Sunburns are Bad for You, Who Knew?

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As I concluded my visit to the doctor, he asked if there was anything else that I wanted him to take a look at (read this before moving on).

My first thought was he had seen enough of me to last us both a lifetime, and what else could he possibly want to see?

Then I remembered the red spot on the side of my nose. It had popped up last fall and had never gotten around to leaving (I had been thinking about naming it Mother-in-Law).

He touched it (thankfully, after washing his hands) and said it was a type of cancer. Not malignant, but cancer none the less.Don't Ask Me Why the Giant Sun is Wearing Gloves.

This type evidently pops up on people’s skin, often in their early forties (I am so looking forward to my entire body breaking down over the course of the next 30 years… good times… good times).

The mysterious red spot was most likely caused by too many sunburns during my misspent youth.

He said it needed to be treated, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I wasn’t overly impressed with his diagnosis, because moments before he told me the same thing… “It’s not a big deal.” And it wasn’t, but his hands sure were.

The good (evil) doctor said I had two options. One, let him freeze it off with liquid nitrogen. Or two, I could make an appointment with a dermatologist and get a second opinion.

Since I knew where my doctor’s hands had been recently, I decided I could live without him touching my face so I went with option number 2. Plus, while I trusted him to work on one end of me, my face was another story.

So I was off to the dermatologist.

Nice man. He is Indian I believe (country, not from the old west).

He confirmed Dr. Big Hand’s diagnosis. Cancer, but not serious. And the cause was too many sunburns.

He asked me to estimate how many sunburns I had gotten as a child. My best guess… 2,456.

He said pale, white people should wear a hat. Even when inside (he is a hardliner).

I tried to explain that it wasn’t my fault. My parents had a rule when I was a kid. Don’t come in the house during daylight hours. Ever.

No exceptions; including broken bones, bleeding, or death. I was told that all of these things could wait until after dark. And if they couldn’t, tough.

Of course this is not completely true. Sometimes they would let us in for dinner before dark. Sometimes. Usually, they just sat our lunch on the porch and went back inside.

As I look back, we were treated just the opposite of convicts. They can’t get out and we couldn’t get in.

My parent’s thoughts on sunburns were that a really good one would set us up for the entire summer.

Get that first good monkey butt red burn in June, let it peel, and you were good to go until school started (during this same time I also received a head shaving in the front yard… bald all summer. My hair would grow back just in time for school pictures).

So my younger years consisted of not being allowed inside, sporting a bad haircut, and burning my skin to a crisp.

My parents didn’t know any better. After all, those were the days of talking to strangers, jumping off the garage roof, swimming in disease infested ponds, scraping up your entire body on a Slip ‘n Slide, and never applying sunscreen.

But know I am forty and the bill is coming due.

Is it possible that I am doing something to my daughter that will haunt her later on? Will I discover in 30 years that we were bad parents?

Time will tell.

In the meantime, I am going to buy her a Slip ‘n Slide. That is the most fun a kid can have while bruising over 97% of their body.

I look forward to watching her run at full speed, jump on it, slide through the grass at 107 miles per hour, and crash into the nearest shrub.

If she needs me, I will be watching from inside the house. And yes, I will be wearing a hat.

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7 Responses to “Sunburns are Bad for You, Who Knew?”


  1. Karen
    on Jul 7th, 2008
    @ 5:03 am

    Happy Bloggerversary! Your blog is one I enjoy and often gives me the best laugh of the day! Thanks for sharing your humorous views of school and life – looking forward to many more!


  2. Jeff
    on Jul 23rd, 2008
    @ 9:32 pm

    hey…i’m in the same category as you. I had a couple of spots on my back that were never going away. I went to the dermatologist, and he confirmed it was superficial basal cell cancer. I had 5 spots on my back, small rough patches (pinkish) and one on my forehead.
    I used a chemo creme for 12 weeks, and it seemed to do the job.
    My problem is that I have red hair, i’m pale, with freckles, and I am a sun worshipper. I am 33 years old, and I never used sun screen until 2005. I would soak up the sun almost everyday, getting burn after burn after burn, but I didn’t care, because to me, I felt I looked better than when I was pale. It gave me extra confidence. Now since my scare, I am paranoid of getting more, I figure it is jsut getting started. I have no idea what to do. I saw a man with only a small portion of his nose left, due to skin cancer, and it has me terrified. I think that’s what will happen to me, since i had a lot of burns on my nose and forehead. I wish I had a time machine to do it all over, and avoid the sun, but it’a too late. I pray that they come up with a cure, and very effective treaments in the near future. I am more worried about being disfigured, than dying! What is wrong with me???


  3. JOE
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 4:57 pm

    yeah i agree. back when the facists ran america in the seventies there was a time to wage war against them and the mechanical dinosaurs that they built and rode around about shooting lightning bolts from their mouths, but the sun was very harsh back then when the ozone layer broke due to the amount of lightning and mechanical dinosaur excretions being vaporized into the atmosphere. i of course survived this pandemic being an elite tribal member of the nahk-wu clan, but i feel bad for those who were affected.


  4. Karen
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 7:45 pm

    Umm that made absolutely no sense lol. The mechanical dinosaurs were constructed out of recycled car parts during Ronald Reagan’s facist regime. Get your facts straight buster lol.


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