The skin game

New Image
UV detector from Amazon in the United States. Right to my door.

I USED TO BE a sun worshiper, long ago when I was young.

In those faraway summers, in Georgia, Florida and even later in Puerto Rico, I was mostly naked outdoors and by late June I could have joined Black Lives Matter as an angry soul bro’ had that disreputable band of brothers existed way back then.

But starting when I was about 45, the proverbial chickens started returning to the henhouse with roosting on their pea brains. Skin cancer. In the decades since, I’ve had at least 50 basal-cell carcinomas removed from my flesh.

The most recent five — yes, five — were excised last week, surgically and biopsied.

We now have an opaque glass roof over the entire upstairs terraza that we recently had renovated, an upgrade that continues to this day. Two guys will be here today applying a fresh coat of amarillo villas, which is a fancy way of saying yellow.

A few days ago, two canvas curtains were installed in two sections of the new zone, and more perhaps will follow, depending on how the rainy season behaves. We will also install a sunblock net with a nice design on the bottom of the new glass ceiling.

Recently, I ordered a handheld device that measures the sun’s UV rays. I got it from Amazon. I was pleased to discover the new opaque glass roof reduces UV a lot but not to a 100% safe degree, and that’s why we’ll install the sunblock net.

I want to be able to sit out there worry-free. UV is obscenely high here due to the combination of latitude and altitude.

Basal-cell carcinomas are visible and very slow-growing, giving one lots of time to deal with them. Melanoma, of course, is the Bad Boy of skin cancer. I always knew melanoma was the least common form of skin cancer, but I was surprised to learn this week it makes up only 1 to 2 percent of skin cancers. It’s quite rare. But can be very deadly.

With luck, my skin cancers will continue to be basal-cell carcinomas because they appear to be increasing in number as I age. This is common, I have learned.

Let this be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don’t walk around bare-assed in the summertime, and if you do, apply sunblock. And don a big sombrero.

But no matter your skin tone, stay out of Black Lives Matter.