Scarred, scared…and scorned?

So, many of you might know that recently I found out I unfortunately have (well, let’s knock on the biggest piece of wood, go find an oak tree, something, HAD) been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. I recently had to get another “spot” removed.

I’m telling you, besides hearing a doctor say something negative about a family member’s health, there’s nothing worse than hearing them say it to you.

Now, I have a large scar on my shoulder that is much bigger than “just getting a mole removed” (and I am going to punch the next person in the mouth Ron Burgundy style who says that to me). All things considered, the scar looks damn good for what was done. However, it can still be painful about a month later. I still do freak out every time I look at it as it’s a constant reminder of a really scary disease. And, I am scared that this thing was in my body. In my system. It feels like a parasite was plucked from my shoulder.

Very, very, scared. Mostly scared that I dodged a huge bullet because I hopefully caught this thing early and what would have happened had I not.

However, what scares me more is the shift in how I’ve noticed some people treating me. I’ve had many significant people in my life, for the record, be unbelievably supportive. Actually, some people I wouldn’t even expect.

Then, there are some people I have expected to be there suddenly are acting like I’m a leper. Unfortunately, I have heard this from people in similar situations.Is this because it is awkward and you don’t want to say…”Hey, how’s that scar coming along, Chippy?” (Yes, my aunt I have twisted senses of humor and we’ve now deemed me “Chippy” as the “Chip’s been removed from my shoulder”. Hey, humor helps in adversity.) Or, is it more like “Whoa, don’t want to deal with that, never mind, I want easy happy unicorn rainbow perfect life people around!”

Or, are they scared too? Am I undervaluing my self-worth in thinking that someone is really freaked out to hear I am dealing with this and doesn’t want to know or hear about it? Are they scared thinking that this could happen to them or someone they love? Or do they just plain not care, and do I give people too much credit?

I guess it is naïve to believe that everyone will jump to be supportive in crappy situations. I am curious to find out if others who have gone through similar have dealt with this. And, with that, I’m going to go slap on sunscreen even though I’m sitting the evening writing at my computer.

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    Amy Litterski DeSario

    Born and raised in Chicago, probably not leaving any time soon. 30-something. University of Illinois alum. You can reach me at

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