18 February 2011

Gathering Gratefuls - Loving The Skin You're In

Thinking about the title for this post I was considering a cowboy & western inspired theme.
You see I have joined a family of 'pale skins' and for an olive complexioned girl it has opened my eyes to a whole range of interesting new insights around the topic of freckles.

Fortunately we live in times where sun safety and skin protection are becoming more acceptable.
The children must wear hats to play in their lunch breaks at school.
At the beach, it's 'the norm' to see kids in rash shirts and zinc - a rarity in my childhood & teens.

When it comes to skin tones in our home, the Gifts have assorted shades of pale to accompany their variously hued hair - strawberry blonde to auburn.  Freckles?  Well they each have their share.

Every morning before school Cpt. V has to check, "Have you got your sunscreen on?".
Invariably the Biggest Gift says "Aw Dad!" and is reminded that one minute spent applying sunblock [within her 45 min morning hair routine] is us actually 'doing her a favour' rather than us trying to punish her!

Recently, we all had a salient reminder of the true dangers that sun damage to our skin can cause.

Captain V has very pale skin and although he is vigilant with sun protection, I am forever scouring him for signs of changing spots.  I'm very happy that I do.

Recently he has had two very nasty ones cut off his back.
The specialist who removed them was concerned that they might be melanomas and had a second, then a third opinion to ensure that he was correct in deciding that they weren't.
Of course, Cpt. V didn't tell me any of this until he had the 'all clear' which kind of peeved me but I understand that he did this out of love, not wanting to worry me needlessly.

This Thursday he returned to his specialist to have another cut out of his arm.
They had to cut a big chunk out of the muscle and he will be wearing a sling for the next couple of days. If this small inconvenience is the worst that we have to deal with, then I'll be very happy.
We I will wait anxiously for the results, fingers crossed they are all clear again.
So this week, as we gather at Maxabella's to share our lists, I am immensely grateful for the following:

1.  That we live within a culture that is starting to accept the need for smart sun protection

2.  That our family has a terrific GP with all the modcon equipment to check our skin for changes

3.  That our GP referred Cpt. V to a thorough terrific specialist

4.  That the offending 'freckles' were removed in time

5.  That the Cancer Council Australia website has brilliant information for everyone to access, to ensure
     that we can all be sun smart.

And two bonus gratefuls...

1.  I am also immensely grateful to all of the wonderful Blogeristas who jumped on board with
Maxabella and I to share their love stories and bling for Valentine's Day.

At my last count, there were 25 gorgeous stories, so if you haven't already done so, please take some time to read at least two, each one is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Thank you Bella for getting this ball rolling, I've enjoyed it immensely!

2.  I was overwhelmed by your lovely comments about my story with Captain V.
I'm so pleased that some of you listened to 'Our Song, it has special meaning for our journey together.

As I type this I realise that it has a poignant connection to today's post.

The person who introduced me to the singer of 'Our Song' Christie Moore, was a young policeman in the small town that I was teaching in.
His wife was my closest friend [we created 'Word Of The Week' together] and they had just got married before their country posting.
A couple of years after they arrived, I was transferred almost a thousand kilometres away.
I still recall leaving them in a bubble of joy, waiting out the final months before their first child was to be born.
Eighteen months later my friends' husband had passed away.
He had a melanoma smaller than the head of a pin on his skin which snatched him away from his young family.

I know that this isn't a very upbeat way to end this post but I've included this story as a salient reminder of the ferocity of this disease and the need for vigilant skin care.
If you haven't had your skin checked recently, I hope that this is the gentle nudge you needed to do so.
It would be another on my list of gratefuls to know that you were loving the skin that you're in.

Enjoy your weekend and the biggest of hugs!

Postscript - One Week Later
Just in case you were wondering how Captain V. has faired, he returned to the specialist on Thursday for the prognosis and to have his stitches removed.

The happy news is he got the all clear = Yeah!!!
However with these two scares he has been told that six monthly skin checks are on the cards for the forseeable future. Of course I'm VERY happy about this and little do they know that I'll be scouring him like a hawk too!

I hope that everyone who mentioned that they had been prompted to get their own skin checked has made their appointments - X & O your friend Fizz the worry wart.


  1. The email with your comment came through just as I had started reading this post. Yes - the Sun Smart poster and your post...

    Even though I don't have any family history of melanoma, I have so many moles that I get myself checked out every two years. Can't harm, can it?

    I have three boys, all of which have some shade of red in their hair. My 7yo has bright orange hair. No freckles, but the fairest of skin. I'm always especially careful with his skin. I'm so glad we know more sun safety now. I recall as a kids getting sunburnt many times. Terrible.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for Cpt V too. x

  2. A wonderful list. One that I share, I have a strong family history of skin cancer and melanoma, so sun safety is paramount for me and the little ones. I'll keep my fingers crosse for your man. xx

  3. Thank you Felicity to remind us of the devastating reality of the sun...I hope it will be all safe for your cpt.x

  4. I have an appointment next week to arrange surgery to have 3 skin cancers removed from my nose. They will be operation No. 3.
    I take extra special care of my daughter's fair skin so she won't have to go through what I do.

    Have a great weekend Felicity. Thanks for stopping by my blog.


  5. My Mum actually had two fairly large skin cancers removed from her arm.
    She's had them for nearly two years and to be honest none of us realised. Yes, we'd noticed them, but they weren't what you'd expect a cancer to look like.
    They looked like scabs on her arms, and if you asked her what happened, Mum had no idea. The doctor picked them up two weeks ago, and now they are out.
    It's odd because we are always vigilent about skin care, particularly since my kidlets and my younger sisters are all fairly light skinned [except one sister and my son who have beautiful all year tan coloured skin, without going into the sun!]
    We're hoping the results for Mum's tests come back all clear, and it's motivated the rest of us to get the once over just in case!
    You can NEVER be too careful :)

  6. You have reminded me to add this to my next health check up. Thank you.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for Capt V.

  7. Thanks for the nudge Felicity. I think I need a general checkup anyway, and I'll have my moles checked too.

    I just noticed the little yellow hearts - is that a mole on the first one? You're a funny girl!

    Fingers crossed for Cpt. V, and wishing you a happy weekend.

  8. Found you on another blog. Look forward to reading more. Your site is beautiful. Have a great day. You can find me over in my corner of the Pac NW www.imnotsuperwoman.com Hope you can stop by and follow back.

  9. You can never be too careful with your skin, particularly if you are susceptible. I must head on over to Maxabella's to check out the Valentine's Day post. I missed that one!!

  10. A great reminder.

    Thanks so much for stopping by La Lamp Shade!


    If the Lamp Shade Fits

  11. Our childhood feel like it was so much easier - we're run aroudn the beach all day without a care about sunscreen and lotions. We'd burn, then tan. Now I am getting the check each year..sigh.

    Still, there is something wonderful about being outside, under the sun -even in hats and zinc and shirts!

    Lovely list of gratitude; lovely blog you have!

  12. First, I'm so glad V has caught everything early. I am about as pale as they come, was a red haired baby, a toe headed child and then it turned to blonde. I've had 13 "fishy looking" spots removed by the dermatologist - all clear but you have reminded me it's time for another check, thank you.

  13. sun smart is so important and what an interesting post to remind us of that! I am fair skinned and i think my two boys seem to have inherited that and so I try to be as sun smart as possible with them...Thanks for your post!

    Gill xo

  14. I will most definitely keep my fingers crossed. I am vigilant about the sun (and have been for the last 25 years) as I am essentially blue-white! However, they say it's the damage that was done when we were little that counts - and as they didn't have such strong sun screens then, there was only so much we could do. So now - as you say - just be careful to screen!!

  15. This is a really good post Felicity Im glad you have posted this I have a brown birthmark on my shoulder which needs constant monitoring and has made me mole aware. I vigilantly check mine and my husbands regularly. We have to accept that the earths atmosphere can no longer act as a buffer anymore we have cover up wear sunglasses and hat and wear sunscreen. Its that simple. Hope all goes well for you and your partner.

  16. I have blogged before about what I white chick I am - I also even did a post over the xmas holidays about playing indoors between 10and2 such is my ability to get burnt! (see the pic by badskirt on my sidebar!). So I do have to be so careful - but even I have never had a mole check...wonder why??
    thanks for the timely and sensible reminder - I hope Capt Vs results are all tickedy-boo :-)
    have a great weekend

  17. This is a fabulous post, especially for a chick who lives in Queensland and hasn't had her skin checked for the longest time. Thank you

  18. Thank you for the gentle reminder.. I have the European skin covered in moles.. And I tend to forget to get regular checkups..

  19. Oh hon! Such a sad tale to end another fine post. It is on my list. Just moved up in priority ranking :)

  20. So, so important to have skin checked. Especially where we live.

  21. I am forever raving about the need to where sun screen and get your skin checked! I wrote a post ages ago on We Heart Life about it.

    Having red hair means that I never tan, I burn, blister and freckle. Even now as I sit here and type there are a few that I need checked out and I'm not even 25.


  22. We vary in shades of skin tone here too and all have alot of moles/freckles...this is a great reminder for us all to be vigilant with being sun wise!

    Fingers crossed that Cpt V gets the all clear

  23. Smart, Felicity. As a pale skin, I needed this reminder to go and get my annual skin check! I hope Capt V is okay... gotta be, right? Gotta be. x

  24. Such a great reminder to us all in this very sunshiney state (and country) to take care. I lost my grandfather in only his early fifties to sun-cancer and my children don't venture outside without long sleeves and sunscreen.
    In an age where thousands of beauty products line the shelves, the most effective for long-term beauty is good ol' sunscreen!

  25. It seems incomprehensible that something so small it could be overlooked can kill. I'm sorry for your friend's tragic loss.

  26. Such a timely reminder, Felicity. Even although I'm very pale and spent a lot of time indoors at summer when growing up (due to developing heat-rash when exposed to the sun), I still have my share of freckles.

    I was amazed when at 30, my dermatologist discovered some basal cell carcinomas which were fortunately removed in time. However, we tracked their development back to one bad burn I'd had 20 years before! Unbelievable.

    We are so cautious with the pixies, hats and sunscreen - the complete opposite to growing up in the 1970s. J x


Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Each new comment is a gift - unexpected and lovely.
Although I'd love to reply to each and every one, this isn't always possible, but know that I read and appreciate them all.

Felicity x