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Do you wear sunscreen?

I stare at the skin on my arms as I wash the dishes. I stare at my skin when I look in the mirror in the morning to see if I am still here. Are the dark spots on my skin changing?  Is the mole Asymmetrical? Is the Border irregular? Has the mole changed Color? Is  the Diameter of the mole larger than the erasure on the end of my pencil?. Is the mole Evolving?

Yesterday I asked a woman,”Do you wear sunscreen?”

“Sometimes,” she replied.

Her skin was  pale and white, dotted with several small, light brown moles. I showed her the purple slash on the back of my leg where I had a malignant mole cut off earlier this year.

“Women usually get melanoma on the backs of their lower leg. Men on their backs.” I said.

She pointed to a dark spot on the back of her left calf. ” What do you think about this mole on the back of my leg?” she asked.

I knelt on the ground and took off my glasses to get a closer look at the mole that was just above her ankle. It looked like an ugly duckling. It was  darker than the rest of her moles, the borders were uneven, and it was larger than the width of a pencil erasure.

” I think you should get that looked at.” I said.

The American Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you look at your skin once a month for the ABCDE’s of Melanoma. When you look at your skin, look for any new growth, or any changes to existing moles.

Have you looked at your skin lately?

I was just going to end at the above sentence. Writing a story with the cute little question at the end to get you to think or to change your behaviour. I was just going to ask you if you have looked at your skin lately. But I really want to know if you brushed your teeth before you went to bed tonight. And I want to know when was the last time you went for a walk. I want to know what book you are reading. I want to know if you have gone for your yearly physical exam at the doctor.

“Hey,” you say. “Those are personal questions, I am not telling you anything. ”

I don’t mind. You don’t have to answer my questions.

I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. I went for a walk this morning. I am reading a book on the Second World War, and I have an appointment with my family doctor the end of September. I looked at my skin last week, and this afternoon I had two ugly duckling moles cut off my right arm at the dermatologists.

I wear sunscreen.


 I am part of the Weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge. You can read other people’s stories by clicking on the Slice Of Life button.






About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • I am glad you kept writing past the question. You have modeled the prickly way we sometimes need to be to provide the best care for others.

  • I wear sunscreen every day all year around – now. Sadly, I did not for the many years my pale, freckled self sat in the sun as a life guard slathered in baby lotion! I’ve paid the price too. Thank you for the reminder to everyone that skin cancer CAN be prevented.

    • pamelahodges

      Oh, you are smart. I forget to wear sunscreen in the winter. Great idea to wear it every day.

  • Thank you for the heartfelt advice. Boldness and personal probing are allowed here. The scar on your leg shows the urgency of the message. Glad the ugly ducklings are gone from your arm. Hope healing is swift.

    • pamelahodges

      You are welcome. I see so many people walking around unprotected from the harsh sun. I hope that my experience will help someone else have more days in the shade.

  • Great post, and advice, Pamela. I do check regularly & have an annual check with my dermatologist. It is always risky & they say it is moreso here in Colorado where I live. Thank you for this. I hope those who read it pay attention. And, I brush often!

    • pamelahodges

      That is great that you check regularly. I pray that all your moles stay healthy.

  • Jone

    Great post Pamela. I have a 3-4 inch scar on my upper left arm due to an insitu melanoma found by my husband in 1992. I wear sunscreen and try to stay out of the sun. I do show and tell with those who like to use tanning beds. I grew up on SoCal in the 60’s with baby oil so the dr said I did the damage then. I wear sunscreen. Brushed my teeth this AM and am starting The Untelling by Tayari Jones

    • pamelahodges

      Dear Tayari,
      I am so happy your husband noticed the melanoma in 1992 and that it was insitu. I like to do show and tell with people who use tanning beds as well. I think I did my damage on the beach in the 80″s when I was on the beach with no sunscreen for a day. I had second degree burns. I haven’t brushed my teeth yet today, and I am reading “The Biggest Brother” by Larry Alexander.