Friday, July 29, 2005
I drew this self portrait two years ago after I was diagnosed with skin cancer. It manifested itself as a bb sized freckle under my right eye. I didn't give it much thought until one day, as I was washing my face, it started bleeding. I got a biopsy and was (mildly) relieved when the doctor said it was basel cell...the "good" kind of skin cancer.
I underwent Mohs' surgery, which is supposed to be the most non-invasive form of skin cancer surgery. I was a bit surprised that such a little lesion would require so much cutting and stitching...I felt a little like Frankenstein as I changed the bandages a few days after the surgery. It's the price I am paying for a childhood spent outside in the sun every summer with no sunscreen at all...back then we didn't know what UV was, much less what it could do to you. We just tried to get the deepest, darkest tan possible, sunburn be damned!
The scar has heeled now, and I'm the only one who notices it, of course.
I posted this "before and after" sketch in hopes that it will help all of us to be more conscious of the time we spend in the sun, and to pay attention to even minute changes in our skin...it can mean the difference between life and death. Luckily for me, it was just minor surgery, and a subtle daily reminder every time I look in the mirror.