In my last blog, I shared the experience of a friend who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although it is shocking when you are suddenly delivered a life threatening diagnosis, this is usually how it goes down. Many times there are no pre-cursor warnings for a serious diagnosis, especially in the early stages. Or, maybe there are warning signals that are ignored or brushed off as stress, fatigue, or “it’s nothing”, etc.
Anyway, we don’t like thinking about these things or anticipating them. Who does?
I was having lunch with my wonderful media and marketing specialists, Shannon Myers and Debbie Goetz, last week to not only celebrate our January Birthdays, but also to strategize on getting my book published. As we sat and talked, 2 women were seated adjacent to our table. One had a turban on her head. We guessed that she had lost her hair due to chemotherapy and discreetly agreed that we needed to keep our conversation about BC in low tones.
As we discussed ideas for the book, Debbie asked me “Liz, do you think about your cancer much? Do you worry about it returning, especially when you see someone like the woman next to us?”
I replied, “No, I don’t agonize over the past. It doesn’t preoccupy me at all, not even when writing my blogs or my book. I like to think positive, which is why I want to be published – to share a triumphant story. The only time that I worry about it is if I have some strange symptoms, like I did when I was going through menopause, and had some odd abdominal pains. But I addressed that head on, sought a specialist, got tests and ruled out cancer.” “But again, I wholeheartedly embrace the mind/body/spirit connection and think and act positive on a daily basis with food and exercise.”
That was Wednesday. On Saturday at 9:30 AM, I had my annual dermatology appointment with a specialist. It takes months to get a routine appointment with this practice. Jim and I go annually as a preventative, especially since a close relative was suddenly diagnosed with melanoma a few years back. So, the appointment, was supposed to be on a week day, but the office changed it to Saturday. Working full time, this is the last thing that I want to do on a Sat. AM.
That morning, I blissfully slept in and awoke less than ½ hr prior to appointment So, I rushed over there, sans coffee, and made it on time. My usual MD explains that the appointment was changed because she now spends her weekdays in NYC to further her study to become a specialist for skin cancer diagnosis.
Anyway, I am somewhat still groggy as she explains that she’d like to take off a tiny “suspicious” freckle in the middle of my lower back – an area that I don’t really see – ever. Suddenly, I’m awake now! I nervously ask, “Why”? “What, what makes you want to take this off?” She states that it looks different than all of the other spots on my body and has an odd color. It’s about the size of a slim marker tip. I ask her about skin cancers in general and learn that it is these “sneaky” spots that are often most lethal. That the scaly skin cancers people get on their head, face, shoulders, etc., are often less of a threat.
OMG! No! As I lay face down for her to take the biopsy, my mind races with fear. What if, like our relative, this is melanoma? Didn’t I just tell the girls that I don’t think about the big C. I end up worrying about this biopsy all day. But then, after not such a great night’s sleep, I resolve that, what will be, will be. If it is malignant, it was caught early. If it isn’t, this blog may save the life of someone who reads it or passes it along to a friend. I get the results next Wed. For now, I try not to dwell on it, but my friend’s blog about his diagnosis haunt me – “How did we get here.. this is how it began…”
I hope this won’t be me. I envision next blog to be wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day that I too will be celebrating big time with a clean bill of health.
I’m pleased to say that the results from the biopsy came back clean and all is well. Thank you for sharing in my journey and your caring thoughts and words.