A few months ago I noticed an odd spot on my shoulder. I am fair skinned and freckle/burn easily so I am always very aware of any changes in my skin. After watching the spot for a bit to see what it would do, I decided to get it checked out. I called a couple of dermatologists on my insurance and the answer was the same - we can see you in six months. Wow - did I ever go into the wrong business! Luckily, a trail running friend also happens to be married to a dermatologist, and after contacting them they were able to see me sooner. Good thing, too, since the diagnosis was that the spot was basal cell carcinoma. Skin cancer. It is a "good" cancer to get, if you have to get one at all, but it still has to be removed or it will continue to grow. The skin immediately around the spot had to be removed as well to be sure they got it all, leading to a slightly larger scar, but also more peace of mind.
Since my doctor is married to a runner, she understood what she was dealing with. When asked about running post surgery, she just asked me to give her two days of rest because of the increased bleeding risk from the incision, so I did. The surgery was on Monday, so I moved my Tuesday run to early Monday morning and took the following two days off. My Saturday long run was a little uncomfortable with stitches in my shoulder, but she cleared me to do it, just saying to refrain from excessive arm movement. It was a hot, humid slog for a little over 2 hours. I am not sure my legs were actually moving, much less my arms.
My stitches were removed yesterday so now I am just left with this lovely scar, which will fade over time...
Now that I have had one instance of this, I am 50% more likely to have another pop up in the next 5 years. All those years outside all day as a kid, and a couple of bad sunburns have taken their toll, but there are things I can do to prevent recurrence as much as possible. I have begun wearing long sleeved UV protectant shirts and a hat on EVERY run, and I am wearing lotion with sunscreen on any exposed skin every day.
I anticipated wearing long sleeves to run in south Louisiana summertime to be completely miserable, but I have been pleasantly surprised. Believe it or not, once you soak through the shirt, even the slightest breeze created by running has a noticeable cooling effect.
So, here is the advice most of you will not heed. (As the title notes, I wouldn't have listened either.) Consider looking into long sleeved UV tech shirts. Save yourself any additional sun damage, and hopefully avoid getting a chunk of your skin cut off. Or don't. But if you are interested, here are the shirts I found that are a great price and not terribly heavy to run in.
Happy Running, Y'all!