Young skin is wasted on the young!

squash warts

Courtesy of s5r5h via Flickr

On Monday I have my annual skin cancer checkup. I go every year because it’s a good thing to do or so my dermatologist says. I have been lucky and not had any problems but you never know.

My dermatologist is part of a gigantic group of dermatologists. In fact, it’s impossible to go to a dermatologist outside of this practice as there aren’t any in this area that don’t belong to it. As a general rule, I am not fond of big-scale medical practices.

For one thing, it’s run like a big business. I’m not saying that’s bad but there are at least 20 to 30 non-doctor-type people and I never see the same ones. You can never get to “know” any of them nor do they “know” you. Every time you go you must show your documents to prove who you are. Then they ask you embarrassing “zit” questions out loud.

It’s very busy. It’s not unusual to be double-booked and end up waiting 45 minutes out front and then another 15 to 20 in the cold examining room.

Why is it that examining rooms are so cold? Winter or summer, it’s always cold. For this exam I will need to strip off every piece of clothing (including my nice toasty warm socks) and put on a paper (yes paper!) gown which has the warmth of….um….nothing!

Last time I went, I took a small fleece throw to cover myself up until the doctor came in. What happened to those flowered cotton gowns? White is such a harsh color to wear in those extra bright rooms!

Someone who is not the doctor comes in first and asks me a bunch of questions. She enters it on a computer. Just when I think that’s all done, the doctor comes in and asks all the same questions. I think it’s a test to see if I am still sane after the long wait and cold temperatures.


Skin tags courtesy of webmd

After a certain age, things grow on your skin like barnacles on a boat. Some are like mushrooms and they only grow in the covered, dark, hidden areas on your body. No! Not there! Usually in the armpit or lower back or neck areas.

Some bloom like flowers on your face or neck only they are not pretty. Each year I go in and have a bunch of things removed. By the end of the year, I have a new crop. They come in just like potatoes or better yet…cherry tomatoes – perky little ugly spots resistant to all those “special creams” that you use in hopes that they will go away on their own. They don’t.

Some have color and some are just rough. Some are raised and some are flat. Some require lasers (think cha-ching $$) and some can be frozen off with that canister device. By the way, that treatment does hurt. Maybe not as much as brain surgery but it still hurts.

None of that is free or covered by any insurance. There was a day when they would remove skin tags without charging. It takes less than 5 seconds. However, it’s not life threatening so no one really cares. Except you. You have all these wiggly things on your skin that get tangled in your necklaces or get irritated by collars. Doesn’t matter. You don’t die from that stuff.

I draw a picture of my body and mark the spots to be removed. (No, it’s not anatomically correct! that would be gross with my artistic skills.) It looks a lot like those body targets they use for practice shooting. If I’m lucky I will get them all but usually one or two “go missing” until after the appointment. Then they show up in a prominent location bigger than ever, content knowing that they have another year of life.

Over the weekend I will pack my bag for the trip. I will need the fleecy throw, maybe I’ll throw in some fuzzy socks, my Kindle for the wait (I should load up War and Peace) and my body charts. My appointment is for 8:40 a.m. I wonder if I should pack a lunch too.

14 thoughts on “Young skin is wasted on the young!

  1. I guess we are lucky – we’ve been going to the same derm. doc for over 20 years(skin cancer runs in the family, pale skin, and we raced sailboats for a long time – so everyone gets screened yearly) – it’s a big practice are very busy, but he never seems rushed. Skintags – UGH had a couple – not looking forward to barnacles…love that term – it’s perfect.


  2. I hope your appointment goes well. I agree that these hospitals and examination rooms can be so cold. Going in the winter is the worst! And some of these doctors, nurses, etc. are not people persons at all.


    • Good luck with that! It’s something you should do. I had a friend die of melanoma and they never found the “original” spot. I always hope to get tips on keeping my face younger but this isn’t that kind of dermatologist!


  3. I agree about the cold rooms! Why is that? I am overdue a trip to the dermatologist, so thanks for the reminder. My poor husband has had so many small skin cancers removed he’s like a roadmap, but thankfully all have been caught in good time! You performed a PSA and with good humor! 🙂


  4. A hilarious post Kate and “right on.” The drill here is the same and our doctors do actually refer to “barnacles.” I have miscellaneous varieties that would be better on the young, and my husband has so many, the doc asked him if he wanted to “get dipped.”


  5. Sometimes I cut the tags off myself. Since I am still alive I guess I am doing it ok. I always wear socks to the doctor and won’t take them off until I have to. The blanket thing is a good idea. Hope the appointment goes well.


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