"I fought the Sun and the Sun won. I fought the Sun and the Sun won." The words to that particular song came to me the other day. Itís an old rock song, canít remember who sang it and it really says, "I fought the Law and the Law won." Since I never fight with the law but have been doing battle with the sun for years, I figured the original writers wouldnít mind me changing the words a little bit.
The sun and I have had an ongoing argument. It seems I have worked outside most my life and in the summer I tell the sun, "I WILL wear short sleeve shirts, go hatless, and, if itís not the hay field, wear shorts."
The sun has responded by saying, "Burn, baby, burn." The sun is never wordy.
After having several precancerous places removed from my face, my dermatologist informed me that I had cancer now over most my face and also the bottom lip and a couple places on the arm and leg. The good news was that it was not melanoma, just another type that does not spread.
"And have I got a product for you," the dermatologist said. "This medicine in a little tube will take care of that cancer. Just spread this cream all over your face and lip and parts of your arm and leg once a day for 31 days, and it will kill out that cancer. Youíll look a mess, but it will kill out that cancer. And, the worse you look, the better it is for you. Oh, use gloves when applying and throw the gloves away. And, you probably wonĎt feel like eating."
Basically it was chemo in a tube. But, did I hear a challenge? Iíd been doing battle with the sun for years, firmly believing in my right of no hat and short clothes in the summer and had lost that battle. This sounded like a battle and something I could win. I was in.
After all, I was a goat farmer and nothing is tougher than a goat farmer. Look at all the teasing and looks of disbelief we get from everyone when we say what we do. We get it even from the agricultural portion of our country. So, hand me that tube of face medicine and stand back. This goat farmer had to get busy.
First thing I noticed was that the medicine made me very sensitive to sunlight. Youíd see me hot footing (hot facing?) it back to the house to get a big floppy hat. That medicine put a real burn on you if it even came close to sunlight. I started doing the major portion of my chores before the sun came up and after it went down.
I found myself feeling sympathetic to Count Dracula. Poor, poor Count Dracula. I could be sitting in the house and "feel" the sun rising up outside. A burn would start on my face, even without me being in the sun, and help me Hannah if I was standing unprotected outside. You found me diving for shade. I even started mowing our lawn at night. Thank goodness for lawn mower head lights. Lee took to calling me "Count Connie."
After a week the spots started appearing on my face. Looked like I was getting a really bad case of measles. Then the lip swelled, festered, and kept a continual seeping, bleeding thing going. I found myself carrying wet paper towels with me to keep dabbing up that pesky lip. And, Vaseline became a constant companion. Smearing it over the sore places and lip was soothing and kept the lip working. Wonder if Count Dracula ever discovered that when he accidentally stuck his nose out in the daylight?
Mom wanted to know how Lee would ever be able to sit across from me at the dinner table without getting sick. Then she said, "Oh, forget that. He helps with kidding. Heíll be able to stand anything."
So, I asked him that evening as we sat down to supper. I had carefully cut up my meat in small bites to fit in past my yucky lip, and then dabbed at my seeping bleeding lip as I chewed, and asked if he wanted me to go eat in the living room because I was probably making him sick.
"Naw," he answered between bites. "You want the rest of that? If you canít eat it, Iíll finish it for you."
You can see why I love the man. He has such a sweet sensitive soul.
I did have to start drinking all my liquids with a straw, trying to bypass The Lip, as I began to call it. I soon discovered there is an art to drinking hot tea with a straw. You suck too strongly and you got a mouthful of super hot liquid sitting in your mouth. Not good. So, you learn to daintily suck it up.
Day 24 the doctor calls up and wants to see my face. As I walked into the office the receptionist says, "Oh, you look beautiful!" She was so pleased with me. Finally, I had found someone who appreciated my festery face. A fellow in the waiting area didnít bother to look up. He had two teeny tiny red dots on his forehead and I knew by the looks of them they were getting "the treatment."
That fellow was called ahead of me and then finally it was my turn. The nurse was ecstatic. "You look wonderful! You just broke out in sores all over! You know that fellow ahead of you? All he could do was complain and whine how much those two tiny spots hurt. Man, he should have taken a look at you! Men just arenít tough over things like this."
The doctor came in and was almost bouncing up and down in glee. I dabbed at my bleeding festered lip. "So, you think it worked?" I asked.
He informed me I could stop the treatments now and start on the healing. He had this nice tube of cream that would get me on the road of healing. Twice a day for two weeks and donít go over two weeks he warned.
My sister asked me if I would turn into a pumpkin if I went over two weeks. I decided to not challenge the doctor on this. When I started rubbing that cream in, I almost had to peel myself from the ceiling. The healing cream was more hurtful then the treatment! I wimped out and only did one treatment with the cream on the second day. But, I picked up the challenge on the third day and did both treatments. After all, who was I? A GOAT FARMER! I shouted. Whoís tougher then a goat farmer? "NO ONE!" I shouted back. Okay, I was starting to get a little strange there, but I was in pain. Cut me a break.
Day five and itís getting easier to put the healing cream on. And what did the goats think of my strange festered face? They said my grain bucket was looking better and better.