, too.

And that’s my spiel.  I’m going to be fine – everything was caught early and is NOT life-threatening, so don’t fret.  I just want to spread the word about what you can do to protect yourself.  I don’t care if you have the most naturally tan, unblemished skin of life (lucky bastard) or you live in the basement and have never been exposed to the sun’s UV rays – find a doctor that makes house calls and get checked.

And if anybody has the hook up for sweet bandaids that match my wedding colors, send them my way.  It’s going to be the hottest new bridal accessory!

Sarah Soon-To-Be


54 thoughts on “Too Much C-Word

  1. Omigosh Sarah! I’m so sorry! No wonder my C-word list (insert punching here) struck a cord with you. This makes me want to get a skin check ASAP. Thinking of you! Hugs!!!!


  2. So sorry to hear this. I went to the lady doctor a couple months ago and had a dermatologist appointment the same day, I tan easily and past couple years I burn more than I used to so I go get checked out, just in case! Hope you find some awesome bandaids for your wedding but to be honest they weren’t that noticeable in your blog pictures so myabe they won’t be noticeable in your wedding pictures.


  3. Wow that is so crazy! I’m glad you caught it so early! Way to go with being proactive. I’m not at all diligent about sunblock despite all of the warnings (mostly because I’m brown and have never been burnt but that is NO excuse)…I’m definitely going to start wearing it and going to get the few moles I have checked out.
    Thanks for sharing. For real.


  4. I literally just scheduled a skin check after reading this post. I’ve put it off for years but it’s time to just do it! I’m so glad you caught yours early.


  5. I’m so sorry to hear this — the same thing happened to me. Who would have thought that growing up in sunny Ohio would have this effect? I have a big fugly scar on the front of my left shoulder from having melanoma removed. They took it off 5 months before my wedding despite my begging to please leave it alone until after the wedding because I’d been working on my buff bride arms and was incredibly vain about them. Lucky for me the doc slapped me right in the bride brain and said no. Also lucky for me, a little thing called Photoshop was a huge help in the wedding album. Three years later the scar is still there and still fug. Sometimes when people stare and ask about it, I tell them it’s from a knife fight because lecturing people about sunscreen can get old. But I hope your story will make more people visit their dermatologists. I’ll be thinking of you (not in a creepy way) — good luck!


    • There’s too much awesome in this comment for me to address. Bride brain – slapped! Who gives a shit about the color of napkins or if it rains – it’s all “small potatoes” (as L says) in the grand scheme of things!

      And AMEN to Photoshop :)


  6. So sorry to hear about your news! I had a mole removed back in ’05 & all was fine, but I’ve got tons of dark freckles and tan pretty easily…so I guess I should go back and get checked out. So, thanks for sharing this with us! I’m going to look and see if my insurance covers a preventive skin check as well! *hugs*


  7. I’m so sorry, Sarah. Sending lots of good thoughts your way! My cousin just dealt with something similar and I STILL haven’t made my derm. appointment. Thank you for the kick in the pants, I’ll be making one this week.


  8. Wow! I’m glad you went in! The scarf will fade – you can make up some story that you fought off a mountain lion on a trail run and won.

    I went for a check about a year and half ago when I had a minor freak out about a spot on my lip (which turned out to be nothing). No one in my family has skin cancer issues (other cancers but not skin). Probably has something to do with my mother’s side being Italian and my father’s side being part Native American – we tan very easily. But we’re crazy. Get a little break in one area, and pay for it elsewhere ;-)

    My husband’s family, though, is fair and burns. His dad had some skin cancer stuff removed from his scalp a few years ago. So, he has to be a little more careful – luckily he slathers on lotion like nobody’s business.


  9. Wow. Last week, I made an appointment for Eric for a skin check because he has so many freckles and moles on his back, and since then, I’ve had 3 different people share similar stories to yours…I am taking it as a sign that it’s very necessary. I had one last summer, so it’s almost time again!


  10. After reading your post, I finally found a doctor and scheduled an appointment (ONLINE because the office is already closed and I know I will keep putting it off if I don’t do it now!). I’ve been planning for so long and just never did till now – thank you! Now, if I could somehow get my husband to go too… maybe if I bribe him with drinks/baseball/golf/casino/etc after…?! Hmm…


  11. I have been meaning to do this for a year now. Should be more than that, but I was the same way when I was younger. Out in the sun all the time, I wore sunscreen but still burned the shit out of my skin. I’m not sure how I can go in for 2 chemical peels, but I haven’t done the skin check. So, thanks for the reminder! I think I’ll make an appointment today.


  12. I’m so sorry to hear that! Being proactive (especially in terms of your health) is so so important! I’m glad you did the exam/check up because you can do so much more when you know something is going on!!! And if anyone can make band aids trendy/fashionable/total fab, it’s you! FYI you’re in my prayers (and my prayers helped cure stage 4 ovarian cancer so you’re in good hands)!


  13. Smart girl-glad you got things checked out!

    We’re of a generation that WORSHIPED the sun and it’s evil counterpart, the tanning beds; it’s so hard to get people out of the mindset that they have to be tan and that cancer won’t happen to them. I’m so glad it was caught early. Thank you for sharing your story! You’ve made a difference for many, I’m sure of it!


  14. I recently got my skin checked too, and it feels good to just KNOW – whether it’s good or bad news. I had two moles removed and they were “irregular”‘ which basically just means that if I hadn’t taken the preventative action they could eventually turn into cancer. Scary, scary thought!

    I still love the sun, but always make sure to wear my SPF!


  15. Wow, glad everything will be ok! Thanks for sharing this! I am sure you are encouraging many people to get checked! This is one of my biggest fears as I have a trillion freckles and it runs in the family!


  16. Oh man Sarah, I’m sorry to hear that you have alot of the C-word around you but you did the right thing but getting checked out!
    I’m glad that it’s not serious and you are going to be fine!
    Good luck with all the wedding plans, everything is going to be fine!


  17. Thanks for posting this, sorry you have this added stress in the last few weeks before your wedding, but at least it was caught early! And while it sucks to hear that right before the weekend, I think NOT knowing all weekend might kill me too. I of course read this after I spent the morning at the shore…but I used sunscreen, and reapplied during my 3 hours there!

    I had a mole removed from my armpit last summer (awesome), and thought I was only going in for a “consult” 5 days before we went to St Martin, but she ended up removing it the same day. Have you ever tried wearing a bandaid in your armpit in the dead of summer?? so awkward. I guess I should have had them do a full check while I was there, though…Maybe that will be on my to do list for the summer.

    On the plus side, your left arm will be away from your wedding guests during the ceremony so you’ll be clear for those pics :)


  18. My heart was beating so fast as I was reading this! I felt like I was racing with Mrs. Kara Goucher! :) Oh sweetie, I’m happy that you’re okay!! Smart girl for scheduling a checkup ASAP!! You’ll be A-OKAY!! Cheers!! :)

    I was one of those girls in high-school that used to lay out in the sun with baby oil and thought I was so cool!! Now, I’m all about SPF 400!! :)

    I’ll send you some RAD bandaids! :)


  19. Sweet girl! Thank you for sharing. You will be in my thoughts and prayers! I definitely should get it checked out– my grandpa had malignant melanomas, that spread to his lungs and liver. I’m a big stickler for cancer awareness and my dad’s had some that he had to get removed! And i’m sure i’ll need to when i’m older thanks to my pale irish and cajun skin!


  20. whoa!!!


    I’m sorry to hear but glad you are getting things fixed up. I have to ask… did the moles they pointed out look weird to you at all? I have never gone for an exam but like to say I keep tabs on my body and things appear normal. That is very scary.

    I’m afraid if I go they will ridicule me for my current tan. But I suppose that should not be an excuse.


  21. Very scary, but so fortunate you took the leap to get it checked out. I think people under 30 (or even 40) are a little nonchalant about skin cancer- a good wake up call for us all.


  22. So sorry to hear this! But happy you are getting the word out. I was diagnosed with melanoma 3 years ago when i was 27. I live in the tropical state of Washington, so i wasn’t ever too worried about skin cancer. I tanned in beds and outside but thought skin cancer was just of the skin and could easily be removed. Thankfully, mine was fairly easily removed, but that’s not always the case… Good luck with your surgery – and be thankful it’s not your face :)


  23. Sorry to hear that! My dad has had his own bout with pre-cancerous crap, and way too many things removed because of it. In DC, I had a hard time finding a doctor who would take me seriously after looking at my tanned skin. I’d be honest and go “I have family history and I like the sun” and they ‘d say “lift your shirt in the back. You’re good” It was always a WTF? They wouldn’t take me seriously just because I was tanned (and therefore looked like I had darker skin), despite the tons of freckles they would have seen if they saw more than the lower part of my back! Ugh!

    One friend had her own bout with melanoma last year, but she got the all clear now.

    Good luck!


  24. so sorry to hear this lady! my mom had to have some skin removed on her face last year and I can barely notice the scar. she’s always been one of the most sunscreen obsessed people i know and it still happened to her. now she’s even more diligent about it, it will be raining outside and she’ll slather it on! i’m proud of you for catching it so early and you totally inspire me to get my skin checked!


  25. THANK YOU for sharing this!

    I love reading that other people went to have their skin checked after reading your story.

    Basal Cell is super treatable and easy to fix, my mom had a spot on her nose and she’s been fine since they removed it (15 years ago). And so glad you caught the other guy early on, that’s wonderful.

    I go EVERY year to get my skin checked, wouldn’t think about skipping it!


  26. Glad you got checked out! I had basal cell….ON MY FACE! So, yeah, i’d much rather be worrying about a scar on my arm! Of course, by the time it’s all over, i may have some there too! Mostly i’m just hoping for NO MORE on my face..but definitely thankful it wasn’t a more serious (aka deadly) kind of c-word. I think the doctor did a great job with my face…and as a mom, i’m just happy to be alive to raise my kiddos! (Mine was removed 4 years ago…i had a 3 yr old and 9 month old at the time). Amen to sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and yearly exams! =)


  27. Holy shiz girl! What a bitchslap that is. You are so smart to have gone in and gotten checked out. I am sorry you are having to go through that like NOW. My doctor found a ginormous nodule in my neck three weeks before my wedding and the ONLY biopsy appointment I could get was three days before the wedding. So my poor fiance/husband had to sit in the hospital for three hours while I had a giant needle shoved in my neck. I had major chub-neck at the wedding even with 16 pounds of ice on it before. They called me on the way to the rehearsal to say it wasn’t cancer. You kick so much ass and you are going to look HAWT no matter what!


  28. Oh my gosh, my heart dropped when I read this and I have chills. SO VERY GLAD you caught things early. Scheduling my dermatologist appointment that I’ve been meaning to forever now. So, so grateful you went in.


  29. I have been thinking about getting my skin checked for a while now. Just something that has been on my back burner for a while. I am taking your post to be a sign to stop prolonging and just do it. Especially knowing it will only be like 30 mins! Thanks so much for raising awareness and you are totally going to rock your bridal band-aids!


  30. Okay this is seriously the kick in the butt that I needed! I just noticed a funky looking new freckle on my finger, yes finger wtf!, and was Googling it today. The c-word sucks but it can’t be ignored. I’m going to make my appt. tmrw, no more putting of off!!

    I hope everything goes well and I could hardly see the band-aides in the pictures.


  31. Heavy stuff. I’m sorry you have to deal with this right before your big day. The very first time my brain was developed enough to understand the connection between skin cancer and tanning (uhh, probably around 18) I began wearing SPF constantly, and stopped tanning.

    Now, I’m downright terrified of being SPF-less in the sun. I feel like it HURTS or something.

    point being, you’re preaching to the choir with me, but not with many many many women who are still too vain to get it. so keep on preaching


  32. Sorry you’re having to deal with the C-word. I’ve got my annual skin check scheduled for next week. I’m fair skinned with lots of freckles and moles. Thanks for spreading the word to get checked!


  33. Boooo to the c-word!! I’m glad you caught this early Sarah, being proactive really pays off. Hope the surgery goes well. I wouldn’t worry about the photos, you’re going to look gorgeous regardless. Besides, if anyone knows how to doctor up photos in Picnik – it’s def you!!

    Thanks for the PSA wake-up call, the extra nudge was all I needed. I’m looking up doctors right now … so productive (in my personal life) at work :)


  34. Glad it turned out to be okay and you caught it early! I just had all my moles checked out (I’m really freckly and moley too!) and thankfully they all looked fine, but I definitely will continue to go back for yearly skin checks. It is so important!


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  41. Of course the day that I get the call that I’ve been diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer is the day I remember that you had written a post about it. Thank you so much for writing this and the follow up ones I found). I’m scared shitless – ironically 8 weeks out from my wedding day and mine is on my FOREHEAD (thought it was a zit…) – but this makes me feel much better. It’s important for people to know that skin cancer isn’t always in the form of moles – I’ll be writing a blog post about this as well. Thanks for sharing your story here.


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