Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sun Goddess

Molly called the other day to ask me when I was having my face taken off. What she was referring to was the small basal cell carcinoma I’ll have removed from the side of my face next Tuesday afternoon. For women my age, this has become the new norm, the out-patient surgery we are so grateful to have since it means we've managed to miss (so far) the "bad" form of skin cancer.

We grew up in the era of sunbathing without any kind of protection. We'd never heard of global warming at that point, and probably wouldn't have cared anyway. Beauty and a certain indication of wealth were based on a tan, even if the tan was of the backyard variety and not because of a trip to St. Tropez. I remember “laying out” in my backyard as a teenager, oiling myself up like a chicken on the grill, making sure to turn myself for all-over crispiness. 

I also remember, as a young mother, watching my little ones in the grass-encrusted, hose-fed kiddie pool, still slathering myself with baby oil as I reclined in my lounge chair, one eye on the kids, the other on my tan line. Still worse, when I was newly divorced and old enough to know better, there was the tanning bed, which allowed not only for an odd orangeness in winter, but also for an increased chance to schedule an appointment or two or eleven with the dermatologist in my later years.

So here I sit, old and wrinkled, soon to be sliced and stitched, so glad my daughters eschew (mostly) the notion of the perfect tan. The sun is shining through my window, warming me as I type. I'm grateful for many things, including not having he slightest interest in taking my beach towel down to the outdoor space I share with my other condo-ites and unfurling it in order to "lay out" in my granny bathing suit.  I'm pretty sure my neighbors are grateful too.


MaryB said...

I'm grateful for modern medicine and technology which will hopefully correct the mistakes of youth. Know that I am rooting for you. Take care of your special self.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

I had a basal cell carcinoma removed in late August from the center of my perfect nose. Better than the melanoma I had removed at age 19, when the Navy surgeon cut a big hole in the middle of my back.

The doctor who removed the basal cell carcinoma in August of this year looked at me and said, "You really are a survivor." In more ways than one, I replied.

nazelet said...

First, I want to tell you that I missed you and am so happy to have you posting again.
SS@wordpress is right - we women are surivors - in more ways than one.
Now to the real message. I will be sending you prayers while your prefect self is becoming more perfect. I hope you intend to stay at home for a day or so at least.
I can remember mising my special brew of baby oil & iodine, slathering up on Jones Beach as a teenager.
Living in Israel, where the sun can roast a turkey on the sidewalk, I slathered up with endless tubes of way too expensive for a kibbutz budget tanning lotion.
Now, living in Fl. I find that I'm not running to the seaside or laying hours oiled up at our community pool. We usually visit the sea late afternoon.
Camerman, on the other hand, from years of shooting (film) outdoors now visits the derm. and has bad growths removed from his very high forehead.
I'll be thinking about you and waiting for your next great post. Take care.

Celia said...

Glad you got it fixed. Take care. I had one of those basel cell things removed a couple of years ago too. It was on the left side of my face where my face and arm were always hanging out the window in the car surprise, surprise. The last few years I put sunscreen on every day year round. Still, one of my aunt's got a basel cell carinoma in a place that never, never saw the sun, so check all over if you can.

LC said...

Thinking of you.I'm embarrassed that thinking of you is only partly altruistic. The other part is pure selfishness. My funny bone doesn't get the same degree of exercise when you are not posting.

Glad you are scratching the itch you mentioned in the previous post.

Okay, so sue me . . . I was also worried that you were encountering something tough that was siphoning off all that creative energy that is usually bubbling up so delightfully.

Oh yes, from one former chicken on a grill to another!

ain't for city gals said...

I hear you girl...the only thing I wish I could take back in my life was the time I spent in the sun! I had one taken off my shoulder a couple of months you glad they could do it..

Friko said...

No, we had no idea what we were doing. Sunbathing was the leisure activity of choice.

Beloved has just had the second skin cancer removed, a squamous cell cancer this time. The first was BCC.

There nothing much to it, he's been fine and the stitches are coming out tomorrow, two weeks later. The only problem is that these things will come back and I've heard of people having had five or more operations.

You'll be fine.

I'm glad to have you back and I hope you'll get blogging again happily.

Best wishes, Friko

Olga said...

My husband has had a few spots removed from shoulders and head. I burned easily so developed the habit of sun screen fairly early. He always tanned so quickly that he thought he was protected. Molly sounds like she can be a bit on the overly dramatic side.

oklhdan said...

Never did much suntanning as a kid because my attention span was that of a knat.......just couldn't lay around doing nothing by baking. Plus I had too many freckles as it was. Glad you are taking care of this......missed your writing!

Wisewebwoman said...

Take good care dear friend. You hit a raw nerve with me as my mother died of a malignant melanoma which started in one of her toes. She was a sun bunny. Red hair and deepest tan.
So as a consequence all her children are super cautious and I was really hard on my own kids for any exposure.
The stuff we didn't know back then!
All good thoughts go your special way.

Freda said...

It's frightening what happens to elder skin, and we thought we were being healthy all those years ago - basking in the sun.

Vagabonde said...

I hope you are doing fine and not stressed about your little operation. I have avoided the sun for the last 30 years and rarely go out to a beach unless it is late and I am covered with a long beach dress, long sleeve and a hat. Just don’t like the sun that much, so I don’t have too many wrinkles yet. I missed reading your posts.

nazelet said...

How are you Marcia??

marciamayo said...

Paula, I am well, just very busy. I spent last weekend in Miami (in the rain) at a meeting. I thought of you since I was in Florida.

flutterby said...

Ooo, been there done that. Had a very small BCC blemish removed from my jawline in July and ended up with a 3-inch incision. I call it my "dueling scar". Very grateful for modern surgery.

joared said...

Trust all has gone well with your surgical event. Family member had that on her forehead and all went quite well.

This redhead avoided the baby oil craze, lamented I could never really get tan like my many friends. Despite this I did get more sun exposure than I probably should have. Developed what I call barnacles on my back which I attribute to a few sun burns. Recent years I've had them removed. Did recently have a precancerous spot removed from one arm so hope no more. Hope you have no more BCC too.

Wrinkling Daily said...

I did all the very same things you mentioned, in terms of worshiping the sun, except the tanning bed, and I am paying for it now. I just wanted to say that I am not sure how I stumbled onto your blog, but I am glad I did. You have a nice voice.

Nance said...

I'm grateful that I found sunbathing so miserable that I did a limited amount of it. Overheated, sweaty, in need of a shower...hardly better than a sharp stick in the eye. It was college and the dorms had flat portions on their roofs that were covered in undergrads from stem to stern. Baby oil with iodine was all they used. Even having avoided most of it, I still have had a couple of spots excised; would hate to think what it would have been like if I'd been more tolerant of discomfort back then.

Hope your scar has vanished entirely by now!

Murr Brewster said...

Oh jeez, I remember that. Lying out slathered in baby oil between tin foil reflectors. I could have been served with fries.

nazelet said...

Marcia, how are you doing. Check in. Miss you.

Jack said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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PiedType said...

I did the same roasting and basting when I was young. But I gave up basking and bathing suits twenty years ago. A little color from a bottle to disguise my Moby Dick legs is about it these days. So far the old days haven't caught up with me (knock wood). Take care.

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