Wednesday, June 9, 2010
No more tanning beds for me
my pale self during my best friend's wedding
I am pale…very pale. In fact I joke with my friends sometimes that if they ever need a light in a dark tunnel to give me a call. During my high school and college years I enjoyed going to a tanning bed for a dose of sun kissed tan. I have never been a sun worshiper, but felt like occasional visits would not hurt my skin or my wallet.
Paying $45 dollars for a whole month of tanning visits was not a big deal. I felt that it was a good investment especially during the summer months when my tan legs didn’t look the same color as my white skirt. However, things changed when I got married.
After our honeymoon was over the reality of finding a real job set in. Not that I didn’t want a real job, I just couldn’t find anyone who had a job opening in my field. Oh yeah, plus everyone wanted someone with experience. No job means very, very, very tight budget and tanning bed visits were not part of our budget.
Looking back now I am very grateful for having the opportunity to live on a tight budget. When I finally found a job, I no longer desired to waste my money on tanning bed visits. Please know that I am not criticizing those who visit tanning beds is that I just prefer to be pale now. I learned to love my God given pale skin.
After I made a conscious decision to embrace my pale skin, I came across numerous articles in the magazines about skin cancer. I would read stories after stories about women who suffered from skin cancer. Quickly I would check out my skin for signs of bad moles described in the article and feel relieved that my youth sun bathing trips to tanning bed were not very frequent.
One day I asked my husband to check out a red mole on my back that has been bothering me for some time. I schedule a doctor’s appointment to free my paranoia. Doctor suggested that to remove the mole but did not have any concerns about it. He was right the results came back normal. I knew I worried for nothing.
Several months past and I noticed another mole, only this time it was on my stomach. The mole looked tiny and very black. The shape of the mole was not abnormal, however the edges of it looked burned. I had to go back to see a dermatologist because during the winter months my skin gets super dry. Pointing at my mole, I asked the doctor to look at it and tell me that my alert was false. Unfortunately the doctor felt that we needed to remove this mole, but I didn’t think much of it because the last mole that he removed was normal.
Several days have passed and I received a message from the nurse asking me to call her for results. My heart started to beat fast and I knew that if the results were good she would have said so in the message. Finally I got in touch with the nurse and she said this, “You have A-typical mole that has a potential of turning to cancer. Blah, blah, blah, blah.” I was shocked and ready to see a doctor to remove the skin around the mole as a safety precaution.
That evening I told my husband that I have A typical mole and the doctor is going to remove 10 inches around the mole area on my stomach. He tore a piece of paper and showed me what 10 inches would look like. I then became very scared thinking how huge of a scar I will have on my stomach. Apparently I tuned out the nurse during our conversation after she said the word cancer and the doctor was only going to cut 10mm of my skin not 10 inches. After doing a little bit more research I was at ease to learn that this mole is not uncommon and many people have it and just have to remove the mole for safety reasons.
Today the scar on my stomach serves as a daily reminder to embrace my God given pale skin. Avoiding visiting tanning beds have saved me a substantial amount of money. Just think if I use tanning bed 6 months out of a year the cost adds up to $300 dollars. By staying away from sun bathing or shall I say sun baking not only am I saving money, but I am also sparing my skin from moles that potentially can turn in to cancer. By sharing my experience it is my hope that you will think twice before stepping another foot in a tanning salon.