Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Skin In The Game

Skin. Many thoughts run through your head when I mention skin?

OK, now that you've had your own personal skin flick, let's talk about skin. My skin, to be exact. A year ago, almost to the day, I heard the word skin attached to the word cancer. As in, "we got all the cancer from the skin on your neck. Let this heal a week and we'll get the other skin cancer spot on your back taken care of, OK?" Damn right it's OK! Why not get that baby off my skin right now!

As if learning you have cancer THE FIRST TIME is not bad enough, it's even more devastating, disheartening, disturbing and down right scary to hear again. After fighting through head & neck cancer, I now had to get through skin cancer? Now for those who have never had cancer, any time the word "cancer" is spoken and especially directly related to you, it's like a gunshot to the heart. Even when you beat it, you always have this voice in the back of your head: is it going to come back? When? Where? Will I have the strength--mentally, emotionally and physically––to get rid of it?

I remember the look on Teresa's face when I told her––at the Skin Doctor's Office––that I have cancer. Again. She's been through this before, with her Sisters Connie and Claudia. They both did not survive cancer, as it spread and took their lives at too young of an age. Her look was one of fear and determination at the same time. I wish her eyes would've become projectors, so I could see what she was really thinking inside of that beautiful head of hers. (Kinda like a cartoon or a superhero––we would call her "Emulsion". For film buffs, you know what that means). I knew what her heart was thinking. Not again.

So now I watch my time in the sun. I'm a disciple of SPF. Floppy hats are cool with me. Long sleeve t-shirts? I'll take 5-6. The beach? Let me put up this umbrella first. Me, a SoCal kid, running in the shadows to stay out of the sun. Does this mean I have to body surf with a wet suit? I can live in that skin. Exactly, that's what I'll do.

I'll live with it.

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