A tree branch in the Oxford Botannical Gardens years ago.

A Ginko tree branch in the Oxford Botannical Gardens years ago.

Lately I have stumbled across the word evolving in several contexts.  Politicians who would have been accused of flip-flopping a few years ago, tell us they have been evolving when they take a 180 degree turn on a previously held position.

So what’s the matter with saying, I’ve changed my mind, or what I told you a few years ago was a big fat lie? Neither would work in a sound bite promulgated by the opposition of course.

I have also heard the word evolving with regard to bones archeologists recently recovered in East Africa, which indicate several kinds of human animals co-existed several hundreds of thousands years ago. Thus, the single human who believed to be the parent of us all is much more ancient than scientists thought.

Does this mean all those charts that show man (humankind) has only been around in the last hour of planet life could be wrong?

Evolving is the operative word for the AARP this week, which issued an alert concerning skin cancer. Seems all these aging Baby-Boomer sun-worshippers are in for a big shock.

The odds of developing skin cancer like breast cancer increase as you age. Particularly if you are like me and have very white skin, i.e., Northern European in origin.

AARP posted the five (ABCDE) warning signs of skin cancer, the last being ‘evolving.’


Dr Walia, the dermatologist I see every six months biopsied my toe yesterday, and it hurts like heck today. I’ll get the results back in a couple of weeks.

She was quite agitated about the diagnosis of aggressive melanoma on my back for which I will undergo surgery next week. The first words out of her mouth were you need to see your oncologist to make sure it hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes.  So dutifully, I called Dr Christie’s practice and am scheduled to see him in two weeks when the path results from the surgery are complete.

Dr Walia reminded me three times that the cancer was “not there” in December.  At that time, I was doing so well from the previous skin cancers (Melanoma, Basal and Squamous) that she thought perhaps I could drop back and see her only once per year. She asked me what I thought, and ever the conservative when it comes to my health, I said, I’ll come in May near my birthday and we can decide then.  Thank God I did.  Yesterday she said I should go on the very three-month schedule.

Only about 7% of skin cancers are melanoma, and of those aggressive melanoma is an even smaller percent. From what I’ve read, researchers think some people carry a gene for this aggressive melanoma. People most at risk of carrying the gene are northern European in origin. However, sunlight is also a factor. Without the sun, the aggressive melanoma might never express itself. Or, something like that.

But any skin cancer can kill, and anyone can develop skin cancer anytime. I had my first melanoma when I was 19.  The difference is how fast or how slowly death occurs. So get yourself to a dermatologist, it could save your life, for a while anyway.


Okay, think what you will, but yesterday, Kathy brought me a little bottle of holy water from Lourdes. Brother D made a pilgrimage a year or so ago to this sacred spring and brought home a big vial of the water.  When I was ill last year, Dunstan gave me a ‘real’ rosary made from rose petals by nuns at Lourdes, although he bought it in Jerusalem.

I can hear some of my anthropologist pals saying Brother D sounds like a Juju man, and maybe he is.  But strange things happen as anyone who deals in magic knows.

When I did ethnographic research in the immigrant community here in DC, I encountered more than one practitioner of witchcraft.  I love magical practices and miracles do happen. Probability Statistics is magic.  The light spectrum is a miracle.

I believe every faith taps into a greater power, or as Joseph Campbell said, ‘The thing that stands Behind.”  Problems arise when pride leads one to say ‘my interpretation is the truth.’  I’ve known Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Quakers, Christian Scientists, secular Scientists, and Seventh Day Adventists.  I grew up with Irish Catholic priests and nuns. I have great respect for religion and science, but both are human constructs and therefore imperfect.

I put great faith in my doctors who are all wizards in one way or another.

I’ve known many miracles, my daughter being one of them. I also know our days are numbered and we do not know the hour of our death.

26 thoughts on “Evolving

  1. I’m really sorry to read all this, but I am so glad you are on top of things. Personally, my skin looks like hell, but no comments from last weeks visit to the doc. Got the crowns in today without a shot….so we have progress here. Progress there too,…Of a sort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could say something macabre, like one foot in the grave, but I won’t. Teeth are an issue here too. David is upset because he had to pull $2,000 out of his savings for a new crown, Insurance only covered $660. He says that’s his savings for old age. I tell him you are old. Our medical last year was $20,000 above Medicare and two insurance policies.

      Discovered one of my granddaughters is using a tanning bed. Strongly advised her to eschew such practice. Major killer. I wish they would outlaw tanning beds in the U.S.


  2. Boy, you really got my attention with the holy water. Coming from a strict Catholic family, holy water was used frequently. When I was a horrible, rebellious teen, my grandmother threw some on me, and I swear, not long after that, I began to turn it around.

    I do hope your skin cancers are not malignant. Thanks for the warning. I have French/Italian heritage, but my husband is Northern European with fair skin and blue eyes. He sees the dermatologist every 3 months to keep those growths in order. My best to you!


  3. Best wishes …every thing helps, prayers, blessings, rosaries, juju beads, happy thoughts, I wouldnt( and haven’t) turned down anything anyone offers to send our way when we’ve gone through stuff. But like you I put my faith in the “wizardry” of modern medicine.

    I think the sun gets harsher each year too, even if we were younger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes those wizards in white coats are important. In the end, however, I am my own best doctor, keeping track of everything as best I can. Yes, the sun seems much harsher and we live in a warm climate to begin. My poor peonies burned up in one day this year.


  4. I’ve had a number of those pre-cancerous moles removed over the years. Just had my latest skin check last week, and was pronounced “all clean.” Anyway, may all your moles and melanomas be benign, or removable … or at least manageable.


    • I see my dermatologist every three months. I hope this latest episode ends well also. Don’t want to scare anyone, but encourage everyone to see your dermatologist. Especially if you are over age 50.


  5. Australians have an expression – you’ll be right mate. It’s a way of showing support – that’s all I can say. Not one ideal is better than another, just believe.


  6. I’ve showed dermatologists and my primary care nurse growths and concerns which they said were normal skin growth. They seemed to think because my skin was darker I didn’t have to worry. However, my uncle and Art’s cousin have both had melanoma, so I don’t think being darker skinned is complete protection like some people think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, darker skin Is no protection at all. We each of us have some risk and exposure to sun makes it worse. The other startling fact is what grows on the outside can grow on the inside. This is why I have the colonoscopy and endoscopy every three years.

      The good news for me, probability suggests, is that the Acid issue I have with my gut may burn off any potentially deadly polyps in my gut. The downside of the acid reflux is that it hardens the Esophagus and can lead to Barrett’s disease which is a precursor to esophageal and stomach cancer.
      The body is an incredible thing.


  7. For as many “birth”days we have in our logbook, we have an equal number of deathdays. Only thing is, we don’t know which day it is. It’s a morbid game I play every now and again. Is it today? was it a month ago Tuesday? Then I freak myself out and carry on. The only option, really.
    To this line, “I have great respect for religion and science, but both are human constructs and therefore imperfect.” all I can say is, Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for the reminder. My family is prone to skin cancer too. Keeping you in my prayers and sending some juju for good measure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s