The Sunshine State?

So how is it that I’m enjoying North American internet, yet it’s the beginning of February when I should be back “home” with my husband? Well, lucky me, I’m still on Christmas vacation!

I’m at my Mom’s place in Florida — have been since January 1, will be until March 1 — which is fun, relaxing, and comfortable, for the most part. I’m here for so long because I need to treat my face and arms for skin cancer, which is not so fun. No need for alarm, it’s not a melanoma or anything life-threatening… I’ve just had a lot of basal cell carcinomas (the most common and least dangerous kind of skin cancer) and lots of sun damage, and need to be proactive. This time around, the doc blasted two AK’s on my face (actinic keratoses, the precancerous version of squamous cell carcinoma, which is more dangerous than basal cell and runs throughout my Dad’s family) and took 5 biopsies elsewhere, 4 of which were thankfully negative. The 5th was an active basal cell on my arm, which I had spotted while I was enjoying a bit of sunshine on the French Riviera a few months ago.

Basal cells are easy to treat and as I keep saying not very dangerous, but the problem is that most fair-skinned people start getting them in their 50s. My first was at 28, and since then I’ve had 7 more. Most have been treated with liquid nitrogen, one has been cut, and one on my forehead was supposed to go under the knife a few years ago when a second opinion led me to try this topical chemotherapy treatment called fluorouracil. I treated my entire forehead for about a month — some of my friends may remember the gruesome blistering I sported as a result — and poof! basal cell gone. Along with lots of future basal or squamous cells. I like this approach better because I can treat a whole area at once for the long-term, instead of waiting for individual spots to reveal themselves. (In the past, it was like just when one is treated, six months later another one pops up.) The downside is, it takes a long time, it’s quite uncomfortable and at times painful, and definitely unsightly. I figure now is a great time to do my face, since I don’t have to, like, go to work or anything… 😉

Maybe when the treatment is all done I’ll have the guts to post some of my horrible pictures. In the meantime, if you’re curious, check out my friend Jim’s photos when he documented his forehead on the stuff. Being able to read his story really helped me with dozens of questions when I was going through it the first time. It’d be nice if I could return the favor sometime.

And now, since I am avoiding the sunshine and have limited time to enjoy all things internet, back to that YouTube video of the cute kittens…

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