While at a recent doctor’s visit where I was being evaluated for a sore neck, I asked my general practitioner (who was going to be a plastic surgeon but decided he was tired of all the extra years in training) to remove a skin tag from my back that had been bugging me.
To be honest, it had been bugging my vanity, since I knew people could see it when I played tennis and exposed that area below my shoulders.
It felt like a huge growth back there, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, at least to me.
So when my doc said it would take two quick minutes to numb me and then burn it off, I was game.
But when he got to work on it, he realized it may be more than a simple skin tag, so he took a sliver and sent it off for biopsy.
A week and a half later, his secretary was on the phone telling me the biopsy showed cancer. Melanoma. But I didn’t really hear the Melanoma part. My heart had stopped at cancer.
Just the word makes me anxious after watching my father—the strongest man I know—go through a struggle that he ultimately lost against the cruel disease. It tortured him each day, and despite his determination, the damn disease won.
My mind was instantly brought back to the present as the secretary told me to get to a specialist as soon as possible.
I hung up with her and made an appointment for a few days later with an oncologist specializing in Melanoma.
Then, I told myself not to even worry about it until I saw the specialist.
I did tell a friend. And my husband, but I only told him after our ump-teenth argument, where I blurted out that I couldn’t fight him AND cancer.
That pretty much changed the conversation.
I made him promise not to bring it up all weekend. He tends to get overly dramatic sometimes and the last thing I needed was for him to be planning my funeral before I even saw the specialist.
I was good with not thinking about it much all weekend.
Him, not so much. When he came with me to the appointment to the specialist, he got a little emotional.
Especially when we were told the lab results showed it wasn’t Melanoma after all. It was just Basal Cell Carcinoma… yeah, I didn’t know what it was, either. But the oncologist explained this is really common and very unlikely to kill me (my apologies to my handful of enemies…I intend to keep on kicking for a while).
So, yay me, right?!
Tomorrow I will have the rest of the growth (which in my case, runs pretty deep) removed in a simple little surgical procedure that should take about an hour.
In and out and over with.
It was a close call, but it turns out this time, I dodged the bullet, so to speak.
I sure do wish more people could say the same. My dad especially. Knowing what it did to him, I’m glad my children won’t have to see me go through something similar, at least not yet.