Coming to Terms with Skin Cancer at The Four Seasons

+ enlarge

When I made initial plans to stay at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, I never for a moment would have thought that the surrounding Sonoran Desert and the craggy precipices of Pinnacle Peak would envelop me in a warm blanket of restoration and rejuvenation.

Let me elaborate. Earlier that day, I reluctantly and petulantly kept my appointment at the dermatologist for a biopsy on my face. Within five minutes of sitting in his office, I knew that things were not about to go my way. Skin cancer removal procedures were discussed and through the flowing tears, I knew that this appointment was just a formality.

On arrival back home, I decided to escape the world and life’s harsh realities and retire to my bed. Disappearing into the darkness of my new situation, I could hear my mother and long suffering husband padding about in silence, not knowing what to say or do. Just as soon as the darkness had descended on me, I remembered I had a rather luxurious appointment to keep as a guest of the Four Seasons Resort!

With a new strength of spirit, I got up, re-applied my make-up around the rather large plaster on my face and summoned my Mum to pack her case! I was not about to miss-out on a December night in the Desert! Driving along Happy Valley Road and admiring the multi-million dollar homes set into the base of the mountains, the sky turned tricks with a magical mix of pinks blended with the frosty hue of a winter’s sky.

It really did feel like ‘December in the Desert.’ As we turned into the well-hidden entrance to the resort, soft, twinkling lights enveloped the rows of mature saguaro cacti, and we were soon ushered into the warmth of the reception area with a cup of steaming hot apple cider. I knew things could only get better.

Situated on 127 acres of land formerly owned by cereal heiress Lois Kellogg Maury, the Four Seasons has been exceptional at blending the resort with the surrounding desert. The 210 rooms and suites melt into the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, and designed with typical Southwestern flair, the rooms are warm, spacious and comfortable.

As the winter nighttime sky turned dark, the city of Phoenix below switched on its city lights and we breathed in the wood smoke air from the privacy of our balcony. Dinner had been arranged for us at Acacia, and as we nestled down at our table in front of the fireplace, the Epicurean show began, as serving after serving of the finest food was laid out in front of us: chilled jumbo tiger prawns and Lobster Louis, roasted Colorado rack of lamb, 8 oz. Alaskan King Salmon with the most delicious cauliflower gratin, champagne and caviar beurre blanc, all accompanied of course with lashings and lashings of Californian Chardonnay.

Sitting there, enjoying the feast, I contemplated how life, in the space of only one day, can be so shocking in its ability to put us on a roller coaster of emotions. As I pulled the sheets of finest cotton over my head for the second time that day, I knew that the combination of Four Seasons’ expertise and the desert landscape had helped to restore and rejuvenate my fragile soul.

Next morning, as the rising sun chipped off the jagged rocks of Pinnacle Peak, I crept out quietly to keep yet another appointment, my Refreshing Break at the Spa. Sinking into the gigantic balneotherapy bath, I was left to soak, relax and contemplate for a full thirty minutes.

Reflecting on the day before, I realized that our spirit is an important part of recovery, and that care of the body and mind go hand in hand in order to ensure optimal health. As my therapist skillfully worked on my body, releasing the stress points and allowing the lymphatic system to do its work, I emerged from the treatment room feeling fuzzy, warm and sleepy.

Rested, relaxed and restored, I was ready, once again, to face the challenges of my new situation.


Author Health Update!

Recent research, particularly from Australia, is blaming the chemicals in sunscreen for causing the rising incidences of skin cancer. We have all been told to cover up and protect ourselves from the dangers of the sun, but the more I find out on the subject, the more astonished I become.

After receiving Mohs surgery to eradicate the cancer on my face, I was left wondering what I should do. Then I discovered the benefits of extra-virgin coconut oil. In the tropics, it is used as a natural sunscreen, and this is what I now put on my skin, accompanied by ‘Aubrey Organics’ Natural Sun SPF 25.

I am also in the care of a Naturopathic MD and am having a series of colonic hydrotherapies. A Rolfer is also working on my body and we are having some great success with that!

Another important discovery, which took me some time to get my head around, was ‘taking the sun.’ This feels a bit strange at first, as your natural instinct is to avoid the so-called harmful rays, so each morning I sit outside, covered in coconut oil and I gradually increase my sun exposure at the safest time of the morning. This helps to build up the supply of vitamin D in the body.

Growing up in Scotland, I was never considered to be a sun worshiper. I went to a tanning salon once and hated it! It’s all a bit of a mystery to me. The most important thing I have learned from this experience is that I am 100 percent responsible for my healthcare and the decisions I make.

The information is out there!

From the food we eat to the way we cook it, from the toxins we are exposed to, it’s up to us to make intelligent choices. The microwave is now banned in my house, the kitchen is stocked with organically grown food, and there is not a chemical in sight—only a huge container of vinegar to clean with!

A positive attitude, a loving family and continuing on with my travel writing keeps the fear away.

By Michelle McDermott


Loading comments...