(Another) post on skin checks!

Today…
…I’m doing (another) post on skin checks.
One of my missions in life is to discourage sun bathing and tanning beds and to encourage skin checks.
I had my first yucky pre-cancerous spot removed when I was 21 and have been getting them removed ever since.  This past October, I had three spots removed from my back and one of them was so deep that I had to keep stitches in for 5 weeks.  Boo.  And then in April, I had a spot removed from my stomach.  What? What?  They just keep popping up at a faster pace, so now, I’m going in for checks even more.
All summer long, I’ve had a nice piece of medical tape in two places on my back to prevent sun from getting to my scars.  Nothing is more fun than having your six year old apply tape to your back before you swim every day.  #yeahright  
So, I say all of this because over the weekend, I was clearing photos off my phone and I found these pics from last fall…

Taken with stitches in.

Taken right after I got my stitches removed at the beginning of November.
Yeah…so shame on 18 year old me (well, 18 thru 22 year old me) for spending so much time in the tanning beds.  
Get your skin checks friends.  And if you’re lying in tanning beds…consider how long the tan will last verses the scars.  My tans are all faded but these new lovely scars will last forever.
#iwasstupidtotan
Tomorrow is What’s Up Wednesday!
Our bonus question this month is “What will you miss most about summer?”.
Don’t forget to write your post and then link up!  To see mine from last month as an example, click here.
And for dinner tonight…
They’re turkey burgers with Caesar salad toppings on top of Texas Toast (like a big crouton!).  So good!
Have the best day!
xo
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  • Andrew and Kate July 28, 2015 at 10:20 am

    love how you are committed to get people to go get skin checks. I had a melanoma when I was 21 and I have been having skin checks ever since. I just had a mole removed and it was a basal cell. I just had it removed and still have 10 stitches in. What is your favorite sunscreen you use?

    • Toni Lucas July 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Hi! I am also a melanoma survivor and I highly recommend Elta MD sunscreen. It is prescription grade and is available at most medical spas. It contains zinc oxide which is really makes all the difference is sun protection. I also recommend rashguards at the pool- having that extra layer of spf is so helpful!

    • Lara Bice July 28, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      I also had melanoma and I second that zinc oxide is the best for protection 🙂

    • dee July 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      I am a melanoma survivor of 30 years. I was 24 at the time of my detection. Skin checks are an annual tradition for my whole family. My daughter fought me when she was a teenager on not allowing her in a tanning bed, but she is thankful now that I stuck to my guns.

  • polymath July 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for the reminder Mama. I'm olive skin but my two girls are fair skinned. I always tell them to refrain from sun bathing and not to use tanning beds.

  • shea July 28, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for this! Im in college now, and ALL of my friends go to tanning beds. It is tempting, but I love posts like this that keep things in perspective. When did you start getting skin checks?

  • Christi July 28, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I couldn't agree more! As a melanoma survivor I also make sure to spread the word, show my 8 inch scar, and encourage people to get skin checks!

  • Kristen Thompson July 28, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Hi Shay! Thank you so much for taking about your skin checks! I was diagnosed at 19 with skin cancer. I had to have several surgeries to make sure it was completely removed (thankfully no other treatment was necessary). I am very thankful that I have been going to the dermatologist since I was 12 (and have had biopsies just about every 6 months ever since) and they urged me not to tan-or my cancer diagnosis could have been a lot worse! Thank you for talking about the importance of skin checks-they can be life-saving!

  • Erika Slaughter July 28, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I just scheduled mine yesterday!!! Thanks for the reminder!

  • thebusybrunette July 28, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Wow — thank you so much for this important reminder, Shay. I love the look of a tan but the sun can be so, so dangerous. I have definitely turned to self-tanner as a substitute! It can be a pain at times, but it's better than the other option, right?
    Thank you for your honesty about this issue. Sometimes we need to know the worst of it to really understand the seriousness and the consequences.
    BB
    http://thebusybrunette.blogspot.com

  • Sarah July 28, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience and putting the reality out there! I'm 33 and also spent too much time in tanning beds from about 19-22. I get annual checks from the derm, but I still worry! My daughters and 3 and 5, and I hope to keep them in rash guard bathing suits as long as possible! I hope you don't have any more suspicious spots crop up!

  • Narci July 28, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I think it's been a year since my last check! I'm making an appointment today! Love that you do these posts! ❤️

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} July 28, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Such a good PSA! Gonna schedule one for me as well! Thanks!

  • Amanda July 28, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for showing your scars and talking about this important topic! Might sound silly, but it is nice to see I'm not the only one with these type of scars on their body. Mole removal + fair skin sometimes leaves some creative markings. I actually just scheduled an appointment to have a suspicious mole removed from my leg. Keep up the good work sharing this important message!

  • Beautifully Seaside // Formerly Chic Coastal Living July 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Great reminder! I'm going to make the appointments today.

  • Beesmama July 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

    I also used tanning beds when I was a teen:( Two years ago I had a mole removed from my leg and it turned out to be cancerous. 17 stitches and a scar that is still not fading…now I wear SPF 100 anytime I walk out the door! So important! Great post!

  • Kelcie_Hansberry July 28, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I will schedule one today! I was just talking about this with my parents. Now my dad and I are making it a date with dinner included 🙂 there needs to be a little fun in this right?

  • Jessica Still July 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    It's so important to share, thank you! But it's not just tanning beds, it's laying out too. Sunscreen and hats are necessary. I've had basal cell 3 times and I'm 33, once from my face. Nothing like having your forehead cut open (Mohs surgery) To motivate you to cover up!

  • Mama Of Boys July 28, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Eeshk, that's scary, thank you for bravely sharing and reminding people what they are gambling with. Fake tan all the way!!

  • Emily Cornell July 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Preach on! I only went to a tanning bed once but I got many severe sunburns in junior high & high school trying to achieve the perfect tan. I had a mole removed that popped up when I was pregnant and it was melanoma. No fun! It's also so important to keep sunscreen on our kiddos to reduce their risk of skin cancer in the future.

  • Kim A July 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I'm a fair skinned redhead and never ever tanned. But I've gotten a fair amount of burns just living every day life. I had my first precancerous spot removed at 38 with my 6 month old son sitting in his carrier right next to me. Gave me a good scare! I haven't had another spot yet, and am praying if more come, they are spread out over many years. It is a scary thing when I think of my kids.

  • Erica Pollak July 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I am having my first Basil Cell spot removed on 8/19. I have never been an avid sun bed user but I sure have been a sunbather all of my 52 years. The damage was most likely done in my teens when we used baby oil and iodine and sun reflectors to boost our tans. I use a high number sunscreen now, but it's probably too late. I pray my removal isn't a deep one. Ladies, get your skin checked yearly at minimum. I've been getting checks for the past 5 years and this is the first time it's come up bad for me. I'm 52 so the scar won't bother me but it's a lesson to all……..wear your sunscreen and get checks !

  • Ashley Weeks July 28, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I have the same bandage over my stitches right now. I have 3 girls under 4 & I've spent the summer outside with them….really hating my decision to put sunscreen on them but think I was too busy to apply it on myself.

  • kj7 July 28, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I have a two scars exactly like yours and will be going back in a few weeks for the place on my nose…it's never ending and I'm only 36 years old. Sadly, I'm paying the price also. Ok, please enlighten me…why do you apply tape over the scar? I haven't been told to do this by my dermatologist….could be because he said to AVOID the sun…which is nearly impossible.

  • Caroline @ In Due Time July 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    So glad you are advocating! My husband had two spots of skin cancer removed last fall. While we love the outdoors we are ALL about sunscreen!!!!

    Thankful for frankincense b/c his scars on gone!

  • Ila Pilon July 28, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Made my appointment yesterday! Always trying to advocate to others on proper sun care!!!

  • Kristen Gerdel July 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I keep saying I need to make an appointment and never have…thanks for the reminder!

  • Kelly Heard July 28, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you for your first post on skin checks. It reminded me to get into the dermatologist and I also had a suspicious mole removed. I was shocked because it was one I wasn't even concerned about. Everything came back clear but now even more I'm sun conscious. I have been using Elta MD and love it! Best facial sunscreen I have ever tired.
    Love your blog 🙂

  • Dollie July 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Ever since you recommended doing skin checks the last time I have gone to see her, more than I had hoped. She removed 2 from my toes and one from my shoulder. That's when I decided everytime I go swimming I would wear a rash gaurd shirt. A friend recommended these cute ones from a company called "lands end" they are light and dry fast.
    http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-swim-tee-rash-guard—colorblock-multi-stripe/id_269390

  • Emily July 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I just had my skin check yesterday. I had a basal cell removed last fall and I have had a number of dysplastic moles removed over the years. Preach on!

  • Betsy Switzer July 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    SUCH a good post! My husband was diagnosed with Melanoma in February of 2013 (with a 3 month old baby girl with kidney issues) AND a week after that we found out we were pregnant again. It was such a long, scary and emotional time!

  • Erin C July 28, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    My husband and I were just talking about skin checks this morning! My grandma (who is nearly 80) just had a spot on her nose removed, well it was pretty deep and she had to have 6 stitches on the side of her right nose and had bruising all under eye! This is a great reminder to wear sunscreen and stay covered up!

  • Kristina (Ms.Modify) July 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Wow that's scary! Glad you're okay! Have you been hearing all the hype lately about how sunscreen is dangerous and how so many people say don't use it? That's crazy to me! I lather up every day!

  • Shawnee July 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I have a spot on my left temple I have been putting off having checked. I'm pretty sure it's skin cancer. 🙁

  • Queen In Between July 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    So glad you are advocating and so glad you have a great doctor finding these spots. I started going for checks 2 years ago. I think back to those days in the tanning bed and just can't believe I wanted a darn tan that bad.

  • {Hi Sugarplum!} July 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I have a lovely scar on my neck from a similar removal…thanks for the reminder that it's been TOO LONG since I've had a skin check. Do you have a local person you'd recommned?

  • midwestmom July 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    What did the spot look like before the removal?

  • Jaren July 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I had a little scare too on my arm this spring. Luckily, it came back as nothing. Such an important message to get out there!!

  • Melanie Lien July 28, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This makes me feel even better about my fresh new coat of spray tan I put on last night. I can't deal! I have been getting things removed the past year or so, and sunblock like 3 year old. I'm 26 and hardcore on the preventive gravy train!

  • The Nelson Happenings July 28, 2015 at 10:52 am

    I appreciate you sharing about your mole checks. I've been a chicken and haven't had a mole removed that is huge and ugly and has signs of not being good in any form. I honestly am taking my lunch break today and making an appointment with a dermatologist !!! Again, I thank you for sharing.

  • Kristin McGeeney July 28, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Scheduled mine yesterday! And got hubby to go for a suspicious spot on his head!

  • Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld July 28, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Ugh, so true! I hate that I used to go to the tanning bed back in high school. I LOOOOVE being tan, but it's just not worth the risk later in life! Thanks for the reminder to get my skin checked!

  • Cheryl July 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Bless you shay! Keep up your posts on this. You will get through to many.

  • Chicago Mom (Heather) July 28, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I get them every year and so far nothing suspect but this is my greatest fear. Would you mind showing pics of what your moles looked like?

  • Leigh Clark July 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Appreciate your notice – I have been to the dermatologist off and on for years, but never really had a full skin check. Gotta get on it!

  • Mia Kang July 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I just read this article the other day about some of the major repercussions of tanning.

    http://elitedaily.com/life/melanoma-at-23/1109155/

    Thought I'd share it with you!

    -Mia

  • Kelli @ A Deeper Joy July 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Yes yes yes! I've had 6 removed from my upper body because of the sun that I got in high school and college. I also super discourage being in the sun and getting your skin checked. That reminds me – I need to find a dermatologist now that I've moved.

  • Karen Ward July 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I have an appointment in a couple of week to have a spot on my back looked at as well. I'm 52 and the last time I had a check was 5 years ago. No bueno. I could have been seen sooner but since it's been 5 years, I'm considered a new patient. I'm a little scared but it's got to be done!

  • Mindy July 28, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I highly recommend wearing a Rash Guard shirt while at the pool. They make really cute ones and do an excellent job of protecting your skin. Love to see a post of cute rash guards that you find and love!

  • Sarah July 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I'm a ginger and have to see my derm twice a year. My 3-year old niece asked me the other day "why do you have all those spots on you?". I told her that how God made me 🙂 I've had several moles that have come back "funny" and they were surgically removed…. stitches and all. My Mom and I were at the beach last week and we looked like sundials under the umbrella. I even put on SPF 70 sunblock. I'd rather be pasty-pale than marked with scars.

  • Megan Chilo July 28, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Just went to the derm yesterday to get something removed that has been bothering me and looks suspicious. I also got another one removed a few months ago. You can never be too careful! Thanks so much Shay for your advocacy, such an important thing to share! Love your blog 🙂

  • Christine July 28, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Just a cautionary note – get your eyes checked too! Turns out I have a mole on the back of my eyeball that I have to get checked annually for changes…AND I have a cataract forming about 20 years early – both of which are likely connected to tanning bed UV rays from my young/dumb days. Your eye dr. should have a machine that can take a picture of the back of your eyeball — if not, go to the optometrist at the Shops of Legacy (Eye Pieces) – he's got all the latest diagnostic machines. Good luck!

  • Lindsay Otis July 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    That is so scary and definitely a wake up call. I tanned for about 4 years and I never wear SPF so I hope this will make me start thinking of twice.

    not a mom

  • Summer July 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Just had my first skin check a couple of weeks ago and had 2 spots removed. Thankfully thy were benign this time but due to my time in the sun/tanning beds when I was younger I don't imagine they always will be. I was stupid too!! Such a great reminder for all out there. I have a sorority sister whose husband passed away a couple of months ago from melanoma at the age of 35. He has a wife and two young boys. Sad and scary!

  • coco July 28, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I remember when you first wrote about last fall's removal and debated showing the pictures. But I'm really glad you did. Those pictures are one heck of a wake up call that skin cancer is not pretty and it's nothing to be trifled with. I did my share of laying out in the 80s slathered in baby oil with my semi-fair, freckly skin so I'm sure it's just a matter of time for me. I get checked every year and so far I've been good, but I really don't think that's going to last forever. I will definitely be showing this post to my two beautiful step-daughters… one who loves the sun and one who once told me that tanning beds only had the "safe" rays. 0_o

  • Kelsey Shuman July 28, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I reach out to your blog many times to read up on what you have done after your dermotologist appointments. After many years of being told "keep watching it", my PCM finally referred me out. I have had three moles removed, so far. One has come back as basil carcinoma. The others they have gone in twice and now being referred to a plastic surgeon to go deeper. These moles are coming back severely atypical and very close to the melanoma spectrum of things. From the pathology report they must be removed. Is there any recommendations/cream to reduce scarring from this incisions?

  • Becca in Colorado July 28, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Great post! I know so many people love sunbathing, and it really is awful for your skin. My friend had been tanning since her teens, and she is in her late thirties now, and her skin does not look good at all. I love reading your blog:) You are a blessing to me

  • Cassi Jo July 29, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Thank you for sharing this important information!! I've never been in a tanning bed a day in my life, and I've never been one to "lay out" or tan. I'm a very pale person, and I've been a sunscreen junkie my entire life. My parents used to lather me up in it and lecture me on sun exposure when I was very little. But still, I ended up having my first nasty biopsy done (stitches required) when I was 8. I've been having things removed yearly for 20 years now. Ugh. And last year my dermatologist found 2 on my lower set of cheeks. Never ever ever been outside without that part of my body covered!!!! Dermatologist told me light colored swimsuits do not offer enough protection from the sun, so now I wear sunscreen on my bottom underneath my swimsuit, just for safe measure! Hahaha.

  • The Abram Family July 29, 2015 at 4:17 am

    What kind of tape do you use for your scars? I had a mole removed last month that came back as a dysplastic nevus so I have to go back next week to have it dug out more. I'll have stitches too. It's right on my chest so I don't want it to scar when I get the stitches out!

  • Liz Joiner July 29, 2015 at 5:17 am

    Found you through Familiar Joy

    I just want to say thank you for sharing your story. I used to tan a bit too when I was younger, I haven't since one of my mom's near and dear friends died of skin cancer. Really woke me up, and I've been far more careful than I used to be. Of course I still go out and get tan, but I really need to work on being more safe.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

  • Jackie July 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I was just explaining to my niece the dangers and how I use to lay in the tanning bed for hours. Yes, hours. Insane to think that now. What kind of tape are you using??

  • Kristin Stewart July 30, 2015 at 3:10 am

    YES!!! I have my annual check next Wednesday. A dear friend passed away from her second battle with melanoma this spring and I refuse to not be proactive. I'm a redhead too, dangit.