Over the past two years, thousands of people interested in running and deepening their spirituality have taken time to read entries on this blog. My message today, however, is one of the importance for runners. Wear sunscreen!
Last month, I learned that the biopsy of a mole on my right forearm was melanoma. It had changed shape, but being a typical male, I waited over a year to go to a dermatologist. Because of this, it grew deep enough to require a sentinel lymph node biopsy to see whether the cancer had spread. The surgery was earlier this month and the pathology fortunately came back negative. Despite sporting a nasty scar, all is well. Thanks be to God!
Over the years, much of my “outside time” has been spent running, often without sunscreen. I naively thought that by running early in the morning or at dusk, no sunscreen was required. I also mistakenly believed that since my skin was not particularly fair and I did not burn easily, sunscreen would not make a big difference. Boy, was this wrong?!? The purpose of this blog entry is to encourage readers to wear sunscreen and learn about the warning signs for melanoma.
As far as the spiritual journey of the past two months, I can say that having spiritual “insurance” was helpful. Like starting training for a race with a strong foundation of mileage, there was a deep serenity and confidence that everything was going to be ok. The first call from the doctor’s office did not cause me to plan my own funeral or pick out caskets. There was no pity party or asking God, “Why me?” Just like a race, it was one step ahead of the other, staying in the moment and fighting the tendency to plan the wreckage of the future. Was I scared? Of course, but it was not a paralyzing fear. It was more like approaching a hill in a race, knowing that while it would be tough, it could be conquered.
Throughout the waiting for the biopsy results, the weeks before surgery, and the anticipation of the pathology, I kept thinking of the lyrics of the traditional Christian hymn, How Can I Keep From Singing? May they be a comfort for those struggling with physical, mental, or spiritual darkness.
No storm can shake my inmost calm, / While to that rock I’m clinging. / Since love is lord of heaven and earth / How can I keep from singing?
- Any suggestions for good sunscreens?