Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skin Cancer ~ Holy Moley!

So that's what the Lady Doctor said. We'll call her Dr. Derriere Derma.

This was not a routine check-up but a referral from not one, but two other physicians who said recently..."You know Ms. Pencil Skirt, I think you should have a dermatologist look at this place on your back."
Of course, I, in typical hypochondriac-swoon-dramatic fashion replied, "WHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAT??!" What does it LOOOOKK like??! Is it....?"

And thus began the story of the 3 moles. 
We'll call them Molly (#1) Milly (#2) and Sully (#3)
I was just sulky.

Rewind 2 months ago: Doctor Death #1 and bearer of good news overall: "Miss Pencil Skirt, I think you should have this place on your lower back looked at by a dermatologist. Juuuuust in case." 
"WhhhhhhhhhhhhhAAAAAAAAAAAt??! What does it LOOOOOOK like?" Is it...?
"Well, you never can be too sure. Just have it looked at it. Okay?"
Molly was born.

He sure knew how to raise a girl's blood pressure.
One week later: Enter Doctor Death of The Hypertension Variety #2:  Well, you're not so good on the BP today, Mimi, but I don't see what the fuss is about Molly. Looks fine to me. Don't worry about it."
"But Doctor D #1 insisted I have it looked at it."
"Don't know what he was seeing but I don't think it's necessary."
Exhale and exit. I went to get an ice cream cone before the cholesterol meds start. Why not?
Blood pressure lowered and beginning to feel like a see-saw.
Doctors! Can't they agree on annnnything?

I started to leave.
"Oh, wait, Miss PS....this one right here however. Ummm.....that one needs to go."
Meet Milly. 

"Whhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttt? What does it LOOOOOOOKKK like?"
**checking blood pressure again**
"It's dark, it's sorta round and it should come off."
"There??! You mean thhheeerrrree??!
"There, Miss Pencil Skirt."
"Does it look baaaaaad?"
**doctor D #2 snickered**
"It should be removed."
"You mean right away?"
"I'll get you an appointment with Dr. Derma Derriere if you'd like."
"Okay. But ...but...but...

I'd say anytime in the next year will be fine."

"But that's the one we've been WATCHING. I KNEW I should have been watching. SOMEbody should have been watching and it certainly has not been me. I'm doomed!! All this time I've been watching the wrong thing, Doctor Death #1 has been watching the wrong thing and besides, I can't even see it unless I contort myself at an excruciating angle in the bathroom mirror. How am I supposed to watch something I can't see? What kind of convoluted medical advice is that??" You KNOW I'm a hypochondriac. I shouldn't be told to watch things I have no peripheral power over."

It's in the Constitution.

Doctor Doom #2 was not amused.
"Anytime in the next Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr will be fine, Mimi."
He laughed out loud all the way down the hall.
It was so not necessary.

Heavy, heavy sigh.
Molly is a distant memory. Milly's days are numbered.
Exit Dr. Doom #2 of the Hypertensive kind. 
Enter Dr. Derriere Derma

At this point I am so wishing I hadn't spent quite so much time in the sun at the beach this summer. Give me a few months to play and look what happens. 
So by now I've been put on blood pressure pills (for real) and referred by 2 different physicians who can't agree on which affliction should be removed nor why the other one even has a medical license. I meant the mole, not the doctor. I think.
Off to the Dermatologist I go for the final verdict. I take Molly and Milly with me, dressed to the nines and ready to meet their Mole Maker.
Molly on the back, Milly on the never-mind and me. Just call me Silly.

I hate needles.
I hate pain.
I can't stand the thought of what is about to happen.

So I'm waiting in my blue and white checked ball gown, legs dangling off the edge of the table, feet and French manicured toes propped up on the doctor's white round stool when in waltzes Dr. Derriere Derma Darling Girl That She Is.  She is nice. She is even pretty.  I knew a nice pretty doctor with a soft voice and kind eyes would not hurt me.

Think again.

Do you see that picture on the wall behind my pencil head? That is a medical degree.

I hope. I am praying at this point that the mere child who just left my room of doom didn't mail order that diploma, cause Molly and Milly are really sweating it out in the blue checkered ball gown. Me?  
I'm just comatose.
And a tad blue

Waiting for the scalpel. Saying last rites for the twins.

After I take the appropriate blog pictures, totally ignoring the Turn Off Your Cellphone sign, she returns with a microscope, a flashlight, and a salami sandwich I just made that up ready to examine me from head to pencil toe.  After much ado about freckles and fair skin, she finds the soon-to-be-mutilated Molly. I'm sure I heard a rebellious whimper. 

"So, Doctor DD, what do you think?"
"It's fine."
"But...Doctor Doom #1 said..."
"It's fine."
"Nothing to worry about."


Molly is positively beaming with pride. Milly is looking nervous. 
"OK, doc. We've been watching Milly for 20 years (literally). Dr. Hypertension Man said she has to go to mole heaven now. Let's do the deed."
"She's fine."
"But Dr. Doom #2 said...."
"You need to chill, Mimi."

But wait. Can I trust her? Two doctors have already been dead wrong. Pun intended. 
This girl is wet-behind-the-ears.
So my head is spinning with the exuberant news that Molly and Milly are going to live on the shores of my bathing suit once again. Excellent!
Until I hear....
"Sit still, Miss Pencil Skirt. I think we may have a problem."

"Ouch! That hurt!"
"Hmmmm....said the Doctor, "this looks like a basal cell spot. Or it could be a squamous."
"WHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAT??!" What does it LOOOOKK like??! Is it....? You mean c.a.n.c.e.r?"
"Yes," she calmly and emphatically replied.
 "Do you think it really is?"
"Yes," she calmly and emphatically replied.
"You think it's a cancer spot?"
"Yes," for the third time.
"But that's not even what I came IN here for!!!" 
"I'll be right back with the nurse. It'll be over in a flash. The biopsy and removal will only take......" 

Meet Sully.
I call her the Surprise Mole.
Sort of like Haydn's Symphony
But sneakier

Suddenly Molly and Milly were a distant third cousin thrice removed memory and the deed was over in a flash and I wasn't such a baby about the needle MUCH and it was done.
Three different doctors. Three different findings. Three different opinions.
So confusing. She tried to reassure me but my mind went to the worst case scenario. It's a curse coping mechanism. And so typically me. I need knowledge. I need answers. I need to have a plan. I drive myself crazy. 
Then I had to wait six days to find if it was just superficial, if it really was basal cell or squamous or something else, how deep it was and to rule out melanoma...just in case.

The waiting. That was the hard part.

Of course I drove my friends nuts in the meantime, whined a lot, pouted a lot and been a general pain in the derma derriere. But seriously. It's the first time I've heard the definitive C word in my lifetime. It's an odd feeling, even if it's not potentially a serious malignancy. 
I've had suspicious findings before but never the definitive C word.
I had to say the word. I had to write the word. I wrote some friends. They bzzzzzed back advice and love and Akelamalu sent Reiki to me.  My mind took turns down roads of chemotherapy and how it would surely take the sass right out of my priss.  What a shallow thought. But real. So real.

I thought of all the people I'd known who had cancer. How brave they were. How they were going along in their lives and then one day BOOM something is found and their life changes. I thought of all those who live cancer free after treatment for years and years and it never comes back. That happens too. It's happening more and more these days. How they must value each precious day.  I thought of this incredible man who taught me the meaning of dignity in the face of dying. And how if things turned out for the worse, that I would try not to whine and carry on too much....and remember there but for the grace of God go I.  I thought of this one and that one who are facing treatment right now, sharing with us and keeping us informed, making us laugh and giving us insightful posts on peace and life in general - even when they and their families are in crisis and struggling.  And this one who recently lost her mother to the disease. How much fortitude it must take to carry on when they are bone tired and stressed. And I angrily thought of all the dollars wasted in this country on things that matter not when cancer research funding, stem cell research funding too, should be at the top of the list.  No one is immune from it, everyone has been affected by it, all fear a day when the word might be spoken to them.

But today, much to my surprise, I heard a most beautiful definitive B word.

How thankful I am. 
How exhausted I am just dealing with the possibility for a mere six days. It doesn't matter now that three doctors were wrong. I'm just glad one was.
I have a new appreciation for those who are battle worn and brave. 
For I do think they're brave.

So I'd like to encourage you to do 4 5 things:  
Get thee to a skin screening. Get an opinion. Get a second opinion. Get a third opinion. And then get an opinion on the third opinion. 
Don't go to Google and start researching the terms before you get back to the doctor or you WILL go crazy.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to break the news to Homer. 
There's a funny looking spot on his right paw.

He has an appointment with Dr. Derma Derriere.
Don't worry, Homer.
It won't hurt.


Finding Pam said...

I went through that a year ago with three spots on my back. Same scenario with the doctors and all.

I am glad it was benign.

I guess we will never know how we will handle something until it presents itself. I am dodging it like a bullet.

Travis Cody said...

My advice to folks who discover something unusual is always's going to be what it is. Get checked. And then relax because it's going to be what it is.

When you finally get confirmation of what it is, then let yourself freak out for a couple of minutes. Then start asking questions and get as much information as possible. Not the scary kind from the internet that you don't understand how to interpret, but the real kind from specialists who will give you advice and literature.

Then find out what the steps are, what the options are, and what the plan is. The right knowledge is your friend. And so is a positive attitude.

The complete freak out? Not so much.

I'm so glad you had a positive outcome.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, Mimi, I was floored and held my breath through the whole process with you. I just kept thinking No No No No No - this woman WORKS FOR PEACE. This woman is funny and brilliant and gives so much to so many........whew. I am so glad it was benign. Thank you for thinking of all ofthose for whom it was not, in the midst ofyour own relief. That is pure Mimi. You're the best.

Jamie said...

You've really been through it in the worry department. Glad you someone said the secret word and you got to hear benign.

Xmichra said...

Very glad to read that everything is okay!! I wouldn't imagine the days of waiting were at all easy for you. I know I would have been preoccupied with it (to say the least) and have been in the past.

YAY for you!

Charles Gramlich said...

I've gotten a fair number of things taken off just to be on the safe side..

bazza said...

Apart from all of that how are you Mimi?

ciara said...

i'm glad you got several opinions, mimi...and if you see something that you're not sure if you should have checked out or not, you should have it checked out. reading that it was benign was the best news i've had in awhile.

Walk in the Woods said...

That's quite the drama - complete with happy-ending. Though, I admit, I'm a bit concerned for Homer.

As for "Sort of like Haydn's Symphony. But sneakier." ~ too funny!

I'm glad for you and wish you wellness and send you healing love. Peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad the outcome was good. HUGS... I have the same [curse]coping mechanism

Anonymous said...

I like the B word so much better than the C word. I am tres happy for you!

Akelamalu said...

Just dealing with the possibility is scary and exhausting. I'm so happy the outcome was good my friend. xxxx

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

It all worked out well for you. Bottom line, you had it checked and they were able to stop anything from happening before it did...

Stay strong dear...

Off to cruise...see you soon

Mimi Lenox said...

Pam - I went back to another doc today and asked, "So do you think I should have those removed she said were FINE??!"
He just laughed.

As usual.

Mimi Lenox said...

Trav - And you gave me stellar bzzzzzzzzzz advice from the get-go.
And let me freak out to my heart's content. Thank you!!!

I must wax dramatic. It is who I am.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sherry - Life is crazy!! Isn't it? Twists and turns and unexpected trips and falls.
And then you get up.
And it's OK.

Mimi Lenox said...

Jamie - The secret word...hmm...did it have to do with Jackman? Have you been invoking Jackman aura for me?? It worked.

Mimi Lenox said...

Xmichra - Waiting is never easy and no matter what you tell yourself you never really breathe that sigh of relief until you have an answer one way or another.

I might have exaggerated a TAD bit about the freak out scene.
But not much.

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - And that's just it. The one we're "watching"...I'm done with the watching. It's going too.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bazza - I'm good! How are you my dear friend? Write me!

Mimi Lenox said...

Ciara - It's always best to have it totally checked out, yes.
P.S. I LOVE your new profile picture. Very pretty.

Mimi Lenox said...

Rosemari - You got the Haydn reference! Yay!
Receiving that peaceful healing from you - and to you as well.

Mimi Lenox said...

Lois - A good freak out is good for the soul. I'm with ya girlfriend.

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - Those B words can be tricky ya know. LOL

(and thank you dear)

Mimi Lenox said...

Akelamalu - I AM exhausted. I mean really.

Mimi Lenox said...

Vinny - We want pictures and lots of them. Love to you and Nancy.

Anonymous said...

I could totally identify with this, Mimi! I had a similar experience some years ago...had to have a small lump cut off the side of my nose that turned out to be cancerous, thankfully only basal cell. It was not good news, indeed, but the cancer has not returned...yay! Because I'm weird and like yukky things, I did not mind the sound of the scalpel scraping across bone, but I suspect it would gross most people out.

The doctor advised me to have my other moles removed too, including the beauty mark above my lip that I'm very fond of...he showed no sense of humour when I asked him how I would recognize myself in the mirror after that...LOL!

Wishing you and Homer continued health...:)


Michelle said...

So glad they're the B word! ...are all "bees" good? ;-)

A few years back they thought I had ovarian cancer. It was a month of screaming mad freaking FEAR in my head until the operation and... the B word!

It really puts you into a whole new level of understanding those loved ones in your life who aren't so lucky and wait to get the C word. Getting a lower grade never was so cruel. :-(

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