Monday, March 10, 2014

my husband has skin cancer

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About six months ago - maybe longer - Shawn had a small spot between his ear and sideburn that would not heal. It would be shiny pink one day, bleeding the next and scabbed over the next. At first I thought he cut himself, then we thought maybe it was a bug bite. But it wouldn't go away. It wasn't growing but it wasn't healing either. I asked him to have it looked at, which he agreed to do. He ended up going to the doctor because he was sick and while there, asked the doctor about it. The doctor referred him to a dermatologist. It was several more months before he actually made the appointment with the dermatologist. So with some more pestering from me, he finally went a few weeks ago.

The dermatologist removed the spot during his visit to have it tested. He told Shawn that if he got a letter in the mail, no worries. But if he got a phone call, that it wasn't good news. Of course, he got a phone call about a week later.

The spot came back positive for basal cell carcinoma. The most frequently occurring form of skin cancer. It appears as open sores, shiny bumps, red patches, scars or pink growths on the outermost layer of the skin.

Because Shawn is a fair-skinned, redhead that is covered in freckles, we always knew he may be at a greater risk for skin cancer. I have to say, he does a pretty good job of applying sunscreen when out in the sun. But I have been told that often the damage is done when you're a child. It's kind of ironic too that the spot is on his left side - the side that is in the sun when he drives. But who thinks to put on sunscreen when simply driving on a sunny day?

The good news about basal cell carcinoma is that it almost never spreads. In a couple weeks, Shawn has an appointment to remove more of the tumor - the dermatologist will cut deeper and wider around the area. He will test the skin and make sure he's removed it all. It will be a two-day procedure with only a local anesthetic.

Shawn should be just fine. After the procedure, Shawn will go back every three to six months for check ups. He will also have a full-body scan to check for other areas. Which is good because there is a spot on his shoulder I've been asking him to have checked for a while now.

I'm not writing this post to make you feel bad for Shawn or me. I wanted to simply use this experience as an opportunity to raise awareness and encourage you be familiar with your body, so that you know if any abnormal spots, moles, freckles, bumps, etc. pop up. I also want to encourage you to have them checked out immediately. It's better to be safe than sorry.

If there is a good type of skin cancer to get, Shawn got lucky that he got basal cell carcinoma because it's common and easily treatable with a simple procedure to remove the infected area {in his case}. And I'm so glad that I pestered him to have the spot checked out. I'm also glad that now he will be checked by a doctor for other spots that may be abnormal.

Take care of yourselves, my friends.

I wrote this post with permission from Shawn.

29 comments:

Janelle {Undomestic Bliss} said...

Wow! I'm glad Shawn is going to be okay but that's still scary! Thank God he went to get it checked out. Sending lots of prayers your way!

Miss Chelsea said...

I had a spot of some sort of skin cancer (I know, it's terrible that I don't remember, but at the time I was in high school and didn't really 'get it') on my upper back, that they had to remove. 18 stitches later I've got a lovely little reminder to later on the sunscreen!

Sorry ya'll have to deal with this... any kind of cancer is scary as heck, and a reality check for sure. I'm glad it's able to be removed though!

Kayla White said...

So sorry you two are having to deal with this. I'm glad it was caught early though! Prayers for you and the hubby!

Sweet Love and Ginger said...

As a fellow ginger with a family history of skin cancer I have to say that I am pleased to see this post. Unchecked skin cancer can be life threatening, it's important for people to think about, and the more discussion there is the more awareness it is. I also appreciate the simple honest take on it. Thanks so much!

Blogger Ash said...

Sending lots of prayers your way! I hope everything turns out for the best and I'm so glad he is having it taken care of. Stay strong! I'm rooting for you!
I'm also married and a red head with fair skin and this is something I worry about for him all the time.

~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

Whitney Ellen said...

Aghhh, this same thing happened to my mama. I'm happy to report that she is A-OK now, after having it removed, and I've got high hopes that Shawn will be too. Getting old is a real bitch.

Gwen said...

Hoping all goes well! I wish my husband would get checked out - he has so many moles and freckles and he's never had even a baseline skin check.

Melanie said...

My dad had this on his ear; same kind of "symptoms" and same type of cancer. Prayers and hugs!

alyssa said...

Yikes! Cancer of any kind is scary stuff, but great news that everything will be okay! You were smart to insist he get it checked out. I've had serious sun poisoning twice in my life and skin cancer is a serious fear of mine. I think you just lit a fire under me to go and have a dermatologist check out the few peculiar spots I'm preoccupied with. Thanks for writing this post!

Whitney Alison said...

Glad that he got it checked out, and that its not THAT serious. (Although I think all health related things are serious...its my mother's fault.) Its such an important thing to have awareness of though. Its not just the fair skinned freckled folks that need to worry. I constantly hound my browner friends about it too, who have the mistaken idea that it doesn't affect 'us'. (WRONG) Keeping you all in my thoughts!

Jamie Vespa said...

I'm glad that he had it checked out & that they're able to take care of it! I always do my best to remember the sun screen - I used to be terrible about it! Hopefully more people become aware & protect themselves!

Audra said...

I didn't realize - poor Shawn! And poor you. I know that must have been scary as hell. I'm glad he's going to be okay, but what a scary reminder to trust your instincts!

Katherine Lacabe said...

Hoping that everything goes smoothly for you both!

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

I'm so sorry to hear that it came back positive... but the good news is like you said this is the form of skin cancer that is highly treatable and doesn't usually spread. It's so important for us all to practice safe sun!

Thoughts and prayers going out to you guys, and keep us updated on how he's doing. I'm sure he'll be a-ok and am so glad you trusted your instincts ;-)

Erin LFF said...

Sorry to hear you guys are dealing with this, but definitely 'glad' it sounds treatable and that everything should be fine. Skin cancer is so scary, and I can't even count the burns I got growing up... ugh!

Ericka said...

So glad that he is going to be ok, but still sending prayers your way! My husband is a fair-skinned red head too, so I worry about this with him sometimes too. Like you said, always better to be safe than sorry, and have thing checked out!

Mary said...

Oh wow, so sorry you guys are going through this. Good thing he got it looked at! Best of luck, keep us posted with his procedure - praying for you!

Kiki said...

So scary to have to go through something like that. I hope all will go well for you guys!

Katie conkell said...

Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. So glad it has been caught and they'll be able to remove it safely. I'm a huge sunscreen advocate, for myself, my daughter and just about anyone I'm around. I probably have the only 6 year old that gets sun-screened before school but it's just too scary for me.

the girl in the red shoes said...

As a redhead too, this hits home big time. Thank you so much for blogging about this and encouraging everyone to wear sunscreen! I'll be praying for you both!

Kayla MKOY said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry for you guys! Any type of cancer is NOT fun, but I'm so happy it sounds like if there was a "better" type to get, he got that...I hope its treatable and you all are healthy for years to come!!

EZsx5 said...

I had this exact cancer with the exact type of symptoms. It was on my forearm and I have a scar that reminds me daily to out sunscreen on. You're right this is the "good" kind of cancer - if there is such a thing... It was in 2008 and I've had no recurrence, though I go yearly or if I think I've found something, which has only been once and it was nothing. I only tell you this because I'm a ginger too with fair skin and freckles. I hope that it makes you feel a little better that this shouldn't affect him too much and life as he knows it will be back to normal before you know it. The only thing that I have had a hard time with is increasing my life insurance and having to mark down cancer on all my medical forms. BUT at the end of the day I'm here and alive and I can be buried with wthe amount of my life insurance policy ;)

Kristen said...

Oh goodness! He is lucky! I am a firm believer in seeing your dermatologist regularly! Thanks for posting, everyone needs to be reminded! :)

Kristyn @ Carolina Fireflies said...

I'm glad you insisted he go! Guys can be so stubborn about going! I'm also glad they caught it in time! I've had quite a few things biopsied but have all been pre-cancer so far! Hope he stays cancer free from now on!

Heather (My Little HEA) said...

I'm glad he's going to be okay and this morning I scheduled my Skin Check appt. along with my stupid adult acne for tomorrow. First one I've had, so I'm praying for good results. Thanks for posting this.

Because of Jackie said...

I think the biggest point of this post is (like you mentioned) to raise awareness of skin cancer and to stay out of the sun and trust your instincts with weird spots we find. Thank goodness he got the "good" kind of skin cancer and caught it early. What a scary time for you, I'm so happy he is okay!

Janna Renee said...

It is SO amazing that you pestered him and made him go to the doctor. Thank goodness it's not life threatening, but I wish you all the best and safe health anyways!! {{HUGS}}

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