I have been under voluntary house arrest for the last week. I think I have another week to go before I am able to socialize in public again. Currently my look will scare small children and cause Grandmother types to say, "God bless you". I am what they call in the film business, "Not camera ready." I look like I fell face first into a camp fire and passed out for awhile.
Some of the joys growing up a fair skinned red headed kid in Texas was the clear sky and hot summers. I don't think I went through a summer without at least one major sunburn. There was no such thing as "sunblock" only "sun tan lotion" which was meant to increase the effect the sun had on your skin. Who knew? We thought all that vitamin D was a really good thing.
Well, half a century later... (don't do the age math... every one's age is just a google away) I am having to rethink my sun exposure. In my mature years I have made regular trips to the dermatologist to get "sun spots" frozen off my face. The dermatologist has a really fancy name for them. He calls them: Actinic keratoses (AKs) which are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that can lead to skin cancer. It is important to treat AKs because there is no way to tell when or which lesions will progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer. Well that is scary enough for me to continue to be vigilant about these little buggers.
So I have a new doctor who suggested we do a Blu U treatment for these Actinic keratoses. He said, that he would continue to freeze them off as they became apparent but this treatment would stop them from developing. He pitched it by saying that it would find all the AK's that have not even shown up yet and destroy them. It was a simple treatment with a special light. "It only takes 14 minutes..." he said. "It will feel like you got a bad sunburn."
I was well aware of what a sunburn felt like. I lived through many as a child. If the treatment did some good, What the heck, I could live through one more. So, last Thursday we did the treatment. He was right, after they plastered my face with some sort of gel it only took 14 minutes. 14 minutes of almost intollerable pain, which has become less intense over the last few days but still a "happy" reminder. I wouldn't say this felt like a "sunburn" as the Dr. pitched, I would say it feels more like I washed my face with run off water from the Fukushima nuclear reactor. My face looks like the first step in making a pizza and it feels like the PinHead character from the Hellraiser movies.
We had some friends over for the Academy Awards who said my face was glowing in the darkened room. I said , well it just looks like I got a bad sunburn... They said, "Oh no.... it looks like a bomb went off in front of your face." My friends have a way of always making me feel great about myself.
So... While the southern and eastern parts of the country are growing cabin feverish from the snow and cold, I am getting cabin fever from self imposed exile from humanity.
They tell me that the super redness will fade and just the red spots of "potential death" with hang around for a few days. When that phase starts I think I will wear my Mickey Mouse ears and tell everyone I got the Disneyland measles.
So, although the snowbound East coast is not thinking that way right now, I have just one word of advice to all..... sunscreen.
As you were,