I’m writing this post to challenge you all to be alert and vigilant in keeping that body of yours in a good state of health.  Which I’m sure you are, and there’s no need to say that.  Live in the moment, love your body but be observant and attentive out there.

OK, I haven’t been sleeping all that well since my London trip.  I didn’t tell you that we were able to be practically first in the queue for the Saturday opening of the Pink Floyd exhibition because we stayed overnight. And on that Friday I went to the Mole Clinic.

I’ve been going off and on to the Mole Clinic ever since I reached 60 and several times they’ve find something – usually the minor Bowens (which is frozen off) and last time a basal cell (which is scraped off).  I’d left it two years, but that wasn’t unusual.  I go because I have Scottish skin, with many blemishes.  In fact, my skin is so white and transparent now, it’s almost blue and certainly is on my legs.  And once upon a time I had red hair.

Just the type to avoid the sun and put on Factor 50.  But did I keep out of the sun when I was young?  No, I did not.  Remember Bridgitte Bardot?  All we teenagers ever wanted to do was to have blonde hair, blue eyes, pink lipstick and a deeply tanned skin.  We put that Ambre Solaire oil on (the one that smelt of summer) and went into the sun until our skin blistered and was bright red.   And, of course, I regret it now, but then it was just what we did.

Well this time, they found 4 things; two were very minor but one freaked me out and one (a different one) the clinic focused into big-time.

Here’s what freaked me out.

This is last year’s photo and can you see it on my right foot – a mole?  It’s atypical now and must be re-imaged in 3 months now.  Oh, blast.  The thing is I cover up everything now and never sunbathe but throughout the summer I always wear open-toed sandals and bare my toes.  See a younger version of Mr and Mrs Frugalfashionshopper.  And what am I wearing red open-toed sandals – always have.

But the clinic was much more interested in an atypical vascularity something on my back, which they said needed an urgent referral.  To cut a long story short I’m not going back to the clinic (which costs money and I don’t think money should come into any healthcare transaction.  More about that another time on My Other Blog) instead I have an under-2-wk referral to our wonderful NHS.

So, double blast.  But hey, apart from having a few dark thoughts in the night – and who doesn’t. Look at it this way.  I never saw any of these problems with the naked eye, especially the one on the back.  I mean, this is good, me being vigilant.

And I’m telling you all of this, as I said, to challenge you to be doubly careful about yourselves and your body.  Which you are, anyway.  But don’t ignore anything.  Take care out there.

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


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26 thoughts on “The body positive – and negative

  • 19th May 2017 at 9:28 am

    Very good advice. I’m blessed with skin which doesn’t mind the sun. My husband and daughter both have fair skin and both have had basal cell carcinomas removed as well as numerous more minor spots treated. The African sun is not their best friend! Trust all goes well. Take care.

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:16 am

      Thanks so much, Rosemary. Like you and your family I’ve also spent time in a very hot country. I was born in India and spent a year there. All photos of that time show me in a nappy in the sun with nothing else on. I dare say I was kept out of the midday sun but even so!

  • 19th May 2017 at 10:05 am

    Your blog made me Google Mole clinics near me. My mother gave me some good advice ‘Worry is a waste of time, do something about it and stop worrying’.
    You have ‘done’ something, and it will resolved at the NHS clinic. I do hope all goes better than you could have hoped.
    It can be better. The hairdresser I go to noticed a bump on my hair line, and told me to get it checked, it was a basel cell cyst (benign) and was removed on the day.
    Like your red sandals! Are they Wolkys? They look like a really comfy pair that I have.

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:22 am

      Actually your comment was a great help as I have indeed done everything I possibly can to catch these skin things early. Good they caught yours as well.

      The shoes are comfortable (can’t wear anything else now) and were found in a delightfully quirky independent shoe shop in Lewes and are labelled Josef Seibel. On the site http://www.josefseibel.co.uk it appears they ship all over the world.

  • 19th May 2017 at 11:45 am

    I wasn’t a sun-bather, but I did have a few sets of sun-beds… ah well. Over the last few years had a small actinic keratosis taken off my arm, some bowens type demage on my upper lip and eyebrow lline (horrid but effective cream dealt with it – but have just self-treated with another burst as there’s been a few more bits), a scratchy bit on my elbow (same cream) and another on my ankle (tend to go barefoot or without stockings in the summer…) which was excised with scalpel by my skilful doctor. However, I went to my new dr and asked her to have a good look at me all over. She was quite prepared to do this as a precautionary measure, spotted the elbow patch and says I need another check as she isn’t sure about the ankle despite it being knifed, and referred me to the dermatology clinic. NHS but quicker than a referral to (probably the same) consultant. So I’m off there on Monday.

    Moral – keep alert!!!

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:26 am

      Yes, one of the 2 minor things found was that scratchy actinic keratosis (on my nose) but it’s so small the GP said leave it for a bit. I will mention it to the consultant when I get there (in under 2 weeks now). Yours was a quick referral! And pat on back to both of us for being alert and aware!

  • 19th May 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Oh my goodness, thank you for this post. I have various ‘bits and bobs’ on my body, that I keep meaning to have checked, but life has got in the way of me looking after me, mainly in the form of grandchildren, who I look after everyday, who I totally adore, but totally exhaust me. I have made an appointment with my G.P. to get checked, and also promised myself that I need to do this every year. Our U.V. Index here in Canada is very high, so I am also going to cover up my body more.

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:29 am

      I’ve got lots of blemishes and bits and things on my skin now, and 99.9% of them are totally harmless – just a blemish, meh! But it’s that very small percentage you need to watch for. Yes, go get your skin checked. Your grandkids will thank you for that.

  • 19th May 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Good luck with your scare. We’ll all be thinking of you.

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:32 am

      Thank you!

  • 19th May 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I am very fair (Irish and French heritage). When I was young my red hair looked just like yours, only not quite as curly. It was thick and wavy. Now it is pale blond, fine, thick and fairly straight. I wear it long – sometimes down and sometimes in a ponytail. It is past shoulder length. Hooray! I love every minute of having long, silky hair at my age. I may have other issues at 71 years old, but at least my hair isn’t one of them.

    I also was a sun worshipper back in the day. Luckily no skin cancer but I have signs of too much sun. I use Vaseline Intensive Care lotion, which really helps keep my skin moisturized. I use Vitamin C and sunscreen on my face, which I have noticed an improvement by using these products. Both are from Sephora and may be a bit expensive but last for a good six months.

    We are what we were and we are what we are, and in order to have a quality life, we must take care of ourselves. ?

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:35 am

      So good to hear about your hair! I too have thick hair which I’m growing long now that I’ve decided to go white/grey. Btw, that early photo with the curls – that was a perm.
      I also use the Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion which I think is really good for the skin. And thanks I’ll look at the Sephora range. I will take care – thanks so much x

  • 19th May 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you for yr thoughtful advice – best wishes!

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thank you!

  • 19th May 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Penny, I love your attitude, and your mother’s. After 70, one big risk is that we — and health professionals — meet our physical problems with fatalism: “these things are inevitable at your age.” Result: we do nothing about problems that can and should be fixed. Thank goodness you’re different. Keep up with the great example.

    • 20th May 2017 at 7:54 am

      Yes, absolutely, always be alert to what can be fixed with regard to your body. I don’t do enough resistance and weights – when this skin thing has settled down I’ll be focussing in on that.

  • 20th May 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Very wise advice. I’ve avoided the sun and sunbathing for many years now but like you, in my youth, as soon as the sun came out I bared all to it!

    Your red painted toes look fab by the way.

    Good luck with the referral.

    • 25th May 2017 at 7:07 am

      Oh yes, those days in the sun when I was a teenager and going bright red with peeling skin – why??? Well, there you go. Like you I never sunbathe now. I saw the consultant so quickly – all benign – that’s a relief!

  • 20th May 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Penny, thank you for your warnings. I too have white Celtic skin and I also wear open-toed sandals all summer. The silly thing is that I use factor 50 on my face and never thought about putting it on my feet. As of tomorrow I will do.
    Wishing you the best of luck and sending positive thoughts for every success with your NHS treatment.

    Kate xx

    • 25th May 2017 at 7:02 am

      Yes, I don’t think my factor 50 cream was getting down to the toes. And yay! Good news – all benign – phew!

  • 21st May 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Oh shit Penny. I hope everything is ok. Ugh. I went through some skin issues a couple of months back and all was well. But it seems that every week I find another “spot” or “thing” I have to make a derm appt before I go to France. I do thank you for a very important post!!!

    • 25th May 2017 at 7:04 am

      Got a very quick referral and was seen in 5 days – wow! All benign! But, said the consultant, carry on being vigilant as you have that kind of skin. All good, though!

  • 24th May 2017 at 7:28 am

    Very wise that you get your moles checked regularly Penny, and great that you’re raising visibility of this. I read the other day that melanomas are hugely on the increase among the people aged 50+ who used to sunbathe with such abandon in the 70s (I was one).

    • 25th May 2017 at 7:13 am

      I was doing serious sunbathing from the time I was a teenager (late 50s/early 60s) right up to my early 40s (early 80s). Because, after my skin went bright red it did go brown, and I kidded myself that this looked good. Then the message started getting through. It was not good for your skin! The consultant said, all benign, but carry on being vigilant as my skin is very sun-damaged. Ah well, you live a little and then you learn the lessons!!!

  • 24th May 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Great post! I travelled a lot in my younger years and paid the price for sun worshipping. I found a mole on my ankle in 2009 which didn’t look like the other moles on my body. Reason being it was a malignant melanoma! I had it excised at East Grinstead and skin was grafted from my thigh, my ankle now looks like something has taken a bite from it, but hey I am grateful to be still here. Apparently I found it early, so be vigilant people.

    • 25th May 2017 at 7:05 am

      Yup, we’ve all paid that price of just not thinking about the consequences of that lovely tan. Good to hear you caught a melanoma – that’s what they thought the thing on my back was – but it’s not – phew!

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