Hello. This may in fact be a post to myself. But feel free to peer over my shoulder.
Here’s the issue. Yesterday I posted this on my personal Facebook page:
Amazing day. Went for skin cancer check-up: not only are both suspect moles fine, but I am at low risk of skin cancer and Dr doesn't expect to see me for ten years. And he loved my white skin :) Awesome life - get checked, always xxx
Now, when I say personal Facebook page, I mean personal. No 300+ friends for me: I keep it tight and will shut the whole thing down if it gets above 100 people. There is no point having a load of people I don’t care about on there: getting their updates would just make it more likely that I’d miss something from someone I do care about. So I reckon I have about 60 friends on there at present: quality over quantity is the name of my Facebook game.
So, finding out my moles were okay was a huge deal for me – I really like knowing they are not cancerous. It was also good to remove the associated worry, hence the reminder to friends to get themselves checked out.
Anyway, the Facebook post elicited 4 ‘likes’. Four! Does nobody care that I do not have skin cancer?! It is HUGE!
Of course, there could be any number of reasons for the measly ‘like’ count:
- Different time zones – didn’t get read by people.
- Other people have lots of friends – my status update fell down their news feed and disappeared.
- I didn’t include a picture of a cat reading a book.
- Other people do have cancer and that is more important than me not having it.
- Nobody ‘likes’ stuff anymore – how passé.
- Facebook’s old hat anyway: they’re all on Instagram and Tumblr now.
Whatever the reason, the fact that my friends, by and large, did not like the news that I was not going to die made me wonder if it actually wasn’t that great :(
How sad is that.
Getting the results meant so much to me! Then it clicked. That is all that matters: the fact that it meant something to me (and the fact that I am not going to die of skin cancer any time soon).
It isn’t anybody else’s concern. It isn’t their life. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have felt the need to tell everyone I know what happened at my appointment.
It was just a great thing that happened to me. I was so happy that I wanted to share it and make my friends happy too, as well as reassure them that scary checks aren’t necessarily so scary and it’s way better to do something about it than ignore it if you are worried.
But the stats show that nobody – bar those four beautiful souls – gave a monkey’s.
Why should they give a monkey’s? Why should I give a monkey’s about them not giving a monkey’s? Where did all the monkeys come from and is it unethical to be giving them?
Why did I diminish the magnitude of yesterday’s health outcome based on the fact that not very many people in my admittedly small, admittedly virtual world tapped their finger on a screen after reading or not reading my news?
I got the result I desperately wanted. I liked it. One like is enough. In future, if I want likes, I’ll post a vine of someone falling over.
In the meantime, I will measure the worth of my experiences by how they make me feel, rather than by how many people tap their screens.
- If you are a Facebook friend of mine, please do not give me pity likes as a result of reading this article, now or ever. It is not a dig at anyone or everyone: I am certainly no epic 'liker' myself. The issue is not the Facebook people’s inaction, but my reaction to that inaction. I do realise I am leaving myself open to querying every single future ‘like’, wondering if people are just taking the mickey now. Adrian, this mostly means you :)
- If you have any concerns or notice any changes in your skin or your moles, or see a new mole, do have it checked. And follow all the sunny rules, even when it isn’t sunny, because UV rays are still present even when it isn’t bright:
- Wear a hat.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Cover your shoulders and skin with clothing.
- Sit/stand/play in shade and avoid the sun during the middle of the day (when UV levels are highest).
Extra Laura hints:
- Remember that your ears need sunscreen too.
- Your make-up probably won’t act as sufficient sunscreen even if it says SPF, due to the amount and areas in which it is worn. It needs to be thick and all over, so use a separate sunscreen.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat for better protection.
- Check online for UV levels – Australia has WillyWeather (calm down), which is extremely useful.
- Don’t think about protecting your clothes from sunscreen; think about protecting your skin from sun damage. Your clothes can all be cleaned and replaced.
- Avoiding the sun will also give you better skin in later life and you’re never too old or young to think ahead.
- Don’t be lazy: your skin is so important.
- Don’t be complacent: one application a day won’t cut it. Take a bottle out with you and reapply regularly: every 1-2 hours.
- Look after young ones, old ones, ginger ones, loved ones and any combination of these.
You’re all worth the effort of sun awareness and protection, so stop protesting and get protecting!
Enjoy the sun, wherever you are and whenever it comes xx