I believe my kids will now wear sunblock. Always.

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Places To Go

In early December I was diagnosed with one of the earliest forms of skin cancer on my face. This came as no surprise because my nose had been peeling for over 18 months despite the fact that I haven't been in the sun for years. I had a few nasty sunburns on my face when I was younger and that, plus genetics, lead to the demise of my facial skin. The dermatologist spent less than 30 seconds looking at my face before he said, "Uh-huh. Yep. Here's a prescription to help prevent this from advancing to a more serious stage. the process will hurt but it will be much better than full blown skin cancer, especially at your age." He wrote me a prescription and sent me on my way.

On January 1 I began the four week treatment,vowing to stick it out no matter how much it hurt. And hurt it has. Not only does my face feel as though it is on fire, I also look absolutely hideous. From my hairline to my collar bone I am covered with angry red splotches and crusty pustules. But what I find to be the most interesting part of this process, other than the fact that I will not expire from skin cancer, is my children's reactions to this diagnosis. My red headed daughter, Cassidy, nearly always wears sunscreen without having to be told so there is no new development there. However, she now peppers me with questions in her free time. She wants to know how I could have let myself get so badly burned that I am now suffering this treatment. She is curious about sun proof clothing and how she can avoid the same fate. My oldest son, Loren, is constantly concerned for my comfort and is even angry that my earlier sins have lead to my current pain. He has shunned sunblock in his more recent years but now vows to wear it when he is out snowboarding this winter. My youngest son, Devon, does not understand at the age of three exactly why his mommy hurts. He can see my red face and knows that I am in pain but he seems to think I have fallen and scraped my cheeks, nose and forehead. He holds my face in his small hands and worries whether or not he can find enough band-aids to help me.

Aside from the obvious medical benefits of my current treatment I am tickled pink, bad pun, that my children are learning from this experience. To have something hit so close to home about a concept as simple as applying sunblock is, I believe, a true gift. I know it is one they are now understanding and I can only hope it is a lesson they will carry with them always.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.