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September 22, 2016
Son of a gunÖitís FALL folks! Yup, Thursday September 22nd was the day - Autumnal Equinox and all. [sheesh] As Iíve gotten older, I much prefer the days, months and years to go slower but unfortunately thatís not usually the case. In fact this summer seemed to go by in an instant. Thatís probably the reason I try to pack as much as I can into my days. Itís the only way I can slow things down. [wry grin]
Unfortunately this week has been one where Iíve had to spend several days trapped inside, instead of being outside enjoying the amazing weather weíve been having. I grew up in Florida and Georgia, spending all of my time outdoors in the sun. That was a blessing as a kiddo, but Iím kind of paying the price for it in my later years. There was nothing like sunscreen when I was growing up. The closest thing to it was Zinc Oxide, which we surfers put on our noses, almost as a badge of honor. However the rest of our bodies, including our faces and arms got full doses of the suns rays, and for many of us it wasít a great thing. While my arms are pretty OK, my face is now covered with all these little crusty growths called Actinic Keratoses, another word for skin cancers! They are caused by prolonged exposure to the sunís UV rays. Although they are more often found in light skinned individuals, anyone can develop skin cancer. I know that everyone knows some folks who are golden bronzed by the sun, and I also know itís kind of a badge that outdoorsy folks use to kind of prove how beautiful and verily they are. I just want to say that it can also cause some major problems, especially over time. As many as ten percent of AKs develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer. In somewhat rarer instances, AKís may also turn into basal cell carcinomas, which is the most common form of skin cancer. AKís are much more common in people over the age of 50, which is why Iím talking about it.
So Iíve been aware of these little things on my face and arms for years. I have been going to a dermatologist every 6-12 months to be monitored and have them removed since I was in my late 30ís, Iím 68 now. On a regular basis I have had small lesions zapped with liquid nitrogen, but a couple of times I have had suspicious growths surgically removed. It was unpleasant, but necessary. That said, once you suffer sun damage, and especially once youíve had a skin cancer, your odds of developing them in the future gos way up. I will always have to be careful, practicing sun protection, checking my skin head to toe regularly and visiting my dermatologist twice a year to make sure we catch any new skin cancers early, when theyíre easily curable.
About 10 years ago I had a real scare with a basel cell cancer on my right eyebrow. I thought I was going to have bigger problems, but fortunately it was able to be removed by a Mohs surgeon. This requires having the lesion removed, the waiting while the doctor analyses the tissue under a microscope to make sure they got it all. If not they take off a little more, until it is all gone. Fortunately I didnít have to have a second pass and I didnít loose my eyebrow. [whew]
On this Tuesday I had a treatment on my face called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). It consists of putting a light-sensitizing liquid on my face and then sitting under a strong blue or red light, which selectively destroys AKís while causing minimal damage to surrounding normal tissue. Your skin turns red, like a good sunburn, but that goes away within a few days. The downside is that you need to stay indoors for 48 hours and avoid direct sunlight of you may get severe sunburn. So while everyone was out enjoying the past several beautiful Fall daze, I was inside working on my music. Not what I wanted to be doing, but at least I have something I like doing inside. [wry grin]
So why am I sharing all this with you? 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. 1 person dies of Melanoma ever hour. Nearly 50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have some sort of skin cancer at least once. Regular use of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of Melanoma by 50%!
The lesson in all is obvious, right? If youíre outside a lot, like all of active people like us are, put on sunscreen. For me, putting on a good SPF 40 sun block is just a part of my life these days. I get up, eat breakfast, wash up and put on my skin creme, which contains a good sun screen. I do it year round because the winter sun is still strong enough to give you a good sunburn, and the reflection off the snow and ice will get you. I put some on my arms and legs, if Iím not wearing long pants and long sleeve shirt. And I have a small bottle of sun screen in my pack to reapply when needed.
Hey, take care of your skin and it will take care of you.
Pretty much the same as last week, minimal bugs. All we need is a touch of frost, which may happen Saturday night, and they all will be gone. ;-)
Over the past several years Iíve taken to using the bike as a way to do errands or the like. I donít ride my road bike very much these days because of the traffic, but for quite a while I was using it for trips to the Post Office and even the grocery store. The other day I needed to drop my car off at the repair shop to have a broken headlight repaired. Rather than beg my wife to follow me and give me a ride hime, I took my mountain bike. I was able to ride from Redstone, near East Conway Road, into the woods to the snowmobile trails, and stay in the woods almost all the way home. There were only a few places where I had to cross the road and a section of West Side Road by the strawberry fields. It is a nice 8 mile ride.
Speaking of nice rides, itís almost time for the 15th annual Bike for Books event on October 1st. This event is a fundraiser for the North Conway Public Library, the smaller library right down the street from IME. Iíve done it for many years and it is fun and is a very worthwhile thing to do. You can read more about it here:
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
Join us and LIKE us on Facebook. I'll try and post some interesting pix every Thursday and the latest Ice Report in the season, tho certainly not the whole Report. Here's where you can check it out:
Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|Well, you don't see that every day.|
|Bev Johnson to her partner after seeing a body fall off El Cap|