By Steve Graf
When I started this article, my intent was to share information and give advice on protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Over the years on my radio program called Hook’N Up & Track’N Down, I’ve always made suggestions on how to dress and protect yourself. I’ve always encouraged people to wear long sleeve shirts with sun hoodies built-in and with fabrics that have SPF 70 protection or better. I’ve always suggested you wear a wide brim hat in order to protect your head, neck, ears and face better, not to mention that I stressed how important sunscreen is. But little did I know after years of making sure everyone else did the right thing, that I would be the main subject of this article.
Yes, I have been diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer, the worst kind of skin cancer you can get. But at the time I wrote this article, I had just had a biopsy performed on my upper left ear. This spot has been treated off and on for over a year. It was a spot that started as a scratch while I was trimming trees one day. Then over several months, the spot just never really healed. After a visit to my dermatologist, she prescribed a cream regiment over a 6-day period that had a profound effect on the spot as it disappeared.
Then one day in March while getting a haircut by my sister-in-law, she asked me if I had ever had this spot looked at. I was not aware at the time that it was back due to the location of it on the backside of my ear. But this time it was a black spot that did not look good. That’s when my dermatologist decided to try to the cream regiment one more time. One month later the spot was getting worse and at the time of the biopsy had turned a dark purple color.
Once it was sent off to Birmingham, Alabama, for testing, the results came back positive for Melanoma. The wheels are then set in motion for surgical removal of the spot and testing to make sure it has not spread to my lymph-nodes or other parts of my body. Hopefully, by the time you’re reading this article, I will have better news and will have had the surgery needed to take care of this issue.
So, in the future, take as many preventative measures as possible to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Wear the long sleeve, built-in sunscreen protective shirts with the hoodie. There are several to choose from such as Columbia, HUK and Under Armor. Make sure to wear the wide brim hat like the ones made by Stetson, which also have built-in bug repellent and sunscreen. I now have three of these and love all of them! In the future, I’ll keep you up to date with my progress on trying to gain control over this dreaded skin cancer. Till next time good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!
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