Well, as if we don’t have enough on our plate with a new baby, a fit-throwing terribly 2-year-old, job loss, my possible return to the work force and medical bills, we also found out this week that I have skin cancer.
Months ago, when I was still hugely pregnant, my stepmother told me to get a mole checked. It’s a mole I’ve had my whole life, but, it has gotten large and more irregular over the years. However, because it was located behind my ear, I never paid it much attention. After an initial meeting with the dermatologist, that mole along with 2 others were scheduled for removal after the birth of our daughter.
I didn’t want to jinx myself back then, but I had a nagging suspicion when Pixie kept trying to get here early that there was a reason for it. Lo and behold, my worst fears proved correct. I had the moles removed two weeks before I was even supposed to have had my first appointment because she was here.
On my husband’s birthday, I got the call letting me know the mole on my neck came back positive for squamous-cell carcinoma–the same type of skin cancer my father has. At the time, I was in my mother’s SUV with my mom and sister and all of our kids. I did my best to not fall apart, to not panic.
1. I didn’t have a whole lot of information.
2. I didn’t want to scare the kids.
I had about 15 minutes to get the idea firmly rooted in my head, so when we reached my mother’s, I was able to calmly tell my sister, “I have skin cancer” and insist that she make an appointment to get checked as well.
Fortunately, my sister knows me very well. She could tell I was barely hanging on and gave me the opportunity to have a few minutes to myself. While I was out, I called my stepmom. I knew from past experience that looking things up online, especially illnesses, is a TERRIBLE idea. The internet, even credible sites, list every possibility, and if you aren’t careful, you can end up convinced you are dying from a cold.
Anyway, our talk was a great idea. I immediately felt calmer. I immediately was able to put a lid on the panic that was rising. She had been through the process before. She knew what was next for me. She new that the type of skin cancer I have is the least dangerous of the 3 types. I felt like I could breathe again.
I would be lying if I told you I have been able to stay calm, though.
I’ve had my moments.
Regardless of the outcome of my next procedure (in August), I have been forced to face my worst fear. I have been forced to make a few practical preparations. It’s good. I needed to get these things together for my husband anyway (None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow) but it has been frightening. At least now I know he will be able to access our billing accounts and get to my personal writings for the kids along with the important papers.
Now we just keep going forward.
Now we just keep looking for jobs, and keep scheduling appointments and see where we go from here.
I know one thing for sure, I’m getting a tattoo. I’ve been holding out because I’ve always really liked my skin. But screw it. I’m pissed. If my skin isn’t going to do it’s job and protect me, then I’m not going to protect it. I’ll cover up some scars and make my husband happy and indulge in a secret want of mine.
I just have to decide which one I want to start with.