Saturday, December 30, 2006


I've tanned and burned, burned and tanned all of my life. Sooner or later you pay for years of tanning and burning. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you will in time.

I visit my friend Dr. Craig every 3 months. He's a dermatologist. We talk and I sit while he burns barnacles off of my body.

Most of the time the barnacles are nothing but that: Growths related to sun exposure or to age.

Sometimes the little bumps are basil cell carcinoma. That's when life gets a little more serious.

Usually all it takes to rid old Bob of basil cells is to dig and scrape deeply, send the tissue to the lab who usually says "All gone, you got it all" and that is that.

Burning barncles is not like the real fire burning. Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze whatever it is Doc Craig wants to rid my body of. It comes in a cannister with a metal nozzle.

Technicallly the barnacles are frozen and not burned The treatments are more like you're getting frost bitten in the areas touched by the liquid nitrogen. If an area has a large amount of liquid nitrogen applied, it hurts. Usually tears run down my face when this happens. Can't help it. It hurts!

If I had it to do over again I would still spend the same amount of time in the sun, continue to never use sun screen and enjoy life on the beach or in the boat. I'd have less wrinkles and fewer visits to Dr. Craig if I had stayed out of the sun or at least used something to protect my arms, back, legs and face. I'd look 20 years younger, no doubt about that.

I visited my dermatologist two and a half weeks ago. I still have the marks to attest to this visit. In time they'll fade but for now the marks Dr. Craig left are an angry red. By next week the areas touched by liquid nitrogen should be finished being angry and look normal.

Using more sun screen or staying out of the sun will not be one of my New Year's resolutions. Getting out in the sun and having more fun is. I am one of those "some people never learn".

You see, an old dog can't be taught any new tricks.
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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States