Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It seems that we grievously overstayed our time in the sun when we were young and irresponsible. We too much enjoyed the feeling of the warm rays and the lovely bronzed color that resulted. Now we are paying the price – directly to the dermatologist. When our skin betrays us by breaking out in basal or squamous cell cancers (we won’t even mention melanoma – that’s just too scary) we have several treatment options. One is “burn and scrape” (I call it slash and burn). Although this sounds like it involves pillaging villages or preparing farmland, in reality it refers to removing cancer cells from that very thin layer of skin that we mistakenly believe protects us from the world. The lovely sting and burn of a sharp needle keeps us from directly experiencing the feeling of the doctor’s electrified instruments. She kindly checks to be sure we are not touching anything metal before she makes contact. It seems strange to me that the cure for too much burning of the skin is burning off what’s left. Another treatment, which purges the skin of less aggressive invasions, utilizes a cream (did I see the word acid on the label?) that you drop daily on the offensive spot until it chooses to depart in an ugly crusting scabbing wave of remorse and then disappear leaving your skin in its naturally smooth and pink state. Finally, there is the most invasive method: cut and stitch. This involves total removal of the cancer cells, gathering in the remaining skin and stitching it together. Although this is the surest cure, it has a longer recovery period. And that’s just one part of the body. Taking care of all our parts requires almost constant attention if we plan to hang around this planet for awhile.

1 comment:

  1. Love this line: "chooses to depart in an ugly crusting scabbing wave of remorse!"