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Wear your sunscreen and be nice to the old guy

Michael Bennett
Publisher Mike Bennett and his post-surgery nose
Staff Photo |

Last Wednesday, the first time I heard, “Who hit you?” I smiled through the grogginess. By Friday, I heard it for the 22nd time; I responded “cancer.”

When you have surgery on your nose, you can’t hide it. And me being me, after a morning of slicing I foolishly went right back to the office. One day I just may find my cure for workaholism.

For the record, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my nose. Dr. Daniel Thimsen did the honors and reassured me that, as cancers go, it is the least risky form of skin cancer.

It is a pretty common problem for those of us who enjoy the outdoors and don’t take the necessary precautions. When treated promptly, it is just a minor annoyance. This cancer grows slowly, although it does grow if not treated.

In my case, I first noticed it about five years ago and had it “frozen” off. It never seemed to fully heal. To me, I was “cured,” and it was just a mild annoyance.

Learn from my mistake and check your skin regularly. If you see anything unusual, have it checked out by a doctor immediately. While this is a slow-growing cancer, it will become an issue if left untreated. If I had taken care of this earlier, Thimsen wouldn’t have had to take as much tissue off of my nose. It’s been a week since the surgery and my face is still swollen.

Never have I enjoyed glopping sunscreen on any part of my body, although I had done so in recent years. Now I’m told that not only should we grease ourselves up with this protection, but we should also reapply it every couple of hours that we are out in the sun.

I also learned the hard way that the nose has more nerve endings then the entire leg. What seemed like endless needles of local anesthetic brought tears to my eyes. I thought the nose was just this rubbery-like cartilage that felt no pain.

So if you see a kindly man walking down Grand Avenue in the heat of the summer wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, reeking of sunscreen, it just could be me.

Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.


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