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Skin Cancer Selfies: Multiple Days!

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My skin cancer selfies could be a lot worse.  I know that.  At the same time it could be not at all.  If I hadn’t spent all those years tanning.  If I hadn’t neglected the use of sunscreen.  If I hadn’t… But I did.  Now I’m left with all the repercussions and the fact that there will be more.  Sure that one spot of basal cell carcinoma has been fully removed.  I’ll just heal up and have to live with the scarring.  No big deal.  But it is a big deal.

Unfortunately there will be more spots.  The damage has already been done.  More visits to the dermatologist.  More procedures to fix that which I caused years ago.  More Mohs.  More disfiguring.  More scars.  This is my new normal.

As raw as it is I want to bring awareness to others.  I’m putting myself out there.  I’m sharing the ugly side of tanning.  I’m saying that to be tan is not beautiful.  Being tan will eventually fade and the scars will be forever.  I want the young girls who think they need to tan before Homecoming and Prom to skip the tanning bed.  I want the men and women who play all summer long at the beach to protect their skin.  I want parents to be vigilant about putting sunscreen on their children.  I want society to really think about what they are doing to their skin.

And so to help others I’m going to share daily skin cancer selfies to document just what the healing process looks like.  My type of skin cancer isn’t deadly and I’ll forever be grateful for that fact but my type of skin cancer IS a permanent reminder.  The skin cancer might be gone in that spot but the effect is still there.  It’s still visible and it will be for a long time.

basal cell

After the Mohs surgery.


After the reconstruction surgery.

skin cancer selfie

The bandages are now off and the healing begins.

I decided to come back today with another skin cancer selfie.  I know I said that I would but believe me when I say that it’s hard to do.  I didn’t realize that it would be this difficult.  To not only see what I look like in this moment but to show others at the same time.  My goal is to prevent someone else from making my mistakes.  I thought it was okay to be tan.  I thought it was healthy.  I thought it made me look pretty.  I was wrong.  Skin cancer aside tanning eventually catches up to all of us.  It leads to age spots and wrinkles.  Most importantly it leads to types of skin cancer like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.  These can both be prevented.  So prevent them!

Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 4

Not really much to smile about.  Plus smiling pulls the sutures.

I took this as soon as I woke up.  Before putting on the erythromycin ointment.  The greasy ointment that I must wear under my eye morning, noon, and night.  It’s to ward off infection and to keep the area moist.  Sorry to those who cannot stand that word.  Moist.  There’s no other word to describe it.  Keeping the area moist will assist in the healing and hopefully prevent scarring.

Protect your skin.  Wear sunscreen.  Do not tan.  Get annual skin checks.

I’m feeling yellow on this Day 5 skin care selfie.  Day 5.  I can’t believe I’m already here and yet still not ready to face the world.  Believe me when I say that it’s so much easier to share my new look from behind the computer.  I didn’t go to church today.  Just not ready to brave the crowds without makeup.  Makeup allows a woman to hide.  I’ll use it to eventually cover the scarring but for now I’m not able to wear it until the healing process is finished.  So for now I have no way to hide.

The bruising is starting to take on that yellow hue.  I know that means it’s healing.  It’s the stages that a wound goes through.  Tomorrow will bring a new stage.  For now I’m just feeling yellow.

Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 5

eye selfie

One of my favorite songs

And fitting for my moment of feeling yellow.

I had other moments in life when I felt yellow.  I found myself listening to this song often while I was going through it.  One day I’ll open up and share about those times.  For now I’m getting through this moment.  One step at a time.

Tomorrow will bring the skin care selfie for Day 6.  I’m ready.

Protect your skin.  Wear sunscreen.  Do not tan.  Get annual skin checks.

On this day’s skin cancer selfie I’m still looking a little yellow.  Very similar to Day 5 actually.  So definitely less on the black and blue now.  I’m still feeling a little yellow too.  It was back to work for me and a Monday so that’s kind of a yellow kinda day anyway.  Right?  So here I am just trying to get back into my life and my current new look.

Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 6

day 6

I did leave the house for lunch and met up with some friends.  It did me some good to get out.  This adventure was not without the expected stares or questions.  While I’m thinking that my face looks pretty darn good (THANK YOU, ocular plastic surgeon) I’ve already been met with the conversations following the stares.  This is still all new to me so I feel like I almost owe everyone an explanation.  Like I need to acknowledge that they are staring and explain what exactly they are staring at.  So I converse about it and then get the responses that go like this, “Oh I thought you got in a car accident” or the one where I must look tough,  “It looks like someone clocked you one” or the ever popular, “I was wondering what was going on there”.  Really?  Like I didn’t catch you staring because it wasn’t obvious at all.  No, I didn’t get in a  bar fight.  Car accident?  That’s a good assumption but clearly the rest of me made it out just fine.

Will these convos fade as the days go by?  Will the scar remain and have people still wondering?  Questioning?  Will I get to the point that I don’t acknowledge it or even realize that it has just happened?  Maybe one day my skin cancer selfie will just be a selfie.  Hopefully.  One day.

Protect your skin.  Wear sunscreen.  Do not tan.  Get annual skin checks.

It’s my skin cancer selfie lucky #7 and I’m feeling ever so lucky!  I’ve got some really dandy news to share.  Gals like me need all the dandy news we can get.  Saw the surgeon this morning and he said that I’m really healing up real well.  He was quite pleased with the results thus far especially considering the fact that it has only been since Thursday.  Now that gives me something to smile about.  So does this little guy.

Skin Cancer Selfie: Day 7

Two things from the appointment with my surgeon:

  1. Still no makeup.  I’m sure if you tan then you also like to wear makeup.  Guess what?  That tanning habit will earn you weeks of being sans makeup.  (Gotta protect his work he says.)  So don’t tan and you won’t have to stop wearing makeup.  Simple enough.
  2. Still no gym.  I’m sure if you tan then you also like to workout.  Guess what?  That tanning habit will earn you weeks of being sans gym.  (The gym is a breeding ground for things like MRSA.  Gotta protect his work he says.)  So don’t tan and you won’t have to stop working out.  Simple enough.

This concludes my Day 7 Skin Cancer Selfie.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more news (hopefully of the dandy variety) to share.

Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen. Do not tan. Get annual skin checks.

I know that I sounded so very elated in yesterday’s skin cancer selfie.  I truly was.  The post-op appointment was everything that I could have hoped for.  The surgeon was happy with the it’s healing.  But here I sit back at home and the worries of before start to seep back in.  I’m analyzing the entire appointment.  Was the surgeon happy with the way it looked or did he simply mean that the wound was healing well?  Will there be a scar and how long will it be visible?  Forever?  I suppose that time will just have to tell.

Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 8


It’s clear even in my every day life that the above is always on my mind.

That point in life (that I’ve waited years for) is finally here.  I’m able to share the world of Harry Potter with our 7 year old and I’m relishing every moment.

harry potter

However, this moment is also shadowed by my current situation.  In some ways I now feel a kindred spirit connection to these books.  A connection that wasn’t completely there before.  In my life the ‘You-Know-Who’ is skin cancer.  It has given me the wicked looking, lightening bolt shaped, potentially permanent scar.  My ‘You-Know-Who’ is evil, ravaging, takes no prisoners, and is lying in wait to appear again.  Much like the Dementors this basal cell thing can suck the life right out of you.  Sounds strange I know but those have been my thoughts as I’ve re-entered the wizarding world.  So yes.  This skin cancer thing is always on my mind.

Protect your skin.  Wear sunscreen.  Do not tan.  Get annual skin checks.

On this day of the skin cancer selfie it has been one week since the repair.  I think for a week things are looking so much better.  Don’t you think?

Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 9

one week

My eye is a a little red today and I’m not really sure what that’s about.  Probaby just tired.

Yes, it’s pretty good I think.  Healing nicely and definitely looking less noticeable.

Yesterday the little miss had a field trip to a local paint your own pottery studio.

glazed and confused

It was great to see her with her little preschool friends and also to just get out of the house.  For several moments I didn’t even think about my current state.  Didn’t explain to the stares what was going on with my face.  I enjoyed the time with my sweet girl and just focused on her.  It was dandy.

Afterwards, since we were in the neighborhood, we made a quick stop here for a visit.

jb fall

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery – So many beautiful memories in one beautiful place.

I love this place so very much.  It holds two very important people to me.


Missing them.

Both of my grandparents had basal cell carcinoma.  My grandfather lost part of his ear and my grandmother had extensive skin grafts on her nose all because of this type of skin cancer.  Basal cell is an ugly skin cancer that leaves permanent reminders.

Again this whole basal cell thing seems to always be on my mind.

Protect your skin.  Wear sunscreen.  Do not tan.  Get annual skin checks.

This day’s skin cancer selfie brings about another one week milestone.  One week ago today I was able to remove this glorious bandaging:

Wasn’t it lovely?

I had my husband remove it and remember asking him what it looked like.  I didnt dare look in the mirror first.  I was so nervous.  So very nervous.  Was it going to look horrible?  Was it going to be everything that I imagined?  When I finally did look I saw what’s on the right:

Pretty scary.  A friend of mine says that it looks like a mugshot.  Ha!  I guess it does.  Okay it does.  I haven’t been wanting to smile for fear of stretching the stitches.  So this is my non smiling face.  Yes, pretty scary.  A reminder that I need to smile more in the future!

The left is my current Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 10.

Side by side with one week ago to compare.  It really is healing up quite nicely!

The bruising has subsided for the most part.  I’m still using the antibiotic ointment 3 times a day.  It’s supposed to help with the scarring.  Even though I had an amazing plastic surgeon to fix the damage you should always remember to…

Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen. Do not tan. Get annual skin checks.

I have not forgotten about the skin cancer selfies.  The skin cancer selflies are BACK.  I know what you are thinking.  That I forgot all about posting.  I forgot all about the fact that I have the unfortunate luck of having skin cancer be a part of my life.  I forgot all about taking the selfies each day.  Nope, nope, and nope.  I’ve still been documenting with a selfie every day.  Just needed a break from actually posting it.

skin selfies

Skin Cancer Selfie:  Day 15

day 15

I also figured that several days in row would show a time lapse of sorts.  So there you have it.

Still can’t wear makeup because it’s still healing.  Still can’t go to the gym because of that horrible MRSA business.  Still not feeling like myself.  Not even at all.

I’ve been feeling quite down lately.  I’m not even sure if my friends and family have noticed.  I’ve been sad and worried about my appearance.  Almost in mourning for something that has been lost and that I probably will never get back.  My confidence.  But did I really ever have it to begin with?

Self confidence is something that I’ve struggled with for years.  Always being concerned with what others thought of me.  It always pushed me to be better and to try harder.  Now I’m at a crossroads.  This is something that I have absolutely no control over.  At the same time I never had control over the thoughts of others either.  All that time spent worrying was for nothing.  Years and years.  I’m glad that I’ve been able to reach these revelations now but wish that I had realized this so much sooner.  A lot of time lost.

Basal cell carcinoma is exactly like those people in life who make you feel worthless.  It strips you of the positive.  It mocks you.  It scares you.  It makes you anxious.  It leaves you wounded and feeling disfigured.  I must break free.  I must overcome.  I hope that my outlook on life will be better.  From now on.

I had basal cell carcinoma but it does not have me.  It will not define me.  I am still me.


blog owner at Seeing Dandy Blog
A mom blogger for over 15 years, Tara Smith lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her audiologist husband and four kids. Her blog has been featured on local media television shows like News 4 Great Day and Show Me St. Louis, as well as in the Farmhouse Style Magazine for Country Sampler. She loves to travel, explore the Midwest, make crafts and read.

This post could contain affiliate links or be sponsored which means I earn from advertising. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More details here.

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