In case you weren’t sure, there IS a plus side to being a little bit vain.
I am no super model, and as you know from previous posts, I didn’t have the greatest self-esteem for the first 20 + years of my life. But I still like to show off a good picture of myself whenever possible.
And now with the invention of social media and finally having a cell phone with a camera, my tiny vanity issues have been magnified about 1000 times. In other words, I take a lot of pictures of myself. I don’t like most of them, but hey, that’s what’s great about digital pictures- you can take them and take them until you get one you like (and you don’t have to wait for the entire hour of the film to be processed).
It’s amazing what technology has done to us. I mean, we can brag about what we are doing, how we look, what we are eating, how cute our kids or grandkids are, how sexy our partner is, and all the great places we are visiting to all 500 of our “friends” at the same time. Instantly.
As a melanoma warrior, I should be checking my skin at least once a month (most of us do it daily because yes, it becomes an obsession) and if I were super smart, which I am beginning to question, I would be taking lots of pictures of my skin so I can monitor any changes. I have done this quite a bit, but I do have nightmares of losing my phone and someone finding all of my skin pics. The horror! Still, I should be more organized and document the measures of suspicious marks or moles.
A while back, my mom asked me about a mark above my lip. At the time, I was hoping it was a pimple or a blackhead, so I was leaving it alone for it to go away on its own. Of course, once she asked me about it, I went home and picked at. Soon the bump turned into a little freckle. I didn’t think too much about it, because for the first month, I was sure it was just a scar from me picking at it. It seemed to be getting more noticeable, but as I mentioned before , us melanoma warriors can be quite obsessive about marks on our skin. I wasn’t sure if it was actually growing or if I was just noticing it more. I never once measured it until this weekend. It is 4 mm long. I decided I would keep an extra close eye on it until my next derm apt.
Then last night at our family super bowl party, my sister asked me about it.
“It’s getting bigger isn’t it?” I asked.“I think so, because I am noticing it a lot more than I used to. You should go get that checked out. Like now.”
Not words I wanted to hear.
I confessed that I noticed it was getting bigger as well, but it is on my LIP. The very top of my LIP. On the little left camel hump on my LIP. You know what that means..another scar..a very VERY noticeable scar. And let me tell you, from the age of 7 to 17 I was in dance groups where I had to wear red lipstick for every performance. Nothing shows off a tiny top lip like red lipstick! And on top of it, in my younger years, my mom would fuss about how difficult it was to put the lipstick on my teeny tiny upper lip.
So naturally, I don’t want them taking part of my miniscule upper lip off. But even more so, I don’t want to die. But I am not going to lie to you, there is still a small part of me that needed more convincing of whether I should have it checked.
So I went to my phone. Surely, with all my “not-so-glamour” shots I take every few days, I could see if this is really something I should be worried about.
Here is what I found:
Oct 4, 2012 I took this picture while waiting for my son to get out of school. My daughter and I were taking silly pics. I can't even see the mark in this picture.
Feb 3, 2013. I took this one last night. Just of my lip, so naturally, it is clearer and more pronounced than that others. Man, I need some lip gloss!!
Although some of the pics are blurry, I think you can still see from the mouth montage, that this thing has definitely changed in the last 4 months. Remember, change was the the tell tale sign of my first melanoma (and hopefully my last). Ignoring this would be more than stupid. It would be a true case of denial.
I always wanted a sexy beauty mark above my lip. Like they say, be careful what you wish for.
I moved up my regular 3 month exam by my dermatologist from the 26th of this month to Friday. I am nervous, but I need my derm to take this off and send it away to make sure it is JUST a freckle. And regardless of whether I like the way i look after, well, I still need to keep taking pictures of myself and being a little vain.
I suggest you do it, too. It just may save your life.
Thank you for reading. I will keep you posted on the results. Until next time, practice safe