Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness - Days 28-30

I am thankful for modern medicine and early detection.  Several weeks ago, I mentioned something about an incision on my arm.  Well back in August, I went to the dermatologist for what I thought was a routine mole check.  There was one on my arm that I had been keeping an eye on because it itched slightly and seemed to scab over like dry skin might do.  The doctor said she didn't think it was anything but because I mentioned it, she'd go ahead and do a biopsy.  She went on to tell me the procedure for getting the results - they'd only call if there was a problem, otherwise they'd just send a letter.  Again, she reassured me she didn't think it was anything.  

Less than a week later, I got a call from an unfamiliar number.  There was a very kind, soft spoken lady on the other end from my dermatologist's office.  She went on to tell me that the mole results came back cancerous and I immediately felt my stomach sink.  My heart began to race and I could feel my nerves taking over.  At that point, I knew very little about the different kinds of skin cancer, just that Melanoma was often deadly.  The lady had clearly made these phone calls a few times, because she was so calm and very reassuring.  I asked her to repeat (and spell) the type of cells they found and she said it was Squamous Cell. She advised me someone would be calling from the surgery center to schedule an appointment to have more of the mole surgically removed (dug out).

I was too afraid to Google the form of cancer that day.  Instead, I proceeded to take my lunch break and call my husband.  That's when the flood gates opened and I lost it.  All I could think about was fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of leaving this world too soon, fear of my children growing up without a mother, fear of my husband having to raise 2 boys alone.  Wes was unbelievably calm.  He asked if he needed to come home to console me.  No, I told him, I would be okay.  Truth is, I felt better just getting it off my chest.  

The next day I mustered up the courage to Google it.  My fears were eased when I learned this was not the terminal kind of cancer.  I was further relieved to learn that the surgeon performing my surgery has a 99% success rate.  I could feel my blood begin to return to it's normal flow and the tension began to lift.  It was a long 3 weeks before my surgery, but the day finally came.

Of course I was met with my normal nervous stomach that morning.  The nurses did their part to reassure me it was no big deal, but they weren't the ones having the surgery!  I could not have asked for a more informative, thorough, or handsome doctor.  He made me feel better immediately when he told me this was one of the smallest affected areas he had ever seen.  He was able to remove the tissue in one shot, of which I am also thankful for!

So the moral of the story is two-fold.  One, have a mole check annually.  It's one of the easiest preventative measures you can take!  It's usually covered by insurance and it only takes about 15 minutes.  You're sill to putt if off.  Seriously.

Second, don't take a single day for granted.  Don't wait to let something happen before you realize each day is precious and a gift from God.  Hug your kids a minute longer, don't go to bed mad at your spouse, tell your loved ones you love them, and realize that we're not promised tomorrow, so live for today!  I'm thankful for this realization and that I was given the green light that the cancer was successfully removed!!



  1. Wow! We had no idea any of this was going on! Glad things are okay.

  2. Of course you didn't because it might actually reveal something about myself to not be so private all the time. Thanks for your concern.

  3. I know it takes a lot to share something so scary and personal like that, but I'm glad you did! I think everyone needs the reminder to not take every day for granted! Glad you're okay =)

  4. So glad all is well! My grandfather had melanoma, so I'm on the yearly check list with my local derm and informally ask April to look at spots all the time : )

    I saw my oncologist yesterday for my every-3-month appointment, and although I wish I had never had to go through that experience, and know I will again someday, it's a pretty good reminder 4 times a year to cherish what you have every day : )

  5. Glad to hear all is well. My passion is derm and I am an avid believer (and tell all my patients) to going yearly....wear a GOOD brand of sunscreen (for everyone in your family...applying 30min prior to going outside and reaplying every few hours)...wear hats/sunglasses in the summer....and screw tanning beds!!! :)

  6. I am so glad this turned out to be nothing (and am sorry I'm just now reading). My younger brother had this same type of thing, in a small spot near his ankle (top of where his socks hit). Fortunately it was nothing, but I remember worrying a lot. I'm glad you got checked out!