The sun rises and I embrace the warmth. I tan evenly over the course of the summer, but mindful of the power of those rays on my fair skin I limit my exposure and use sunscreen. Meanwhile, I spend my days making pickups and deliveries for a trucking company. Half of those hours are spent behind the wheel, often with the sun shining into my cab. I give little thought to that sun exposure. After all, there’s no sunburn. In fact, there’s no irritation, at all.
In my fifties, I learn the error in that assumption. I have some precancerous cells on the left side of my face frozen for removal. Two separate times, I have cancerous growths removed from my upper chest and shoulder. They can appear anywhere, even areas that get less exposure. The left side of my body seems to be the most affected, that which would have received the most sun exposure through the driver’s side window.
Dry patches on my face, primarily on the left side, are misdiagnosed by a dermatologist as a form of psoriasis, but they are correctly diagnosed as precancerous when I visit a cancer center for skin screening after moving to Missouri. Daily application of Efudex cream over several weeks gives me a face fit for a Star Trek alien when all of the precancerous areas are exposed, until the dead skin sloughs off and my face returns to normal.
That was six years ago, and there has been no recurrence. Summer has arrived, but my days in the sun are a thing of the past.
sun high overhead
shortest shadows of the year
days now grow shorter
This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 6-21-21: Solstice I,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.
mid-treatment for precancerous skin damage