Grace brings us face-to-face with aging as she relates her experiences, her memories, advice for surviving the aging process...with Grace. This is a place for humor, sharing, and learning as well as what I hope are some entertaining meanderings of my thoughts.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sunscreen ~ Bad Burns Can Turn Into Cancer

Don't forget the sunscreen when you go outdoors!  And, wear a hat, too!  Here in Arizona, we are at the top of the list for the most skin cancers, so we hear this a lot.  It can't be said enough.  Let me tell you my story...

When I was young I spent my summers at the local swimming pool - Peony Park in Omaha, Nebraska.  Anyone remember it?  It was built like a little lake, with sandy little beaches around the edge, diving boards and docks in the middle and packed with kids out of school.  My Mom dropped my brother and I off and picked us up later in the day.

I am fair-skinned and burned easily.  I tanned, but compared to my friends, I looked white as a ghost.  I tried everything to get a tan...baby oil, oil with iodine and  lying for hours in full sun ~ with no sunscreen.  Oh, no...we didn't use sunblock!  We used sun enhancers.  No one knew about or mentioned the possibility of skin cancer back in the sixties. 

Even in my twenties and thirties I was making regular visits to a tanning salon in that endless quest for the perfect tan.  Tsk.  Some of us are slow learners.


Now, in MY sixties, and even earlier, I have had to have several cancers removed from my face, hand, and legs.  These are all places that I managed to get repeated bad sunburns.  Now, I have yearly exams in an attempt to catch other spots before they turn into cancer.  I must be ever vigilant.

So, when I take part in our annual Relay For Life event, as I did Mother's Day weekend, I have the dubious honor of being a Survivor ~ a cancer Survivor.  When I realized I fit into this category, it was a shock, and scary.  After all, mine have all been removed with a little cutting.  I didn't suffer the "joys" of chemotherapy or radiation.  I didn't need major surgery.  I felt like a cheater...like I really didn't belong.  But, I do.  Cancer is cancer and I am still here.  So, I do what I can to support our Relay event and support those who's battles are far more daunting than mine.

Do you have a cancer story?  Were you a sun-worshipper  in your teens?


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10 comments:

  1. I have had one skin cancer removed also. Yep- I worshipped the sun and used baby oil with iodine as my "tanning lotion". Who knew? xo Diana

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    1. Diana - What were we thinking? LOL!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ

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  2. I never used sunblock unless I was travelling to the tropics. As you said, it just wasn't an issue in the 50's and 60's. Even now, I have a hard time remembering to put it on when I do yard work. Between that and playing in the DDT fogger, I'm surprised I haven't had an issue YET!

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    1. Maureen - Me, too, with the yard work! Yikes, I forgot about DDT! It's a wonder we haven't succumbed to something awful!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ

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  3. Hi Grace, This is a very good blog to make people aware of sun cancer. I blogged about my experience from being a sun worshiper for soooo many years, & what the sun did to my skin. I also had treatments for sun damage & basal cells on my face. Maybe everyone will want to follow my blog as well & check out what I wrote on this topic. I also posted before & after pictures. Being a surfer for over 40 years, my husband is now going through Blu-U Therapy for the same reason.

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    1. Maureen - Seems we were all sun-worshipers and careless of our skin. I think it is important that we tell our stories so the younger ones can learn from our mistakes. I hope everyone visits your blog and reads your story! Just Another Day at http://2retirednewmans.blogspot.com/#!/p/blu-u-treatment.html

      Hugs, GraceinAZ

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  4. Oh Boy Do I have sunburn stories!!

    I too was very fair with pale blonde hear. In the 50's we also used the iodine laced baby oil. Like rubbing butter on a turkey. We also had those ponds with the sandy beaches and docks. Must have been the era.

    We vacationed on the Georgia coast and Florida. I can remember coming home so burned that I couldn't lean back against the seat of the car.

    I did wise up after a particularly bad burn. Even when we moved to Savannah, I only went to the beach when I had to. I absolutely hate to lie on the beach. Pavlov's dog I guess.

    I am blessed I have not had skin cancer. I did have thyroid cancer and had it removed. It was believed to have been caused by UltraViolet treatments that I had for acne when I was in high school. Cleared up my acne, never had any scarring or discoloration, just thyroid cancer. I have follow up every four months and I am fine. Luckily, most thyroid cancers don't grow rapidly or spread.
    My father died from lung cancer. Terrible disease.

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    1. Ginger - Thanks for adding to the conversation! I had a few blistering burns...ouch! I am happy to hear you have not had skin cancers,but sorry to hear about your thyroid cancer! Both HB & my fanilies had several people with cancer. I just hope our kids are being more careful!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ

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  5. Sorry, Pat. Didn't mean to write a post. LOL

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