My Good Side, or Why I Didn't Shave For a Week

You know how someone will always tell photographers to be sure to get their good side? Well, I now have a good side. Yes, you are looking at it in the photo above. Yes, that’s as good as my good side gets. And yes, I know I haven’t shaved in almost a week. But just ignore that for now.

So what makes one side a good side when compared to the other side? The main thing that makes the other side the not-good side is the large scar that is now on the side of my face, near my ear. No, that scar isn’t from some freak engineering accident, or from some strange farm-related tractor incident, or from some photography experiment gone awry.

The scar is from skin cancer.

No, it was nothing serious. They say it was just a Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is apparently the most frequently occurring and least threatening type of skin cancer there is. One of the downsides to having fair skin, they say. I had first noticed this spot a year or so ago, and it never would seem to heal, letting me know that it wasn’t just something normal. So I went in for a routine surgical procedure to have it removed last week, and the doctor said that she got it all on the first pass. She then stitched it up, and the stitches were taken out yesterday. Which means that I can now go back to shaving again, in case that sort of thing bothers you. No, I don’t have plans to quit shaving entirely, because my salt and pepper beard heavily leans to the salt side. And the scar will probably even mostly go away over time, she said.

As a good friend said the other day, “SPF is our friend.” And if you know us, you know that we strongly believe in sunscreen and a beach umbrella when we are at the beach, limiting our sun exposure as much as we can when we are there. I will even put on sunscreen when I am going out to cut the grass for a couple of hours, or if I know I am going to be sitting in the sun at a football game. But apparently, this spot got through the SPF cracks somehow. And the doctor said that because I am young (relative to the majority of the patients she sees, I’m guessing, since 43 isn’t all that young to everyone), because of my fair skin, because of my family history of skin cancer (thanks for nothing, ancestor-type people), and because I have already had one instance, I will probably get more of these. Which means that I will try even harder to make SPF an even better friend.

And no, if you are wondering, I wouldn’t consider myself a “cancer survivor.” Because those people who have survived bouts with serious forms of cancer have been through much more than I could ever imagine. They have truly survived. I just got some stitches and didn’t shave for a week. It was more of a survival for Laura who had to look at me every day.

So now, if you are taking my picture, please be sure to get my good side. But hopefully the bad side isn’t so bad. And it will be a reminder to me to keep SPF as my friend.

And for all of you who like lots of sun exposure, I would recommend that you do the same. And if you have a place on your skin that concerns you, it wouldn’t hurt to get a dermatologist to check it out. Because you can’t be too careful when it comes to your skin.

World Bible School

Burnsland Email

Burnsland avatar
Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.