Saying thank you for healthy skin

Runners, I’ve heard, have a higher incidence of skin cancer than a lot of other people. Yes, that’s rather vague, but saves me from having to look up the specifics of that statistic.

The reason is kind of well-duh: We’re outside a lot.

Skin cancer runs in my family. My fair-skinned younger brother has had, as he puts it, “things carved out of my chest.” My cousin had melanoma (caught early, thank God). My dad had several skin cancers; among them, a melanoma (also thankfully caught early).

I had a basal-cell carcinoma removed a year ago last October. It wasn’t that big a deal (again, thank you, Lord!) but I did need plastic surgery — a skin graft from behind my right ear, stitched in a perfect circle onto my nose where the smaller-than-a-pinprick carcinoma was removed.

Anyway, all worked out fine. I love my plastic surgeon, who is a runner, too. Most of my follow-up appointments, we’d talk about my nose for 3 minutes and about running for another 20.

All this to say, today I went to my eagle-eyed and utterly delightful dermatologist, she who had found my basil-cell problem. I actually made the appointment because my side has been itching a lot, mostly at night. My internist deemed the pale rash “nothing serious,” but didn’t know what it was.

So off I went to see Dr. Cather. She diagnosed my side-itch issue with some Latin name; “in other words, cold-weather rash,” she said. She checked the rest of my body, including my scalp, between my toes, the bottoms of my feet, my neck and, well, everywhere.

“All healthy,” she said. “Everything looks great.”

I left feeling relieved and lucky, with the itch all but forgotten. So for that; for sunscreen; for smart and personable and caring doctors, The Grateful Runner says thank you.

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