February 14th. Valentine's Day. Which of these words doesn't fit with the holiday...romance, hearts, candy, flowers and cancer. The obvious one is the last word...unless you're asking me.
It was Valentine's Day 2015...just three years ago. I walked out of a shower and caught a peek of a new mole on my upper back. I had been doing some research on the connection between Parkinson's Disease and Melanoma, and knew immediately what I was looking at....Cancer! At that moment, romance, hearts, candy and flowers were the last things on my mind.
I was lucky in few different ways. First, that I knew it was Melanoma. So many people have no idea if a mole is dangerous. I know it's eerie that I found this while researching the topic, but it's one of those truth is stranger than fiction things. Second, I still can't believe I could see the spot where the mole was located. My head doesn't turn in that direction. You almost need to be Linda Blair spinning her head in "The Exorcist" to see that part of your body. Third, and most important, is that I found it early and did something to take care of the problem before it went too far.
So on this third Cancerversary, is it different from the first two?
It's a lot different and a lot better. On the first one, I was still more than a little freaked out about the entire thing. Yeah, the Melanoma was gone but I was stressed it was going to return. In fact, I cancelled a trip to San Diego because I freaked out over some spots on my arm that turned out to be dry skin. On year two, I was still pretty neurotic. I tried to never go anywhere without sunscreen and protective clothing and when I did, I beat myself up good over being so careless.
As we start year three, I'm a lot more sane about this. I just spent the last week in Phoenix and never once used sunscreen ( I did wear a hat at almost all times). Yes, I know that's stupid and dangerous for a Melanoma survivor and I'll try not to do that again. But the great news is I'm not obsessive over that...or the sunburn I got on my neck. We'll just move on and do better next time. But please, PLEASE don't tell my dermatologist about last week.
And here's some more good news....on this Valentine's Day/Cancerversary #3, while the Melanoma will always pop into my mind, I'm thinking more about romance, flowers, candy, etc than Melanoma. More about that another time but for now I'm taking that as a good sign.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.