If you follow me on social media you know by now that I’m on day 14 of “chemo cream”. It’s a journey I’ve taken you along with and it’s taught me so much in a short couple of weeks.
Firstly, I had no idea how contingent my relationship was with some followers. I learned that if I get serious for even a second they get piiiiiiiissed. It’s a “I don’t want to hear about your life, clown. Get back to work making me laugh” kinda vibe. It’s cool though. Don’t let the door hit ya.
Second, I learned how ride or die others are. People I’ve never even met in real life messaging to share their personal stories and check in on me. It’s really a beautiful thing.
I also learned a valuable lesson about the importance of sharing both the good times (all filtered with stars and rainbows) and the bad times. I learned that I, an unemployed radio host turned stay at home mom can make a difference. That ANYONE can make a difference. I’ve received messages from all over the globe from people telling me watching my experience play out has given them the kick in the ass they needed to make (and keep) that dermatologist appointment. People have been sending me photos of their skin issues and asking my opinion. Don’t worry, my opinion is ALWAYS “show it to your derm”. People have asked for sunscreen recommendations and told me about relatives they lost, limbs that had to be amputated, I convinced a scared pregnant soon-to-be mom to finally seek professional help after 3 years of self diagnosing. This isn’t me bragging. This is me saying that if you’re on the fence about sharing a personal issue, I get it. Trust me. I come from a VERY private family who is less than thrilled about my constant oversharing. But your story could be what saves a life. Tell it. I type that with a caveat. Tell it if it’s YOUR story that is specific to you. Your children and family and friends can tell their own if/when the time comes and they feel inspired.
Last, DO NOT put off treatment for a medical issue out of fear of what your kids, your family or the public will think. Prior to beginning this treatment I did my research. I knew what the outcome could look like. I didn’t show my husband or my son the “after” pics that I found online in advance. I told them the treated areas would get red and that it wouldn’t be pretty and they shrugged it off. My husband has nursed me back to health after surgeries and literally removed tubes from my body. He loves horror movies. He doesn’t get stuck in a moment. He’s fine. I worried about my son. With virtual school would I embarrass him if his friends saw me on camera? How upset is he going to be that I can’t go outside and play catch or go for long walks with him for weeks on end? Will he embrace the idea of “stepping up and helping out more” with our new puppy since he’ll have to take her out for during daylight hours or will be bitch and moan through it all?
I’m pleased to say there’s been minimal bitching. ALL of it has been related to not wanting to put his iPad down and walk the dog… but regarding my actual face: NOTHING but acceptance. Once the redness and erosion really started to kick in I asked him if I was hard to look at. He straight faced said “mommy, I honestly hadn’t noticed”. Last night he cracked a joke comparing my face to the chicken wings we were eating that was actually HILARIOUS, but that’s it.
If you take anything away from what you just read I hope it’s that the time to take care of yourself is NOW. Please stop making excuses, pushing off appointments, waiting for the moment that you’re in “direct” or “hot” sun to apply sunscreen. Add sunscreen to your daily routine the way you apply lotion. Every morning for you AND your kids. Help them develop the habit now.
I heard from a man in Hawaii who said he petitioned his child’s school to make sunscreen mandatory for children… To teach them to apply it routinely the same way he watched his kids learn proper tooth brushing technique in school. They laughed at him.
I understand I’m stuck in a moment as I’m going through this treatment and my sense of urgency to bathe in SPF is heightened, but why not strike while the iron’s hot? Why not make these changes now?
What are your thoughts on the subject and how do you care for your skin on a regular basis?
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