"I don't care how I look," I told him. "Is this spot precancerous or something?"
"Okay," he said, breezily. All righty then. Cream it is. Do I need to stay out of the sun?
"If you want," he said. "Whatever. My nurse can give you the details." And he's off.
I put on my first application of cream. Twice a day for fourteen days, my doctor says. I know from my research that most people go three or even four weeks. I stare nervously at my face. We have started something here, and only great pain will resolve it. It is like finding yourself pregnant with a really ugly baby.
"Yeah, you should probably keep going," she says, "but let me message the doctor. I'll get back to you."
"Are you sure?" I say. "I mean, I've gone to all this trouble, and I'm willing to keep going. Am I supposed to lose all this time in? What if he tells me next time I have to start over? I'd have to murder him, and that wouldn't be good for either of us."
"I'm sure," she says. "It's right here in black and white." Well then. Can't argue with those colors.
So there it is. My dermatologist wants me to march right up to the edge of cancer with spears and cauldrons of boiling oil, and then stop short of the fortress and go booga booga booga. If my actinic keratoses are as easily startled as I am, it just might work.
To be continued.