Friday, November 18, 2005

A trip to the doctor for the skin checkup

Elizabeth Taylor
Originally uploaded by Brite Lights photos.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It had been two years since the last time I wandered into my dermatologist's office for a lookover. The last time he sent me home because, he said, I was too tan.


That was not a problem today, as the tan of summer has long since disappeared, even in the mild weather of fall. No tank tops these days. I'm happy if I get to wear a t-shirt instead of a sweatshirt.

The always affable doctor brought in his magic canister to freeze the pre-cancers, but said this time, for my face, he was prescribing a cream that does pretty much the same thing - including turning your face a beet red for maybe a month.

Ah, the price of beauty!

The best news though, was that everything he saw was pretty run-of-the-mill, 57-year-old pre-cancer stuff. Nothing even remotely malignant.

This came as particularly good news because just yesterday I found out that a colleague at the university was going out on sick leave to have a prostate cancer operation. Sure, they are different cancers but kee-rist, he's the same age as I am.

Today's experience was quite different from two years ago, when a gaggle of medical students - most of them female - came in to observe and do some of the diagnosis and treatment. For that exam, a young woman doctor handed me a gown and told me to shed all my clothes - even my underwear.

When I protested dropping trou, she asked me if I ever sunbathed (or went swimming) in the nude.

I had to tell the truth. I was raised Catholic, after all.

So I got to be poked and prodded by several students, sans any attire. Thank God they didn't find any pre-cancers in any sensitive areas and try to zap them with the liquid nitro or whatever they use.

Ouch, that would hurt.

Today the doc did find three spots on my back that he decided to hit with the freeze bottle, only instead of just touching the trigger, he opened it up like he was trying to put out a grease fire at Greek restaurant. The three areas blistered up the size of silver dollars and still are a little sensitive.

So what is Elizabeth Taylor doing with this blog?

You guessed it, she's had numerous treatments for skin cancer, paying the price for those years as a youngster (as in the photo) when she was a beach goddess.

Not much concern about sun for the next few months in San Francisco Bay. But by June, it will be time to sail up into the Delta where the temperatures are great, the water warm enough to swim in and Elizabeth Taylor wannabees most often are windsurfing.

Summer 2006. Come on down!

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