Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Neoplasm

The thing about cycling is that it isn't generally a nocturnal activity. We spend most of our hours on the bike in the broad daylight, most often through the long hours of a sunny summer day.

i suspect that most of us ride in short sleeved, short legged kit, exposing large areas of skin. How many of us ever think about sunscreen?

In younger days, it never occurred to me to grease up. If i took a sunburn on the arms, no matter... it faded to a deep farmer's tan in a day or two. Noxema cream and maybe Bactine spray provided enough temporary relief. In the days before findings about ozone layer depletion, no one really gave sunburn a second thought.

Look at some photos from the golden age of cycling. Here's an example:

Gino Bartali & Fausto Coppi

Take a look at Bartali's arms. This is a typical cyclist's tan.

My version was never quite so dark, but by early June my arms, legs, and from my neck up were usually pretty brown for someone of Northern European Mongrel lineage.

Another artifact of sun exposure was the well defined oval on the back of the hand from our gloves. My favourite style was- and is still- the gloves  with a crocheted back.

This spring i noticed what i first took to be a wart on the back of my hand:

Yeah, i know.. yuk.

 Denial is a deep river...

So, i finally took myself to my doctor who immediately referred me to the dermatologist.

 Welp, when you need to schedule an appointment with a specialist, don't be in a hurry.

Turns out the good doctor cannot see me before mid-September, but i will be seeing his P.A. in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, it grows. i hope it won't take until September to be rid of it.

 In more recent years i had gotten in the habit of greasing up my nose, and lately gotten better at remembering to doing my ears, neck, and arms as well. The thing is remembering to stop and re-apply the goop every 90 minutes or so. It never occurred to me to do my hands as well-  they were covered, right?

i ought to be more mindful about sunscreen, especially since i had a small "hot spot" removed from my temple a couple of years ago...  Denial isn't a river in Egypt.

A few days ago i heard a radio interview about how many if not most off-the-shelf sunscreens don't live up to their advertised SPF ratings, sometimes by less than half. The FDA doesn't test sunscreens for their efficacy- they depend on the manufacturers for that information. This does not inspire confidence. Do the research. Consumer Reports just published their findings. Seek it out.

And, no matter which brand of sunscreen you chose, remember to use it.                           

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