Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One year ago...

One year ago this week, David went to the doctor after over a year of my bugging him.

One year ago next week, he called to tell me that the results from his biopsy were back and he had a very early stage of skin cancer.

One year ago, my heart stopped.

What? Skin cancer? He was only 26 and though he is usually outside, for whatever reason when I think of skin cancer I think of old ladies with leather skin who have laid in tanning beds for years, not 26 year old men. To associate the word cancer with anyone that age is hard.

Luckily, it was found in the very, very beginning stages. It could be removed and it was all removed in a doctor's office without major surgery or any of the other things that come with the word cancer. The doctor told him he was lucky he found it so early and he just has to keep a look out on things and if he notices any changes to make an appointment to have it checked out.

Rewind to a year before and I was looking through a magazine that had a article about skin cancer. In that article was a few pictures of what skin cancer could look like. I noticed that one of the spots in the picture looked like a spot on David's back. I mentioned it David and of course he just brushes me off. Over the next year I frequently mention that he should maybe have the spots on his back checked out. I jokingly start telling him he has cancer. Not funny now.

While on vacation that April before, I start to really pester him about having it checked out. He finally agrees to let his mom (a nurse) to look at it when we get back and if she says she thinks he needs to go then he will. Luckily, after looking at them, she suggests he have them looked at. He then makes an appointment to go to our family doctor. In which at his visit, they then send him to a dermatologist and you can figure the rest of the story.

Changes it inspired...I immediately stopped laying in the tanning bed. I hated to admit that I was addicted to it and had spent the last ten Springs/Summers laying in one. David has become very good about putting sunscreen on (except when his mom applies it). It also made an impression on a few other people who also decided to stop laying in tanning bed. Reasoning, if it could happen with just spending time outside, it was more than likely going to happen from laying in the tanning bed.

Yes, skin cancer is the easiest to be treated in the cancer category. But the truth of it is, that if it goes untreated, it does kill people and it doesn't only affect old ladies who lay in the tanning bed. I actually have very close family members who have experienced this first hand.

The biggest thing that it made me realize was how I looked at myself. Looking back now, it amazes me how far I was going to make myself look good. Someone close to me finally made a connection that made me question myself. Why was I paying $60+ a month to kill myself? It was no different than going and buying a packs of cigarettes. Why would I continue to do something that I know had the ability to eventually kill me? I don't smoke because I know it could lead to cancer, so how is laying in a tanning bed any different?

Needless to say, it was a wake up call on so many different levels. A wake up call I am grateful for.

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