Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Burn, Baby, Burn

Yesterday was my semi-annual visit to the dermatologist for skin cancer screening. Since last year was a banner year with four basal cell carcinomas having to be surgically removed within a six month time frame, I wasn't sure what kind of report I would be getting. My doctor, ever optimistic (not!), always enters the exam room with a red plaid thermos filled with liquid nitrogen in hand. I'm old enough to remember the plaid metal lunchbox that came with this exact thermos. What a way to spoil a childhood memory!

The procedure is known as cryotherapy, because liquid nitrogen is extremely cold - at around negative 328 degrees Fahrenheit. Using an extra-long, cotton-tipped swab, the doctor places the liquid nitrogen for ten seconds or so on each spot on my skin that he deems suspicious. The affected skin is frozen, and forms a blister which eventually dries up and falls off. The hope is that all the pre-cancerous cells are killed, and that the remaining cells underneath are healthy. Yesterday I had 25 spots frozen. Yikes! But the good news is that only six of those were on my face, and the doctor was not alarmed by any of the spots that he saw. I'll take that news.

As someone who grew up before the advent of sunblock and spent long, summer days playing outside with my friends, I've had lots of exposure to the sun. Add in my light skin, blue eyes and the fact that I wear my Irish heritage proudly, and I am the poster child for skin cancer. As my doctor says, "You shouldn't walk from the house to your car without wearing sunblock". I try to be vigilant about this.

Onto a happier topic...This weekend we were blessed with incredible weather, particularly on Saturday. I knew that my husband would go out for a motorcycle ride, so I left the house early and drove to the Audubon Center at Riverlands. Many migratory birds stop here during the winter months, and January is usually a good time to see the trumpeter swans. I wrote about visiting the center last January (you can read the post here), and mentioned that there were way fewer birds on site than in 2015. This year I think there were less birds than in 2016. I'm not sure what that means, but it may have something to do with the fact that the weather has been a little milder. Maybe they just don't have to travel so far south to survive the winter. It was a little disappointing, though the sixty plus degree weather helped me get over it.
Audubon Center at Riverlands
Continuing on my drive, I crossed over into Illinois to travel on the River Road. I was hoping to spy some eagles. I saw one swooping down overhead as I was driving, but none in the trees. Normally drivers are pulling over to the side of the road to take photographs or look through binoculars, but that didn't happen either. Driving through Grafton, I saw several cars turning down a side street. Following them, I finally saw an eagle high in a tree. The other photographers there said the eagle had been in the same spot for at least an hour. I snapped off a few photos of the eagle, and then caught this unusual bird formation in the sky. Doesn't it look like a fish?
The Loading Dock
As luck would have it, my husband and his friend were also traveling on the River Road, so we were able to meet up at The Loading Dock for lunch. It is located right on the river, and has a wonderful patio area. It was nice enough for us to sit outside while we were eating. Following lunch, they continued north and I headed south for home.

On Sunday, Jim and I took our first walk around the neighborhood together since losing Kirby. It was strange not to have him with us, but as each "first" passes, things get easier and easier. I'm sure he walked with us in spirit.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

That sure is an eagle. So regal.

I love your photographic interpretation of Kirby's spirit! Of course he is walking right along side you; enjoying the sunshine, sniffing the grass and all the gross stuff in it;)