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Everyone should use sunscreen on all exposed skin and a hat for the skin under your hair. Trust me; you’ll regret it if you don’t. I spent my youth laying in the sun, getting blistering sunburns on multiple occasions. I even went skiing on a sunny day with my face bare in the sun and snow reflections. My eyes were swollen shut for two days after doing that, not to mention the blisters and peeling. Stupid me.

I don’t remember sunscreen being around when I was young. I did all the things dermatologists tell you not to do now and got at least one blistering sunburn each year. Too soon old, too late smart, as my mother-in-law used to say. Now that I’m older and wiser, I visit the dermatologist at least once a year and go more often if something changes on my skin. As I aged, I’ve had “bad spots” frozen and dug out. Dumb decisions earlier in life can come back and haunt you when you’re old. My skin is proof of that.

They say if you’re going to get skin cancer, the best to get is basal cell because it’s easy to treat. I had one taken off on my head in my hair this past week. I’m glad to be rid of it but having stitches for three weeks makes it hard to comb my hair. I went to my hairdresser and cautioned her about that spot being very sore. She got to talking and not paying attention and drug a brush over that spot several times. I would yell, “Ow!” and she’d apologize. No blood was shed, but it wasn’t a fun visit. My hair looks nice though.

I’ll be on a trip with my siblings when it’s time for the stitches to come out. The surgeon sent a stitch removal kit with me so I could do it myself. I asked my sister if she’d take them out for me. She asked me if I trusted her. That immediately make me wonder whether I should or not. Hummmm. I trust her more than my brothers doing it. I’ve seen them handle calves, and it wasn’t gentle.

October is also a special screening time for mammograms. It helps catch breast cancer early in your moms, sisters, and daughters. It can also occur in men, but it’s rare. Breast cancer runs in my family so I’m adamant about having a mammogram every year. I’ve lost family and acquaintances to the disease, and I am still sad about that. Caught early, it’s treatable and curable so it’s best to stay on top of things, as they say.

My cousin lost her life to it because she waited too long. She had a lump for months but said they couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, so she never had it checked out. All the family members would have pitched in money to help them, not to mention friends. There are all kinds of programs that will support women with breast cancer and their treatments. It breaks my heart she didn’t access one of those and get treated early. She left behind two young girls who needed their mother.

So, get those screenings done. And use sunscreen. You’ll be glad you did when you’re as old as I am.

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