Wow, see what I did there? Man, I am just so clever. So, we all know I am Chicago’s finest bronzed goddess-and by that, I mean a meek chick who is as pale as drywall that burns in the sun when it is 55 degrees. This means I am at high risk for melanoma, the most bastardly form of all skin cancers. It doesn’t help that I also went tanning nearly every day as a teenager, used to smoke, and am so blonde I was bald until about six years old.
I have to credit one of my close friends for getting my stubborn self to the dermatologist. She prompted me, pretty much daily, that the spot on my chest that was kind of growing to be the size of an apple should probably be removed. Especially given my family medical history and my complexion that has more freckles than the population of Shanghai (which currently has about 18,000,000 residents, FYI).
Therefore, yes, I finally sucked it up and made an appointment. The doctor gave me the “Why the hell weren’t you here 2 years ago?” look at my skin check, rightfully so. You know it’s never a great sign when this is the initial conversation:
Me: “Hey, does that mole look weird?”
Doctor: “Um… can we get you in tomorrow to get that removed? Like, early morning?” No cause for concern. We just want you here in about 6 hours.
Yeah. Bit of a wake up call.
So, the spot, along with a piece of my shoulder (not really, my doctor was amazing, please ask me if you need a dermatologist) is gone. Now I wait for results. No anxiety or anything.
Is it melanoma? Let’s hope to God, Allah, Buddha, Justin Bieber, whoever you worship, that it isn’t. Is there a very realistic chance it is? Yes. Am I glad I went and got it checked out? Yes. Is there a part of me that is vain and I am secretly glad that this wasn’t on my face and the scar won’t be very visible? Yes. At least I am honest.
But, you know what? Even if it is, I have some good luck on my side. I am, for once, being positive. My mom is a ridiculously strong cancer fighter and beater. My grandmothers were both incredibly strong women into their 80’s and 90’s. Bacon grease, folks- Polish secret to health. I am also the “second biggest troll in the world” according to my godson so that should also give me some clout, no?
However, let me tell you, not much is more humbling than a doctor looking you in the eye and telling you that you might have a life threatening illness. I am lucky enough to generally just worry if my dentist will tell me I have a cavity or if I have a hangnail. Usually my writing is about crap and complaints about things like how my coffee came with too much cream at Dunkin Donuts.
On that note, I think that is why I write about things people criticize for being “trivial”. After seeing someone so close to you go through a horrible illness, that has NOT made many of the health mistakes you have, you need to distract yourself with small stuff to not think about the major issues at hand.
So where am I going with this? Not sure. But here are a few things:
First, please wear sunscreen and go to the doc regularly for skin checks. ANYONE is susceptible to melanoma, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity. This is why it is one of the scariest cancers, in my opinion.
Second, in the words of Anchorman Ron Burgundy, if I find out you’re tanning, “I’ll punch you in the baby maker.”
Third, really do appreciate each day that you’re healthy and still kickin’ on this earth. The thought of that being taken away will jolt your feeling sorry for yourself attitude into gratitude.
With that, I am done. Let’s hope this thing was just an unsightly spot making me look crappy in a strapless dress, and not a beginning of what many people do not understand is such a dangerous disease. As I have said in the past, “It’s not just a mole.” It could be your life.