The Preventative Care I Didn’t Know I Needed

Time to get real about our health, mamas.  We put ourselves on the back burners so many times–am I right? Our little people demand things, and if you’re anything like me, you are so exhausted fulfilling their needs and keeping them safe and healthy that, well, by the time you even have a second to think about YOU you’re exhausted. I hear you. I’m right there with you. 

I’ve been asked numerous times what the most surprising part of motherhood is. I usually say, and mean it with all of my being, that the immediate and overwhelming love you have for a tiny human you just met is what surprised me the most. And that is the honest truth. But do you want to know the runner up? The shift in my thoughts about my own mortality. Weird, I know, but before I was a mom, I never really thought about dying, or what I would miss out on.

As soon as I held my son in my arms, the fear and the reality of my mortality crept in. 

I can’t say I’ve always been one for self care. Other than my yearly check in with my OBGYN, I kind of steered clear of the doctor’s office. I drank too much in college, ate way too much junk food, and rarely exercised. I do not think it is a coincidence that after we had our second child I decided to take control of my health. I joined a gym that I LOVE, I started eating better–cutting carbs, cutting sugars, less alcohol–and I vowed that my kids would not be the only ones to see doctors. 

We know we should get regular physicals, we know we should give ourselves breast exams, we know we should see our OB regularly…but when was the last time you had your skin checked? Are you looking at your screen all confused?

Because when I first heard a friend mention getting a skin check, I think I looked like a deer in headlights. Huh? My skin? 

I am fair skinned. I have freckles in ALL of the places. I have a reddish tendency to my hair. I am 90% Irish. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. If I spend any amount of time in the sun I do not tan, I get more freckles or I burn. So this whole skin check idea has actually been nagging at me for 2+ years until about a month ago when I found a new red spot that appeared to be a mole and I immediately scheduled an appointment at a local dermatology office. Thankfully, my spot is harmless and my entire body has now been checked. 

The appointment was SO informative and SO interesting to me! I found out that anyone can get skin cancer, but when detected early that it is highly treatable. And this is where skin checks come in! My sweet, kind doctor checked my entire body for anything that may look concerning and made a note in my chart about any mark/freckle/mole that she wants to keep an eye on. She measured any concerning spots and added it to my records for future reference. I now have a baseline for all of my moles, marks, and freckles. 

The ABCDE of skin checks for skin cancer

The more I share my experience about my skin check, the more I realize that, like me, not many of my friends are aware of skin checks as a preventative care option.

So here I am, sharing this with our readership in an effort to educate. Frequency of skin checks depends on your family history and skin concerns, but I now will be including a trip to the dermatologist every 2-3 years and I am urging my friends to do the same!  

For helpful information about skin cancer, skin exams, sun safety, and early detection of melanoma visit the American Academy of Dermatology.



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