An OUaL PSA–Skin Check

Last June I got some news that rattled my world in an “oh I’m not invincible?” way.

A month ago, after another routine check up, I got a similar phone call.

Yesterday, I went in to fight it.

(WARNING : graphic images. they’re meant to be disturbing and make you want to barf.)

photo 3






And in two weeks, I’ll do it again, upping my skin cancer scar tally to four.


Luckily this diagnosis was not as grim as the first – these are preventative procedures, not defensive. But having gone untreated they could/would have rapidly turned into something much more serious.

* enter statistics about skin cancer being the most common cancer, how 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed, and how it is the most preventable AND treatable of the cancers * 

Just your friendly reminder to wear sunscreen (even on cloudy days), get an annual skin check, and stay out of the fucking tanning bed. Buy stock in Spray Can Tan.

And yes, all this does have something to do with Zero Month. I’m completely out of sweat commission while these stitches fuse my skin back together. Nothing like starting from complete scratch in 2013.

Health over hobby. New legs, new pre-melanoma-less skin. BRING. IT. ON, 2013.

Sarah OUaL

if you have questions – how to get checked, what the appointment/procedure is like, out-of-pocket costs, etc – PLEASE email me. There are no excuses. Whether you “tan easily”, have never been in a tanning bed, or “aren’t really freckle’y” – do yourself a favor and calm my mother hen heart and go get checked.


45 thoughts on “An OUaL PSA–Skin Check

  1. My hubs had a problem area in the EXACT same spot – lower left back. Last year they worked on it and still didn’t like it this year so they REALLY went after it. Heal quickly. Chicks dig scars, yea?


    • Seconded, scars are cool. I have a cracker on my knee and when I did it everyone (parents, friends, even doctors) were super concerned about how much it may scar and if that would upset me. I dont care as long as its operational! Its my battle wound!


      • I’ve never understood the worry over scars (or how people grow up and never manage to get any). Maybe I scar easily, but I certainly don’t mind all the scars.


  2. Oh my gosh Sarah! This is so scary! I’m so sorry and so glad your ok. Sunscreen must beckons your best friend especially as such an avid outdoor runner. Your in prayers and thoughts friend!


  3. “stay out of the fucking tanning bed. Buy stock in Spray Can Tan”- WORD. If people honestly think being a slightly darker skin shade is worth cancer, theyre out of their freakin’ minds. Just buy the 2.99 bottle stuff and learn to apply it well if you want to look tan. My mum even laughs at me cause’ I wear factor 50 on holidays then apply self tan moisturiser when the sun goes down.

    Im glad you got it regularly checked out and caught it :) Have a lovely relaxing December!


    • yes. just ask for an annual skin check — then once you are there they make you strip down and record every mole or skin discoloration they have — they remove the suspicious ones and call you back with the results.. sometimes you have to go back and get more skin removed — but it is so worth it — i get one every year.. and have prevented several from spreading


  4. Oh wow!! I’m so sorry!!! Praying for a quick healing so you can get back out there…. I’ve never had a skin check… I go to the tanning bed 1 day a week for 5 minutes because of my Psoriasis… I always thought that if I never went more than 5 minutes I wouldn’t have anything to worry about… that’s pretty scary! :( *hugs!*


  5. Scars are cool:) Seriously glad you’re putting this up. It helps spread awsreness (no fear). I too got the call for pre-melanoma a couple of months ago and get to visit the loverly skin doc twice a year now. Y’all get your skin checked please.


  6. Melanoma is no joke. So glad you caught this when you did. EVERYONE should be doing a yearly skin check and wearing sunscreen daily. Thanks for highlighting such an important issue and hoping your stitches heal up nicely!


  7. Thanks for posting this. People need to see this!!! My dad has had over 30 surgeries and now has had skin graphed from all over his body. It is sad! His doctor said it is 100% from when he was not wearing sunscreen when he was a kid and the skin cancer surfaced 30 years later. I fully embrace my pale skin now and attempt to pull off spray tans :)


  8. I LOVE that you are talking about this and spreading awareness. Keep up the good work, and I hope your good health continues! Major props for being proactive, btw.


  9. Even though this says “tell me something cool,” I’ll tell you something not cool. I just had my annual skin check about an hour ago, and sure enough, I also got chopped up. She said she’s willing to be it’s basal cell carcinoma, so not as scary, but still scary, nonetheless. This isn’t my first time, and likely not my last, but I appreciate there are others who live my “pale is beautiful” mantra (or at least the spray can tan train). Skin cancer is so common – and can be so deadly – that spreading the word is so important. Heal quickly, my friend. I hear ale is the best cure;)


  10. Happy to hear you’re taking preventative measures against skin cancer and spreading the word to get checked out. I’m right there with you and have had pre-cancerous cells removed. Embrace the pale or spray tans only!


  11. Thank you for posting. After years of hassling my mole-y father in law (who after my harassment saw a dermatologist, who found he had a melanoma) but not walking-the-walk myself, I’m going to go in. I need to get checked. I’m a fool for lecturing others without doing it myself. Even though I’ve been careful (as an adult) with sunscreen, I had my share of ridiculous tanning jags in my teens. Thanks for the reality check, and I wish you a speedy recovery!


  12. Thanks for posting this. It reminds me that I need to get checked! I do self checks all the time, but pretty much every single person in my mother’s side of the family tree has had melanoma so you can never be too careful with the skin checks!
    Hope you heal up quickly!


  13. I know how you feel with the multiple scars…I have more than I can even count from having moles biopsied, but only 3 that are significant (where they found something abnormal/pre-cancerous and had to go back in and cut out more skin.) The derm I see is a skin cancer specialist, and he does my yearly checks super quickly, but if I tell him there’s one I’m concerned about, he’ll lop it right off for me. I’d rather have a shit ton of those tiny circular scars (that no one ever notices anyway) from biopsies than wind up dead! I say bring on the battle wounds :)


    • Ditto! Lots of little scars and three big ones over here. It sucks to get them cut out, but cancer would suck a lot more.

      I didn’t know this was so common among women our age! Thanks for talking about it, Sarah.

      Viva la spray tan!


  14. I love that you posted this. So many people don’t think skin cancer should concern them. Skin cancer has personally affected my life and I kick myself all the time for the stupid tanning habits I had as a teen. I go twice a year for a check adn luckily nothing has come back cancerous. Now I lather myself in sunscreen and love my ghostly pale complexion :) Hope you are healed up quickly!


  15. Fourth battle scar from skin cancer?! Worst! I have 13 stitches on my nose from basal cell skin cancer that I got stitched up in 2010. It was one painful procedure and healing from that was not fun. I’m buying stocks in organic spray tanning ;)


  16. Saw on twitter that your looking for a new purse. Check Macy’s. They always have great sales. I have this bag and LOVE it! Its perfect size and looks like it cost a lot more then it did! Looks like they don’t currently have it in too many colors, but it seems like they get other colors in frequently.


    • and thanks for the PSA – not trying to take away from the importance by talking about trivial things like hand bags, but don’t have twitter so this is the only place I could respond about your purse request. :)


  17. I go every year to see Dr. Slice and Dice. I have NEVER gotten off the table without something being sliced off. Fortunately, all have come back inconclusive. Most of the moles that have been removed have been where the sun don’t shine. Be sure to be checked EVERYWHERE!


  18. I have had multiple spots (moels removed also. The SCARIEST surgery needed was when I was 16 years old (now 28) I had a lump from my boob removed. It was a year later I had 2 moles removed and they advised me they had to cut again because the first cut didn’t obtain enough of the abnormal cells to ID what it was.

    1 was in the same spot as your recent one on your back and the other was on my upper back under my shoulder blade.

    Thankfully they were negative for cancerous cells

    then, 1 month ago, the mole I have had on my stomcach (i like to call my signature mole as if I am Cindy Crawford!! ;) ) had doubled in size within 1 year. I didn’t even want to play around and had my Doc chop it off immediately!

    They have all left large scars on my body but, I feel it is worth it.

    I hope all goes well for you and you are free and clear of any and all things cancerous. <3

    I have olive skin due to my italian heritage and it does not matter how dark you are or how well you tan or if you burn or not, anyone can get it. It runs in my family and my Uncle died of melanoma so, I will have to always be on top of anything "new" or "different" on my body because it snuck up on him.


  19. Girlfriend! Thank you for sharing this news and your thoughts. Totally scary, but so important. We are thinking about you up here in the S-E-A, where you are always welcome if you want to hide from the sun. Of course, then you’d have to deal with SAD (Seasonal Affectation Disorder) which causes all kinds of unsightly behaviors not to mention pallid skin color. In all seriousness, lots of love – and please keep us posted!


  20. Amen! I do not for the life of my understand why people still tan. My grandfather died of melanoma- he spent summer after summer shirtless and sunscreen-less at the lake. Totally blows, but such a valuable lesson.


  21. i don’t preach this a lot-but so glad you did. I am not sure you know that I am in dermatology sales and this is what i see all the time. lots of people in waiting rooms waiting to get things cut off. i get SO PISSED when i see people tanning in tanning beds and baking in the sun. i’m all about the sunscreen (i do love the beach, but WITH SPF). glad you caught yours early and that you will be okay!! guessing you are on a 6 month check up from now on. annoying, i know.


  22. Thanks for posting this Sarah. I’ve had a reminder on my calendar for about a month to schedule a dermatology visit to check out some mole’ moles. This post is a final push to just go. Hope you’re recovering well and thanks again for being brave and sharing this!


  23. So glad you are ok! I had melanoma on my thigh when I was 25, pregnant and a one year old at home! I thought I was as good as dead – I had the mole FOREVER. Had baby early, big surgery for melanoma a week later, lymph node out, and now a 6 inch long scar on my leg where they took a chunk out! So glad to hear you are diligent about getting checked and being preventative. A tip I learned, because it takes like 6-8 months to get into a derm. around here, is if there is a concerning mole, just go straight to a general surgeon for a biopsy. 6 months is too long to wait if it could be something bad!


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