OK – Mom, Dad, I forgive you for making me go to the beach every summer and stand out in the hot Florida sun and get fried, year after year after miserable year. The baby oil didn’t help either, but that was before they had sunscreen, so it’s kinda no fault of yours. Kids are supposed to be blood red at the end of the day, right? Add insult to injury with the Noxema that you put on my burnt and blistering body when we got home. It has menthalyptus or something evil that cools and burns simultaneously. I hated summer and I hated the beach.

Today I am dealing with the consequences of repeated sunburns.

My biannual trip to the dermatologist’s office today was not the joyful experience I was hoping for. For 11 years I’ve been going to Dr Hedrick to have my entire body scanned for abnormal moles that my body seems to harvest. My initial visit resulted in a big incision with stitches and an expedited appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. I had a nasty melanoma tumor on my back that was just a millimeter or so too big, so it demanded cancer surgery. Thank God Almighty that I didn’t have any spreading of the melanoma and I didn’t have radiation or chemotherapy. They poked and probed my lymph glands under my armpit, but the biopsy there was clean as a whistle. The scar in my armpit is freakishly tender 11 years later, but it looks cool and it goes well with my other scars and their fabricated tales of adventure and heroism…

Since that faithful day in the Summer of 2001, I’ve had every single suspicious looking wanna-be precancerous mole on my body removed surgically. That means a tiny little poke of a needle, instant numbness and a quick slice and a bandaid. Sometimes I get a few stitches, and that’s a weird phenomenon, and it sounds disgusting, but it’s painless. Really.  I joke with the nurses that it’s my weight loss plan.  Every single time I’ve been there I’ve told a new nurse that I used to weigh 450 pounds before I met Dr Hedrick. They always gasp in disbelief (I’m 6’4″ and 180 pounds during my heavy months –  Thanksgiving/Christmas).

Today I was expecting this same procedure, but wowzee, I wasn’t prepared for what happened! I had one mole cut off of my shoulder and a second mole frozen off with liquid nitrogen on a Q-Tip!! It felt like someone putting a cigar out on my shoulder!! Was Dr Hedrick was mad at me for something? Reluctantly, I told him that I had this teeny tiny little spot about a half inch from the corner of my tear duct where my eyeglasses sit. I told him it feels like an eensy weensy scab that has been there for a couple of months. He couldn’t even see it because it was so small. After a closer examination he said, “Yeah, that’s pre cancerous” and he grabbed the frozen Q-Tip and drove it into my eye like he hated me! I watched his teeth clench and his smile curled upward.

All joking aside, God bless you Dr Hedrick. You always seem to find the bad stuff before it’s really bad.