Transparency Tuesday… The sprays of cryotherapy stung. In fact, it felt like 20 little bee stings one right after another as each one made me wince. Now here I am… No make up. No filter. The spot by my eye, above my eyebrow, and 2 on my forehead will get worse before they get better. Along with the other 20+ on my arms, legs, neck and stomach. A biopsy was taken on my abdomen. Results to follow in 7-10 days.
I want to share the following with you out of love – with the hopes it will prevent someone else from going through this or bring peace to those who are.
In the early 80’s we belonged to Buckeye Hills Country Club and went swimming every day. I had a great tan during those formative years and everyone complimented me on how much better I looked with a tan. Mindset – set. To be pretty? I had to be tan.
It was 1993 when my best friend Judy and I hopped a plane to Ft. Lauderdale. We had it all figured out. Living on tight budgets, we split the cost of a room and we were going to eat banannas and peanut butter and just spend 2 days on the beach, relaxing. We were riding jump seat and our flight left in the middle of the night so exhaustion was set in by the time we arrived to our destination. But time was limited, so we changed our clothes, gathered our towels and headed to the beach where we proceeded to fall asleep. Judy, being part Japense and having beautiful skin – turned brown as a berry. I on the other hand – burnt. Bad. I froze and shivered all night long from the burn. Looking back, I should’ve went to an Urgent Care. Instead, I suffered through! When it was done burning it would tan and then I’d look good – right? Well.. no.. it stayed bright red, for days, as it blistered, and then peeled. During my late teens, early 20’s and 30’s I frequented tanning beds as well. And sunscreen? No way! Bring on the oil baby! I hated my skin and envied every olive skinned person I saw. Women just looked better tan. I am a mix of Irish, German and Indian. Surely if I tanned long enough, the Indian genes would appear? I had family members that had dark skin. Surely that gene was just laying dormant in me and with enough sun – it would appear! Right? Wrong. Very wrong.
30 years later, it starts to surface. I’ll never forget where I was 3 years ago when I got the call. I was in Dallas at the NBAA trade show when the dermatologist called to report that all 4 biopsies showed skin cancer. The one on my leg was squamous cell and that one was the one I needed taken care of the quickest. (This is where I received the education that squamous cell skin cancer, if left untreated, can become “cancer” in your body. I didn’t know that.) People have died from it. A friend told me of a sister who had a spot on her leg that was left untreated too long – she died an early death. What?!? In 2017 I looked like a scarecrow from all the surgeries I had removing these spots. It’s been 2 years – I’ve waited too long – but I was busy. So much going on. I was fine. I’d get there.. and then I started noticing spots, again. My arms, all over My skin didn’t feel right on my arms…. And now areas on concern on my chest and a few on my face.
I went to the dermatologist today and got the news. My skin is severely damaged. The dermatologist froze/burnt 20+ spots on my legs, arms, chest and face combined. She then advised I was a candidate for “red light therapy”. As they explained it – I will go in the morning, get a cream put on my arms and then incubated for 3 hours, then placed under a red light for a period of time. Then in 6 more weeks my chest, and then my face. This will bring all damaged skin to the surface, and then it will burn and peel off over a 2-week time frame. They were ready to start today – but we’ll be going to FL for a few days soon and they advised against my going anywhere for 2 weeks after each treatment. Some folks say it hurts so bad they feel like they are on fire and will not continue treatments. Others say it’s uncomfortable, but bearable.
I got this news and yet I was at peace. Total peace….
For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. – Isaiah 66:12
How can I get news like this and be at total peace and still have joy? Because when you have a relationship with Jesus it doesn’t mean you don’t have trials – it means you have a hand to hold as you walk through them. And when you go through some stuff, and you learn that He is faithful, you learn to stand on His promises.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
I know that God did not cause this to happen to me. I did this. Years of neglect to my skin. But I also know that God’s got me. I watched him ease the pain and suffering of my mother in her last days. I know that as I undergo these treatments my prayer warriors will be praying and He will hear. How do I know? He’s never failed me yet!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
I had to laugh at the irony on the drive home… For years I was so concerned about being tan out of a place of vanity. Out of wanting to look like the olive skinned women who I saw as beautiful – and myself as ugly. I hated the skin I was in. And in a few short months vanity will go out the window as I face my family, my friends, the world with a red, peeling face. 20 years ago I would’ve hid from the world, upset, disgusted, vain and refusing to be seen in public. Don’t believe me? I’d use a PTO day at work for a zit! But then… I found a relationship with the Lord. I discovered who I was in Christ. I realized we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. And that peace, that joy, makes situations like this much easier to bear.
What I want you to take away from this blog…
1. Love your freckles, love your fair skin, embrace sweet, beautiful you! Don’t try to change who God designed you to be.
2. God can bring you peace in the midst of any storm.
3. USE SUNSCREEN and go get a body check at the dermatologist!
I would covet your prayers over the next few months. Please ask God’s hand to be upon me as I start these treatments.