After finally making the decision to see a dermatologist things moved really, really fast. Two plus years of waiting and making excuses and suddenly I was in the dermatologist’s office waiting for her to tell me I’m silly and that I was all worried about an infected zit or something. Because while deep down I knew I had skin cancer… I really, really wanted to be wrong.
Instead of telling me I was silly the conversation went something like this:
Her: “So, you’ve got a problem spot I hear. Tell me a bit about it.”
Me: “Well, I discovered it about two and a half years ago…” (well, you know the story)
Her: “I see you’ve covered it up with a bit of makeup. I don’t blame you at all… but, I gotta be the bad guy and take your make up off just a bit here.”
See, she was really nice and pretty funny. She set me at ease entirely. To the point that I too was joking back and forth with her. I was all… “Hi, I think I have skin cancer and now I’m gonna make you laugh.” People freak out in all kinds of ways. That day, I chose jokes at my expense.
After cleaning off the spot she looked at it for about a millisecond before saying:
Her: “I’m going to go ahead and do a skin biopsy today. I am pretty sure you have skin cancer.”
Me: “Yep, I thought so.”
Her: “But, I’m also pretty sure that it is basal cell carcinoma which is the least scary types of skin cancer.”
Me: “Oh, that’s good.”
At this point I shut off all words… basically the only words I really heard were CANCER and CARCINOMA. Seriously, aren’t those the scariest words ever?
She had me lay back on the exam table and prepared me for what she was going to do. It was a simple procedure that included her giving me a shot of numbing goodness (which hurt like hell, but made it to where I couldn’t feel a thing) and then shaved off the mole. She then put it in a sample container to go off to the lab.
Her: “How old are you again? (Jotting things down on a chart.)
Her: “Oh, that’s young.”
Next came the cauterizing… this time it did hurt. But, as soon as she heard me gasp she gave me another shot.
Me: “I handled child-birth, I shouldn’t be such a wimp!”
Her: (After a chuckle…) “All done! So, do you want to see what it looks like now, or wait til you get home and take off your bandaid?”
Me: “Now, I think.”
What I saw wasn’t a pretty picture. My tiny mole suddenly was a crater in my head. (It really wasn’t THAT big.) The cauterizing made the wound seize up and make a divot. Today, around 4 weeks later, it is a small slightly shiny patch of healed skin. No big deal.
Her: “So, you’ll hear back either way in two weeks or less. If it is cancer you’ll get a call, if it isn’t you’ll get a letter in the mail.”
I was smiling when I left the doctor’s office. Then, as soon as I reached my car, it all hit. Words like “cancer,” “carcinoma,” and “young” floated around in my head. I wanted my mom and dad. I didn’t want to be an adult anymore and I didn’t want to be dealing with this at all. Basically in about the 1 minute it took me to get to my car I became a blubbering mess.
I knew things could have been MUCH worse. Maybe the break down was partially in relief that it wasn’t worse? Maybe it was all my adrenaline finally letting down. The nervous pit I’d had in my belly for a year or more was finally calming a bit? I don’t know. But, going back to work that day was not easy, nor entirely productive.
I calmed down after that first day. Well, I thought I did, until the first time a number I didn’t recognize came up on my cell phone. I was in the middle of giving a presentation when I noticed out of the corner of my eye my phone light up and the number flash across the screen. Suddenly my palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. I was SAD. The tears came all over again when I finally got around to listening to my message and finding out that I had photos to pick up at Walgreens.
Over a week went by without a phone call and I thought *maybe* just maybe the doctor was wrong. But, the call came.
Random stranger from the office giving me life altering news: “Yes, Jennifer? We got your results in and you have Basal Cell Carcinoma. We’d like to schedule a Mohs Surgery right away.”
Random stranger: “Really though, if you have to have skin cancer… this is the one you want to have. You’ve got a great surgeon and the surgery is really successful.”
Me: “Okay. Thank you.”
That is a lot to share up there. It is a lot to read. I don’t even have pretty photos to break it all up. Thank you for letting me share my story with you. I promise I have loads of fun things coming up soon. (Fun like party DIYS, recipes, and fashion posts!) But, I feel that I need to share this story of my life in my space here. And, if it helps one person go get checked, feel like they aren’t alone, or bring more awareness to skin cancer then it will be totally worth it.