Even pale people visit the beach

I spent yesterday at the Jersey Shore, Sea Isle City, to be precise. Instead of a traditional graduation party, Mer wanted to hang at the shore with her parents and some friends. Her dad and step-mom graciously offered the use of their house. Her dad took the Sat. night shift, and I turned up for the day yesterday. And yes, we had a blast – lots of laughs and food.

The weird thing was – I sat on the beach for several hours.

Why is this a big deal?

I am a survivor of melanoma. That is the really icky skin cancer that will kill you, if you don’t catch it early. I was lucky – I caught it early, which is why I am typing this instead of rotting in the earth. I was diagnosed in July 2002 and had the two icky pieces removed a few weeks later. I am now a vampire, afraid of the sun, sticking always to the shadows. This can be depressing. I’m always worried about being in the sun. I don’t swim in outdoor pools, or go for walks after 8 am. I garden on the shady side of the house.

Why did I get this? Nobody knows. I’m a fairly pale person – mostly English and Irish descent. I was never a sun worshipper because I burn easily. I did have a number of nasty, blistering, peeling sunburns as a kid. Doctors suspect that may have something to do with the development of the disease. The paler you are, the greater your chances of getting melanoma. And melanoma is the number one cause of cancer deaths of women ages 25-30. But anyone can get melanoma, even people of African descent. Please learn about this disease – information is power.

Like most everything else, it’s all about attitude. Since we took most of our kids with us on our honeymoon last year, we went to Universal Studios in Florida (I love roller coasters). A melanoma survivor in Florida in July?! It’s possible. I wore lightweight long pants, an incredibly dorky hat, and a special cover-up jacket, along with 40SPF sunscreen on my face and the backs of my hands. I hate having to dress up like the mummy to go outside and I really dislike gooping on sunscreen on hot, humid days, but those are cards I’ve been dealt.

And my beach day yesterday? The weather cooperated. It was cool and windy, so I was comfortable in jeans, sneakers, and a sweatshirt. And I wore a hat (hopefully not too dorky). Sunscreen was on my face and hands. Thank you slightly crappy weather for the great day!!

Some famous advice about life and sunscreen.

57 Replies to “Even pale people visit the beach”

  1. I am very glad you caught the melanoma early. I see my dermatologist annually and try hard to stay out of the sun (I get sun poisoning). I can’t believe so many people still go to tanning salons! What is up with that???

    Anyway, I’m happy you had a nice beach day! And congrats to your daughter again on her graduation! 🙂

  2. I am very glad you caught the melanoma early. I see my dermatologist annually and try hard to stay out of the sun (I get sun poisoning). I can’t believe so many people still go to tanning salons! What is up with that???

    Anyway, I’m happy you had a nice beach day! And congrats to your daughter again on her graduation! 🙂

    1. Yeah for you going to the dermatologist!

      I think that annual dermatologist and mammogram visits should be celebrated by groups of friends all going in at the same time, then going out afterwards for a treat of choice (bakery, ice cream shop, club, etc.)

      1. < < I think that annual dermatologist and mammogram visits should be celebrated by groups >>

        Absolutely! My dearest friend recently had very early breast cancer discovered through a mammogram. It made a huge difference in her treatment and recovery.
        I use your exact same words, knowledge is power on a personal web page of mine about cancer. Cancer prevention treatment has come a long way.
        Thank you for sharing your experience. We need a lot more loud mouths about this topic. Every time someones shares it raises awareness.

  3. I am very glad you caught the melanoma early. I see my dermatologist annually and try hard to stay out of the sun (I get sun poisoning). I can’t believe so many people still go to tanning salons! What is up with that???

    Anyway, I’m happy you had a nice beach day! And congrats to your daughter again on her graduation! 🙂

  4. I have a sun-issue as well and I’m not sure what it is, since I haven’t gone to a doctor to find out what it is, but I play it safe and stay in shade most of the time.

    But still, I’m glad you caught the melanoma early, and as long as your protected, you’re completly aloud to dress how you wish. And congrats on your daughter’s graduation.

    Also, an awsome group of links!

  5. I have a sun-issue as well and I’m not sure what it is, since I haven’t gone to a doctor to find out what it is, but I play it safe and stay in shade most of the time.

    But still, I’m glad you caught the melanoma early, and as long as your protected, you’re completly aloud to dress how you wish. And congrats on your daughter’s graduation.

    Also, an awsome group of links!

  6. I have a sun-issue as well and I’m not sure what it is, since I haven’t gone to a doctor to find out what it is, but I play it safe and stay in shade most of the time.

    But still, I’m glad you caught the melanoma early, and as long as your protected, you’re completly aloud to dress how you wish. And congrats on your daughter’s graduation.

    Also, an awsome group of links!

  7. Yeah for you going to the dermatologist!

    I think that annual dermatologist and mammogram visits should be celebrated by groups of friends all going in at the same time, then going out afterwards for a treat of choice (bakery, ice cream shop, club, etc.)

  8. Yeah for you going to the dermatologist!

    I think that annual dermatologist and mammogram visits should be celebrated by groups of friends all going in at the same time, then going out afterwards for a treat of choice (bakery, ice cream shop, club, etc.)

  9. I used to be a recreational tanner (no booths for me, but I’d sit out at the beach or in my backyard with a book and extremely mild sunscreen – if any). I’m getting smarter this summer and am going to try for Nicole Kidman’s skin rather than the tropical tan I’ve dreamt of (between living in Michigan and being Irish/German, there’s no way I’m ever getting that tan)

  10. I used to be a recreational tanner (no booths for me, but I’d sit out at the beach or in my backyard with a book and extremely mild sunscreen – if any). I’m getting smarter this summer and am going to try for Nicole Kidman’s skin rather than the tropical tan I’ve dreamt of (between living in Michigan and being Irish/German, there’s no way I’m ever getting that tan)

  11. I used to be a recreational tanner (no booths for me, but I’d sit out at the beach or in my backyard with a book and extremely mild sunscreen – if any). I’m getting smarter this summer and am going to try for Nicole Kidman’s skin rather than the tropical tan I’ve dreamt of (between living in Michigan and being Irish/German, there’s no way I’m ever getting that tan)

  12. sun stuff

    Like others I am so glad you caught your melanoma early and are sharing with others so they will hopefully become more aware as well. It’s sad that something as beautiful as the sun can cause so many people problems. Melanoma is a big fear of mine too because I grew up at a time when we (shudder) slathering baby oil on our bodies when we were outside. And I lived outside all summer long. In California. Without sunscreen. So now I worry at every freckle that looks funny.

    Love your idea of groups of friends going in for the annuals checks together and then celebrating after it all.

    Right now I avoid the sun due to rosacea which gives me a constant crop of teen acne (unless I live on tetracycline)and a red face that I constantly have to powder down.

    Susan Taylor Brown
    http://www.writeonrightnow.blogspot.com

  13. sun stuff

    Like others I am so glad you caught your melanoma early and are sharing with others so they will hopefully become more aware as well. It’s sad that something as beautiful as the sun can cause so many people problems. Melanoma is a big fear of mine too because I grew up at a time when we (shudder) slathering baby oil on our bodies when we were outside. And I lived outside all summer long. In California. Without sunscreen. So now I worry at every freckle that looks funny.

    Love your idea of groups of friends going in for the annuals checks together and then celebrating after it all.

    Right now I avoid the sun due to rosacea which gives me a constant crop of teen acne (unless I live on tetracycline)and a red face that I constantly have to powder down.

    Susan Taylor Brown
    http://www.writeonrightnow.blogspot.com

  14. sun stuff

    Like others I am so glad you caught your melanoma early and are sharing with others so they will hopefully become more aware as well. It’s sad that something as beautiful as the sun can cause so many people problems. Melanoma is a big fear of mine too because I grew up at a time when we (shudder) slathering baby oil on our bodies when we were outside. And I lived outside all summer long. In California. Without sunscreen. So now I worry at every freckle that looks funny.

    Love your idea of groups of friends going in for the annuals checks together and then celebrating after it all.

    Right now I avoid the sun due to rosacea which gives me a constant crop of teen acne (unless I live on tetracycline)and a red face that I constantly have to powder down.

    Susan Taylor Brown
    http://www.writeonrightnow.blogspot.com

  15. Sunscreen

    I don’t tan. I burn. And it never hurts, so I don’t usually notice it. It gets red, but doesn’t blister. I wear sun screen. I’m not in the sun that much.

    I’m proud of being semi-pale. Better pale than dead. So when my friends go out tanning, I sit under a shade tree and read. Whatever.

    Better safe than sorry.

    =)

    Glad they caught your melanoma. My great-aunt’s skin cancer was a contributing factor to her death.

    Ta~
    *austin

  16. Sunscreen

    I don’t tan. I burn. And it never hurts, so I don’t usually notice it. It gets red, but doesn’t blister. I wear sun screen. I’m not in the sun that much.

    I’m proud of being semi-pale. Better pale than dead. So when my friends go out tanning, I sit under a shade tree and read. Whatever.

    Better safe than sorry.

    =)

    Glad they caught your melanoma. My great-aunt’s skin cancer was a contributing factor to her death.

    Ta~
    *austin

  17. Sunscreen

    I don’t tan. I burn. And it never hurts, so I don’t usually notice it. It gets red, but doesn’t blister. I wear sun screen. I’m not in the sun that much.

    I’m proud of being semi-pale. Better pale than dead. So when my friends go out tanning, I sit under a shade tree and read. Whatever.

    Better safe than sorry.

    =)

    Glad they caught your melanoma. My great-aunt’s skin cancer was a contributing factor to her death.

    Ta~
    *austin

  18. wow! Im glad you caught the melanoma! Im always worried I’ll get skin cancer. I dont put on sunscreen as often as I should. Plus im so pale people are forever telling me you need to go out in the sun more. My response: Would you like me to get skin cancer and die? Dramatic a little yes, but it is something I worry about. I cant help Im Irish and Scandinavian, I burn so easily. Plus I kinda like my pale skin, at least I dont look like an alligator!

    Glad you all had a good time. Mer had a great idea!

    Have a great day!

  19. wow! Im glad you caught the melanoma! Im always worried I’ll get skin cancer. I dont put on sunscreen as often as I should. Plus im so pale people are forever telling me you need to go out in the sun more. My response: Would you like me to get skin cancer and die? Dramatic a little yes, but it is something I worry about. I cant help Im Irish and Scandinavian, I burn so easily. Plus I kinda like my pale skin, at least I dont look like an alligator!

    Glad you all had a good time. Mer had a great idea!

    Have a great day!

  20. wow! Im glad you caught the melanoma! Im always worried I’ll get skin cancer. I dont put on sunscreen as often as I should. Plus im so pale people are forever telling me you need to go out in the sun more. My response: Would you like me to get skin cancer and die? Dramatic a little yes, but it is something I worry about. I cant help Im Irish and Scandinavian, I burn so easily. Plus I kinda like my pale skin, at least I dont look like an alligator!

    Glad you all had a good time. Mer had a great idea!

    Have a great day!

  21. My husband had a big mole on his back forever. Literally as long as I’d known him.

    A couple of years ago, it started changing. I sent him to the doctor, who said, “It’s fine.”

    About six months ago I looked at that mole one day and really SAW it. And what I saw was NOT RIGHT. This time I sent him to a doctor who referred him to a dermatologist, who took a biopsy, who told him, “It’s melanoma.”

    Now he has a 5-inch scar on his back. And melanoma in his past. We hope.

    Big Loud Voice: Keep looking at your skin. Know what your moles look like, and if a doctor tells you something is fine that you feel in your gut is NOT FINE, speak up! I think I saved my husband’s life. It’s on his back, for God’s sake. He doesn’t see it. Make people look at the parts of your skin that you can’t see.

    Thanks for listening.

    Thanks for the platform, Laurie.

  22. My husband had a big mole on his back forever. Literally as long as I’d known him.

    A couple of years ago, it started changing. I sent him to the doctor, who said, “It’s fine.”

    About six months ago I looked at that mole one day and really SAW it. And what I saw was NOT RIGHT. This time I sent him to a doctor who referred him to a dermatologist, who took a biopsy, who told him, “It’s melanoma.”

    Now he has a 5-inch scar on his back. And melanoma in his past. We hope.

    Big Loud Voice: Keep looking at your skin. Know what your moles look like, and if a doctor tells you something is fine that you feel in your gut is NOT FINE, speak up! I think I saved my husband’s life. It’s on his back, for God’s sake. He doesn’t see it. Make people look at the parts of your skin that you can’t see.

    Thanks for listening.

    Thanks for the platform, Laurie.

  23. My husband had a big mole on his back forever. Literally as long as I’d known him.

    A couple of years ago, it started changing. I sent him to the doctor, who said, “It’s fine.”

    About six months ago I looked at that mole one day and really SAW it. And what I saw was NOT RIGHT. This time I sent him to a doctor who referred him to a dermatologist, who took a biopsy, who told him, “It’s melanoma.”

    Now he has a 5-inch scar on his back. And melanoma in his past. We hope.

    Big Loud Voice: Keep looking at your skin. Know what your moles look like, and if a doctor tells you something is fine that you feel in your gut is NOT FINE, speak up! I think I saved my husband’s life. It’s on his back, for God’s sake. He doesn’t see it. Make people look at the parts of your skin that you can’t see.

    Thanks for listening.

    Thanks for the platform, Laurie.

  24. < < I think that annual dermatologist and mammogram visits should be celebrated by groups >>

    Absolutely! My dearest friend recently had very early breast cancer discovered through a mammogram. It made a huge difference in her treatment and recovery.
    I use your exact same words, knowledge is power on a personal web page of mine about cancer. Cancer prevention treatment has come a long way.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. We need a lot more loud mouths about this topic. Every time someones shares it raises awareness.

  25. < < I think that annual dermatologist and mammogram visits should be celebrated by groups >>

    Absolutely! My dearest friend recently had very early breast cancer discovered through a mammogram. It made a huge difference in her treatment and recovery.
    I use your exact same words, knowledge is power on a personal web page of mine about cancer. Cancer prevention treatment has come a long way.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. We need a lot more loud mouths about this topic. Every time someones shares it raises awareness.

  26. From a Florida girl

    I grew up sunning with baby oil and iodine…what was I thinking? I know…I wanted all my freckles to merge! Now, i cannot stand any kind of gunk- especially if I’m in the sun! So, I opt for the cover-up style also. I’ve always thought it was kind of romantic to walk the beach like you just “happened” to stumble upon it. Jeans rolled up and shoes in hand…. call me hopeless.

    Funny story? I tried one of the professional “spray on booths”! You stand in a lucite tube and basically get painted. Ever breathe paint? Yup, no UV rays but paint in my lungs- yes, that’s better. I loved the way it looked until I noticed these ugly streaks made from dripping down the backs of my arms and legs. I looked like I was melting! The shop owner told me it is normal and to scrub with a towel in small circles. OK, so then I had spots on my legs. For Pete’s sake…all I wanted was to ‘get some color’! Next time I’ll skip the tan and splurge on some good blusher.

  27. From a Florida girl

    I grew up sunning with baby oil and iodine…what was I thinking? I know…I wanted all my freckles to merge! Now, i cannot stand any kind of gunk- especially if I’m in the sun! So, I opt for the cover-up style also. I’ve always thought it was kind of romantic to walk the beach like you just “happened” to stumble upon it. Jeans rolled up and shoes in hand…. call me hopeless.

    Funny story? I tried one of the professional “spray on booths”! You stand in a lucite tube and basically get painted. Ever breathe paint? Yup, no UV rays but paint in my lungs- yes, that’s better. I loved the way it looked until I noticed these ugly streaks made from dripping down the backs of my arms and legs. I looked like I was melting! The shop owner told me it is normal and to scrub with a towel in small circles. OK, so then I had spots on my legs. For Pete’s sake…all I wanted was to ‘get some color’! Next time I’ll skip the tan and splurge on some good blusher.

    1. Re: From a Florida girl

      Thanks for the warning -I’ve thought about the paint-on booths. Was afraid I’d come out orange. Now that I know it would be orange stripes, I’ll forget about it.

  28. From a Florida girl

    I grew up sunning with baby oil and iodine…what was I thinking? I know…I wanted all my freckles to merge! Now, i cannot stand any kind of gunk- especially if I’m in the sun! So, I opt for the cover-up style also. I’ve always thought it was kind of romantic to walk the beach like you just “happened” to stumble upon it. Jeans rolled up and shoes in hand…. call me hopeless.

    Funny story? I tried one of the professional “spray on booths”! You stand in a lucite tube and basically get painted. Ever breathe paint? Yup, no UV rays but paint in my lungs- yes, that’s better. I loved the way it looked until I noticed these ugly streaks made from dripping down the backs of my arms and legs. I looked like I was melting! The shop owner told me it is normal and to scrub with a towel in small circles. OK, so then I had spots on my legs. For Pete’s sake…all I wanted was to ‘get some color’! Next time I’ll skip the tan and splurge on some good blusher.

  29. Re: From a Florida girl

    Thanks for the warning -I’ve thought about the paint-on booths. Was afraid I’d come out orange. Now that I know it would be orange stripes, I’ll forget about it.

  30. Re: From a Florida girl

    Thanks for the warning -I’ve thought about the paint-on booths. Was afraid I’d come out orange. Now that I know it would be orange stripes, I’ll forget about it.

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