Savage Skin!

Ah!  What I wouldn’t give to be lying on a beach with a drink in my hand, the hot sun warming my bones, and my soul.  And just how great am I going to look at dinner tonight?  Freshly showered with sun-kissed glowing skin! 

We always look sexier with a great tan, right?

Hey, that was my thought!  And since I live in Chicago, what better way to accomplish this year-round feeling than to have it quickly done in the tanning bed, only minutes from home; and in only takes 15 minutes to get that instant glow and emotional healing.  (Not to mention, I have a fitness show coming up, so I won’t have to apply that messy, self-tanner)


Now, if only I didn’t have this pimple on my nose that JUST DOESN’T WANT TO GO AWAY!  Ah, I’ll just go to the dermatologist and get a special cream to get rid of it. 

(Little did I know that I would be leaving that office with a band aid on my nose!)

Well, guess what happened … they ended-up having to “take a scraping” just to be sure, to rule out skin cancer.  My precious nose!  I can’t believe they cut me, right then and there … my face!  And I had to go back to work looking like that?

What happened?

With much anticipation (and worrying) I waited for that call – and a week later I got the results.  Basal cell skin cancer. (I didn’t even know what it was!) Though, I was lucky, it turns out it is the least severe form of skin cancer.  Regardless, I was told I needed to have it removed within three months.

And this was not something I felt comfortable with or looked forward to in any way, shape or form.

So there I was with my Mom, visiting doctor after doctor, trying to find just the right one; whom I felt comfortable with and could trust.  And every doctor had a different approach on how it could be fixed … none of which I liked! 

What was to like?  Replace half my nose with a piece of my cheek or ear … NO WAY!
The options were getting thin, and I had no idea of where to turn or who to believe.

Luckily my Mom, who is a definite Angel on my shoulder, found a God-inspired
Dr. Pensler in Chicago.  He was our fifth and final doctor … and I was now well past the three month time frame in which I was supposed to have had it removed. 

But, I was not about to make a rash choice with such an important decision?

The procedure took a couple of hours…the anesthetic shots in the area surrounding the nose were the worst pain I’ve even felt in my life.  The pain was so bad, I’m surprised I didn’t break the nurse’s hand who held on to mine the whole way through.  Of course, thereafter I didn’t have any pain…but could see them scraping at my nose (I refused to have my eyes covered…even scarier!) and I could feel my blood running down my face as each cut was being made.  I laughed about it nervously at the time to the doctor but then think back to it eerily…

The results?  Dr. Pensler was able to scrape out the cancer as much as possible in the natural groove of the outer nostril.  Yes, there is a scar and yes, that side of my nose is smaller…but compared to what I would have had…OMG!  It is amazing his work!  With makeup you can’t even tell that anything has been done…fabulous!

It took me a few years to acclimate to my “new” look, embracing my beautiful, natural fair skin.  My friends and family will attest to how much I whined!  But now I can finally say that I am comfortable with myself with the beauty and confidence within. 

Sure, from time to time I think about that UV light warming my body.  But it’s an easy choice when I decide not spend those hours in the sun.  And every time I get the urge, I simply remember what it was like to be on that surgical table, wondering how much of my nose was going to be left and what I would look like for the rest of my life. 

Never again!

My advice?  The morale of the story? Please, wear your SPF 50 (as recommended) on new scars for at least a year.  Personally, I have found that (Clarins) has THE BEST spray on sunscreen; it’s clear, odorless, non-greasy … and easy to take with you wherever you go -so you can spray every often!

And what lesson(s) have I learned?

I am ok with who I am, as I am, right now.  And when it comes to competing in fitness, nothing is worth putting my health and body in jeopardy.  I won’t be able to compete for the rest of my life…and I have so many things I yet want to enjoy in life….and you know what?  I get just as dark now for the stage using spray tan applications and Dream Tan.  Fabulous!