Carpe Diem, Mes Amie.
“Carpe Diem, Mes Amie”
Sheesh, the words on the print out read “removal of a malignant lesion.” That even sounded scary to me and I wasn’t all that worried about it.
As one of your fair skinned Irish types, I go in every year for a dermatological examination to see what ravages the sun has wrought in the last twelve months. Anyone who has ever been to Ireland understands why the Irish don’t belong in the sun. It rains there most days of the year and is cloudy the rest of the time. I guess maybe that is why those intrepid souls who came before me decided to settle in Buffalo, N.Y. on the shores of Lake Erie. The sun shines here reluctantly and clouds drift overhead most days. So, many of us are not genetically suitable to lie in the sun. It is something about a lack of melatonin in the skin. Anyone with an African-American or Mediterranean heritage should bless their ancestors for giving them the more defensible skin colorations, deeply rich in melatonin.
In any case, I had gotten dingers last September on the day before we were scheduled to return to Florida for our eight-month stay. Four of the lesion biopsies had registered as positive for basal cell carcinoma. It didn’t worry me too much at the time. I have been through the drill several times before with the Dermatologist. The good doctor had used a frozen nitrous oxide to burn off the surface level lesions on me a dozen or so times before.
I had also used repeated applications of a topical chemotherapy called chlororophyl, to burn off another two dozen lesions. The process was getting routine for me. These occurred, in spite of my wearing and outsized cowboy hat while playing golf in Florida and frequent applications of a thirty level balm of sun screen.
In any case, I reported to the Doctor the following June expecting a few more blasts of the nitrous oxide and then off into the gloom of another rainy day in Buffalo.
“Not so fast, “ said the Doctor. “This particular lesion is deep enough that we have to excise it with all of the surrounding tissue. The other three spots can wait three months until we see how deep they are. “
“Okay, “ I replied. “In for a penny, in for a pound. “
I only wish my fair skinned forbearers had migrated to sunnier climes a few hundred years before.
The actual operation was relatively painless. A topical anesthetic deadened the area to be cut away and surrounding tissue. The good doctor was off and running. She finished the operation, stitched up the wound and displayed a rare bout of humor by saying that
“ your days as a model would continues because she had placed most of the stitches subcutaneously. “
She wasn’t Irish in heritage, but she might well have been. I laughed at her dark humor, thanked her and was sent on my way. The stitches would come out in a few weeks and I would be good to go until the three-month inspection in September.
Driving back to the castle, I had to wonder then about all of the fair skinned types who, like me a few years ago, had never seen the inside of a dermatologist’s office. The Lord only knows what they carry around with them after a lifetime of sun exposure, even to the pale rays of Buffalo’s cloudy clime.
Occurrences of skin cancer in the United States is becoming a rising tide that needs addressing. Pale faces need monitoring. I noticed this at the doctor’s office. There were a parade of blonde, red headed and very light skinned patients who walked in and out of the office. Maybe we have to start a new trend here. We could have night oriented resorts for the light skinned to enjoy and bask in the cool glow of a full moon. I noticed the other day on a news report that there are about three hundred people in the United States who can tolerate no sunshine at all. They come out at night to enjoy the out of doors. Hmm, I wonder if any of these people have Transylvanian roots?
So, another day passes in the life of someone “over thirty nine.” I hope there are many more to come. And the phrase “carpe diem” takes on more meaning for me every day.
Joseph Xavier Martin