Thursday, November 17, 2011
It's a Gary blog day, and, yes, I know I need to create my own blog page. As you can see something is up with my face. It is one of those things, those vices, addictions, habits, escapes! We all have them, we all work on some of them, and others we choice to ignore. I have worked on my vices and addictions over the years. I no longer smoke that random cigarette in a bar. I am a recovering alcoholic and have now stopped drinking for over 16 years. So why can't I have something??
It's funny, if you smoke people will tell you that it is bad and you will get cancer. So many smokers say yes, I know, I will stop someday. Wade's Mom said that many a time and we watched her pass away with lung cancer from smoking.
I am sure we have all been lectured about something we over do. It is so easy to ignore and think that will never happen to me. Well for years I was a sun worshipper. I have olive skin and in my 20's and 30's my idea of sunscreen was a 4 spf and maybe a 6spf if I had been out all day. At the peak of my addiction to alcohol and clubbing I would go to 2 different tanning beds a day. One during my lunch hour and one after work. People would say you are going to get skin cancer, you are too tan! I listened to none of it and loved my golden brown skin. I guess then at 25, 45 seemed a lifetime away.
This past summer I had 4 red spots on my torso seem to get super aggravated. Wade had asked me several times to get them checked, but they had been treated before by the doctor and I thought they would get better. So a book tour later and super busy schedule July ran into November and I noticed they are still there. As a matter a fact these red spots are staring right at me! Finally I made the appointment and went into the dermatologist. I opened up my shirt to reveal my sun spots and before I could even point them out, the doctor said "I am sorry that is cancer". I kept explaining that I now use a spf 30 and I wear a hat and now sit under the umbrella. But she told me again just to really drive it home "It's cancer lets find out what kind." They screened my body with all sorts of lights and gadgets. Then they took Biopsies of each spot and explained that they would have the results in a week. Now the doctor wanted to look at my face! I thought well that is fine I know. I moisturize and always wear a hat when I go to the beach. As she scanned my face with a bright light like I was a piece of paper on a copying machine, I started to panic. What if there is more, what if they have to cut on my face. After a lengthy exam, the doctor explained that I had severe skin damage, likely from my earlier years and wanted to be sure that the irregular cells didn't get the chance to turn into skin cancer. She prescribed Carac Chemo Cream and I have to use it every day for one month. I was shocked but also ok with that because I knew it would prevent any future damage. I was told that the cream only targets irregular cells and they would turn red, crusty and peel or fade away. What I didn't expect was that on Day 8 of using the cream that over 40 percent of my face has sun damage.That was such a shock! Also, on day 8, I received a call from the doctor letting me know that the 4 spots that she took the biopsy from were superficial Basal Cell Cancer. The good news was if you are going to get skin cancer that is the easiest and quickest to treat. The other good news is that it was superficial and I do not have to have anything removed. I am able to use the chemo cream for 6 weeks and they will be gone!
I have searched on the web about skin cancer and also about Carac Cream. Many people said they didn't leave the house or explained to people they had a chemical peel. I am so, not that guy. I truly think that we are as sick as our secrets. I am always proud to talk about my alcohol addiction and recovery, because it is a part of me. I wanted to share what is going on with me today, because I am the lucky one. I am the one who is fixable.
I look back and think about Wade's Mom and I sure when people talked to her about smoking, she ignored the facts and swept it under the carpet. It was her vice, her addiction. I know she was shocked that it caught up with her.
I wanted to share my picture, to show that my years of sun abuse caught up with me. Mine is so visible it is on the outside there for all to see. So please use suncreen so you don't have to go down this road. I would hope that if someone showed me a picture of a 40 year old with a peeling face from past sun damage that I would maybe stop and think.
I also hope you stop and think about your vice, your addiction and think about what it is doing to you on the inside. Things you can't see, things you can ignore. I hope you all think about letting go and being the healthiest you, you can be. This had really got me thinking about the rest of my vices. I have one more to conquer and that is diet soda. We no longer have any in the house. Day 1 step 1 toward a healthier life.
So take time to center, stay center and stay away from our unhealthy crutches. I hope your glass always stays half full! When we notice that it is half empty, that is when we try to escape and look for our vice. Take time for yourself and think of those around you who love and need you! It is never too late to stop and change a bad habit, so make today the day.
I am now entering week 3 with the Carac Chemo Cream and it is supposed to be the worst. After that I will be in the home stretch! So for the next few weeks, I will be out at events with Wade as the poster child for sunscreen. The doctor has promised that my face will be smooth and pretty again! So until them I will just shine as much as I can from the inside!!