Life Is Too Short To Skip Sunscreen

by Mary Facker
Originally Published: 
skin cancer
Mary Facker

It all started about two years ago. I had a weird bump on my face. It looked sort of like a pimple, but a very persistent one. It lasted a couple months, and then went away into what looked like a raised, slightly discolored scar. My husband had been nagging me to get it checked since he first saw it, but I sort of shrugged it off.

Mary Facker

You can see the bump about an inch under my left eye in this photo from our honeymoon in 2014.

Mary Facker

I kept thinking the bump would eventually go away, but it was still there and larger at the end of 2015.

Three weeks ago, I finally made a visit to the dermatologist. Despite me not saying anything about that spot, the doctor saw it right away and wanted to do a biopsy to check for skin cancer. He took a razor to my face right then and there and shaved a big chunk off. Then he sent me home with a band-aid on my cheek.

A week later, I got a call that the sample had tested positive for basal cell carcinoma, and they would have to do Mohs surgery on my face. Basically, they remove one layer of skin, about 2 mm thick all around the spot, and then put it under a microscope. They keep doing layer after layer until there are no more signs of cancerous cells.

Mary Facker

What my face looked like after removing just one layer of skin during the Mohs surgery.

I was super lucky that they only had to remove one layer. After I was all clear, they had a plastic surgeon come in and stitch me up. They had to stitch quite a ways on either side of the circle in order to keep the skin from puckering.

Mary Facker

Not a pretty sight. I guess my pirate costume will now look much more authentic.

I’m currently on the mend. Just like when I had a broken foot, dealing with the repetitive questions is the worst part. I like that a lot of people have looked worried, though, and asked me, “What did it look like?” or “How do I know?”

My answer is this: If you’re worried, get it checked out. I had no idea anything looked funny.

I’m currently in search of the perfect hat, if anyone has suggestions.

Most of all, my message to you is always wear sunscreen!

This article was originally published on