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I May Have a Problem

Heidi Shenk "summer"

I'm not going to lie, I think I may have a serious problem. Hi, I'm Heidi, and I have a serious issue with the sun. This is a long time thing, not something that has turned up overnight or in the past year or so. This may possibly be a genetic thing inherited from my mother. It is the problem of burning your butt.

It stems from many summers going to Lake Michigan for some beach time with my mom and sister. It also is harvested in the 14 summers spent camping on Lake Superior in Ontario at Pancake Bay. (Seriously, even if you are not the camping type, just suck it up and go camping there for a week sometime in your life and you will thank me. Most peaceful, gorgeous, and uncrowded beach on this earth.)
 See, I would not lie. Even Lilah loves camping there.
Anyway, I got a little off track with my Pancake Bay sales pitch, which probably wasn't a good idea because now all of you will flock there and it will no longer be peaceful and uncrowded. Back to the original issue at hand.

This is what happens. You go to the beach with your mom. You are determined to work on that nice suntan. It is a bit cloudy in the morning when you set up your spot on the beach so you say to each other, "I'm going to wait a bit and then I'll put my sunscreen on." Then about half an hour later, you say to each other, "Okay, we should probably put on some sunscreen." And by this, I mean you must bust out the SPF 4. Many of you may question this and ask yourselves, you mean they make SPF 4?

It doesn't end there, my friends. About an hour and a half later it is time to get out of the sun for some lunch. You admire how tan you are looking, but you clearly both agree that you could get a bit darker. So for safety's sake, you say to each other, "I think we should go back to the beach yet this afternoon, but maybe we should use SPF 8 this time." See how we did that? We were ratcheting up the SPF from 4 to 8. Brilliant plan!

Oh yes, this is true. This is exactly how it goes down every single time. And when you return from a late afternoon suntanning session on the beach, you tell each other, "No, you don't look red at all. You look tan." As you cook dinner, lounge around the campsite (or lounge around the house as it is after returning from a Lake Michigan outing) you don't think about your relaxation in the sun one bit.

Five hours later as you move in some strange position in a chair, it hits you. You have gone and burned your butt yet again. A quick look in the mirror confirms that this is true. There is a tell-tale line that separates bright white and deep red on each of your butt cheeks.

Well friends, I did it again. I was up on the roof deck the other day and I burned my butt. Inevitably, I spend the next three days recuperating from burning my butt by freaking out that I have developed melanoma. Then I start to google melanoma and look at gross pictures to confirm that yes, that is just a sunspot and not a cancerous growth. (Please don't google images of melanoma. It is gross. I have spared you by not posting a photo here. Now I warned you, so as you immediately go to google it, don't blame me.)
After I get over the fact that I did not develop melanoma from burning my butt, I put that swimsuit back on and head to the roof deck armed with my SPF 4 tanning oil. And I'm sure in a few days I will think once again that it is a good idea to stay out a little too long in the sun and I will burn my butt. Yes, I have a problem, as I had previously stated.

Anyone else have a similar issue or am I alone here?

P.S. I am sure some of you will be concerned for my health and think I am not taking this seriously. I can assure you in reality I do as I have known people that dealt with melanoma. I just had to write this P.S. as a little disclaimer for those that may freak out.

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