Ever since I was a kid, I loved playing outside. Almost every day you could find me throwing a baseball or football or hitting a golf ball. I was lucky enough to be able to do that for a living for almost 20 years. I played professional baseball from 1989-2002 with the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. After my baseball career ended in 2002, I played on the Celebrity Golfer Tour until 2008. What a great gig! Being in the sun all day was just up my alley.
In 2001 with the Orioles, the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center was offering free skin cancer screenings for the team. As usual, I made excuses to myself not do it. I was only 33 years old. I never felt stronger and healthier in my life. Older people get skin cancer. But, I agreed to do it only because of all the screenings I had turned down in the past. The doctors immediately expressed concern to an area beneath my right eye. The next day I was at Johns Hopkins having the growth biopsied. It was diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Within 2 days, I had a nickel sized circle cut out of my cheek to remove the entire growth. 10 stitches later and I was back playing. The doctors urged me to stay committed to skin cancer screenings and to never go without sunscreen.
Before that day I had always made excuses to ignore certain problems. I was the kind of guy to overlook health related issues. Since that day I realized that early detection is the key to prevention in almost all health related problems. Many of my former MLB teammates and opponents have had similar skin problems. Some a lot worse! What would have happened if I continued making up excuses to not do the screening?