I know my way around a dermatology office…  With two melanomas and fifty basal cell carcinomas removed from my body, I feel like I should be able to hang a shingle over my gym door and offer skin cancer checks on the side.

I have to admit that I am very aware of any exposed skin on my clients, and if I notice anything odd or different, I start in with a litany of questions.  “What’s that on your leg?  Have you noticed it before?  How long has it been there?  Do you mind if I take a closer look?”  And more than once, a client has left our session with orders from Dr. Deb to see a dermatologist.

Hoping my readers can learn from my tanning mistakes, and become diligent about checking themselves for any unusual moles or changes to their skin, I periodically write about my experiences with skin cancer.

I’ve pulled all of my skin cancer posts into one tidy little spot just for you.  Please click on any of the blue links below if you would like to read the entire post…..

 

Tips For Running Safely In The Sun
As a long-distance runner, I’ve spent countless hours in the sun both during training runs and races.  Over the years I have made changes in my training to take care of my skin.  One of the biggest changes has been in running earlier.  Fortunately, I’m an early riser and enjoy bringing up the sun while on the running trail.

TipsForRunningSafelyInTheSunPoster
 

My Promise To My Dermatologist
Twice a year I visit my dermatologist… Well actually it’s usually four times a year because I almost always have to go back and get a basal cell removed after my doctor calls with my biopsy results. You see, I’ve had one melanoma and 43 basal cell carcinomas removed in the last 15 years.

DrHaSurgeryTray
 

This May, Please Learn From My Mistakes
Play it smart in the sun, but if you were like me and didn’t; get naked, look at your skin, and become familiar with every little freckle, mole, and mosquito bite! And then look at it again, and again, every month, and note any changes to report to your dermatologist at your next full-body exam.

 

 

Confessions Of A Tanning Goddess
It all started when I was about sixteen years old…  I wanted a beautiful golden tan instead of my pasty white skin.  I decided to take care of the problem one Sunday afternoon when I put on my bikini, grabbed a beach towel, a kitchen timer, and headed out into our back yard for a boring hour on my back.  One hour the first time out should be about right…

MuscleDebOnBeach
 

What To Expect At Your Full Body Check:  A Visit With Dr. Ha
Twice a year I see my dermatologist, Dr. Ha, for a full body skin and lymph check.  I’ve been seeing him since about 2000 after my mom suggested I have a dermatologist look at a flaky place over my lip.  It was pre-cancerous and he froze it off, but in the process of the examination Dr. Ha found a decent sized basal cell carcinoma on my back.  It was the first of many, and started my on-going relationship with my new doctor.

DrHaBiopsy
 

Connecting The Dots
Just for the heck of it, I put little red dots on this body map to represent where I’ve had some of my basal cell carcinomas and my melanoma removed.  In connecting the dots of how skin cancer happens, the sun damages the skin and causes the cells of the epidermis to mutate, divide, and multiply rapidly.  Those mutated cells can form several different types of tumors, or skin cancers.

SkinCancerPoster
 

That Odd Looking Spot Sure Doesn’t Look Like Melanoma
A flat brown spot showed up on my leg about ten years ago and I dismissed it as an early age spot.  The next time I saw my dermatologist, Dr. Ha, I had him take a look at it.  It seemed benign and he wasn’t concerned at the time.  It was light brown, flat, and appeared to only be a pigmentation change in my skin.

ShoesBeforeBoston(Melanoma)
MelanomaScar
 

Listening To My Gut Instinct Paid Off… Again
Listening to my gut instinct paid off and got me in to see my doctor a month earlier than scheduled. For the second time, I noticed suspicious changes in a place on my skin that prompted me to see my dermatologist between appointments; and in both cases, catch a melanoma in its early stages.

 

Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me / Dear Future Me
Dear 16-year-old me… Lying out in the sun for an hour your first time out was stupid. You’re a fair skinned girl and won’t get a golden tan. What you will end up getting are three-inch diameter blisters everywhere your tiny bikini doesn’t cover; and you’ll be planting the seeds for future melanomas.

 

Seven Sun-Safe Habits Every Runner Should Practice
Runners must practice sun-safe habits on a regular basis, something I wish I’d done when I was younger. It took me a while, but these practices have finally become second nature to me. Please make them second nature to you!

 

2014 TKO Melanoma 5K Race Recap
Running this morning’s TKO Melanoma 5K with my MRTT friends was a ton of fun!  Running this race yearly and spreading the word about melanoma is very important to me since I found a melanoma on my leg in it’s earliest stage just over three years ago.

TKOMelanoma5KCourageBraceletShirt
 

2013 TKO Melanoma 5K Race Recap
This morning two of my Cruiser friends and I ran in the TKO Melanoma 5K.  This race was in memory of Theresa Kay O’Conner, a loving wife and mom who lost her battle with melanoma last fall.  This race was very near and dear to me as a melanoma survivor, and also because I lost my sweet uncle to this deadly cancer.

TKOMelanoma5KTable