Some years ago, I noticed a dark splotch on my face on my right cheek just below my eye. It was about the size of a quarter, a mere discoloration of the skin. It seemed entirely possible that it had been there my whole life and I simply hadn’t noticed it. Except it wasn’t there in old pictures. A close personal adviser of mine (I have several) took me aside and said, “Have that looked at.”
I visited a dermatologist who called it a “seborrheic ketosis,” the result of sun exposure, ugly but harmless. I called for a follow-up 2 years later, but this particular dermatologist had left the practice, so I sought out a different doctor, who looked at it and said, “Seborrheic ketosis! I can’t tell what that is just from looking it.” He would need to take a biopsy.
It turned out to be an actinic ketosis (of course!), “pre-cancerous,” and my doctor prescribed a cream to remove it and introduced me to the religion of sunscreen.This prompted me to sign onto an aggressive hat-wearing regimen, such that I now own a broad-rimmed Australian-style (American made) sunhat to ward off the burning orb’s evil rays, especially on the cheeks, which baseball-style caps largely fail to do.
Which brings me to this past Friday (June 19, 2015) at the Roche Brother’s in West Roxbury, shopping with my sunhat on (don’t expect me to take it off in the store!). After declaring my bag preference, I proceeded to check my email on my phone (why? why?) while my bank account lost great sums. And then I took hold of my goods and made my way out the door, passing checkout lines with couples and old folk and a carriage with a pair of youngsters 3 or 4 years old, one of whom nudged the other and said, “Look! A Cowboy!”
So the actinic keratosis has done a lot for my public image.