Last week was a particularly terrifying week. I’m 52, and I grew up as a Gen Xer who never used sunscreen and hadn’t had a skin check yet. I was busy and putting myself last. At least that is the story I stuck to.
In retrospect, if I want to be honest with myself, it was far less glamorous or self-deprecating than that. The truth is, these were the three reasons I put it off:
1) I don’t like how my body looks, and I was not excited about getting naked in front of a doctor while they looked at every single nook and cranny of my body.
2) The longer I waited, the more sure I was that they were going to find something, and it was going to be a melanoma, and I was going to have to have chemo or die.
3) Did I mention I really didn’t want to get fully naked, in the light, and have a doctor’s face all up in every part of my body?
But last week, I finally went. I went because two moles on my shoulder suddenly got VERY big. It was the part of the shoulder that got very sunburned when I was a kid. So I went to Current Dermatology and saw Dr. Megan Casady Flahive. I immediately apologized for not having gotten a pedicure…it’s just what my nervous energy told me to say–don’t ask…
The interesting thing is, in one minute, I didn’t care that I was naked. She was listening to my concern about the moles, told me not to worry, and before I knew it, she had gone over my whole body and assuaged my fears. Truth be told, she did biopsy one of my moles, but said she was pretty sure it was nothing and not to lose sleep over it. It didn’t hurt, and she was so nice and quick.
Here’s my takeaway: women hold body shame, and we do this to the point of being willing to die over it. It’s sad and unnecessary. Colonoscopies, mammograms, and gynecological exams… we put them off a lot of times, because we are scared of what they will find or we are ashamed of our bodies. It’s sad…and can be deadly.
So mamas, please make your appointments and go… and by the way– don’t get that pedicure because Dr. Megan says she needs to see what’s under our nails!