Sure it’s fun to get naked all by yourself. Go ahead do it. Even better do it in front of a mirror. Get naked and explore the beauty of your own body, your own skin. Touch yourself. Pull, lift, tug and look. Take it all in. Explore every niche, cranny, opening and surface. Get to know yourself. Take in every wrinkle, spot, color and texture. Self intimacy. Let it feel good.
Self intimacy is good for you. It’s pleasurable and life saving. Yes life saving. Especially if you don’t only do it with yourself, but do it with yourself and then share it with another. Share it with someone knowledgable and caring. Someone who may even give you tips on your body and even how you may better explore it.
In 2004 during an intimate moment with my own body, an intimate moment with a mirror in fact, I discovered a mole. An unusual mole. I called my doctor. He took one look at me and said oh that’s fine, but over here….what is this? How long have you had it? When replied I hadn’t noticed it before he took a closer look and called a colleague right there from the exam room in front of me. The colleague? A dermatologist. He wanted me to see her ASAP. She couldn’t right then but could take me the next day.
The next day in her office she asked where the mole was that had landed me in her office. I pointed to my side. She called her nurse for assistance then told me it was coming off as soon as she gave me a good search over in case there was anything else of concern. No nothing else, just the one. Numb, clean, clip….it was in a specimen container and off to the lab.
The call came five days later. Malignant Melanoma. Could I come in the next day? They needed to clear the margins and check my lymph nodes.
Margins being a huge hack of 3cm of flesh in each direction outward from the site cut out of my side and inwards toward my center….all clear. Lymph nodes….all clear. The mole was only 0.9mm deep. Just 0.1mm shy of a full mm deep that would have possibly moved me to stage 2. Close call. All clear of a stage 1 malignant melanoma.
She streesed that I talk with my siblings. Two brothers I have. She said that the highest risk factor is not from parent, but having a sibling. They need to be checked. I called both. I was very blunt and told them what she had said.
I am a messenger, not my brothers keeper. I can’t force them. Neither told their doctor. Neither got checked.
Fast forward 12 years. My eldest brother was hospitalized for a different matter and a chest X-ray revealed a spot on his lung. A biopsy & pet scan later the spot is a malignant melanoma tumor in his lung. There is melanoma in his lymph nodes and all probably coming from the quarter size melanoma on his neck. He is stage four now and no longer a candidate for surgical removal.
Mom just lost her husband of 62 years last September. The chances of my brother living more than another year are slim. I’m going out for a previously planned trip this week. The timing is good. I can check in with Mom as I know she isn’t taking this well. Losing a spouse at her age is expected. Losing a child isn’t what any parent wants to experience even if the child is sixty.
My other brother you ask? He made an appointment to see his doctor. Someone he can get naked with and learn how to get intimate with the characteristics of his naked skin.
Me? I’ve been cancer free for almost 12 years now. I see my dermatologist once a year at this point. I stay quite intimate with my naked self in the mirror.
You? Have you made a date with your mirror …and better yet your doctor… yet? You may not be my sibling but you are human. Humans of all skin colors get melanoma. You yourself are at risk as well. Do yourself a favor, have a little fun and get naked. Take a look at your beautiful self. Indulge in some caressing, tugging, lifting and looking. Touch, feel…go ahead get to know it all, all of your body. You might just save your life.