It started in February of 2015. I found a new mole on my back. It was multi-colored and oddly shaped. Because I had been doing research for a piece about Melanoma, I knew immediately what it was.
Even with my knowledge about the disease, I didn’t do anything about it. I was on vacation and decided it could wait until I returned home in a few weeks. Then when I got home, I forgot all about the mole. It was only when I had a regularly scheduled appointment with my primary care physician that I brought it up. He took a look and told me I needed to get it checked out by a dermatologist.
I still didn’t think much about it. It took me some time to find a dermatologist….my first one. When he said it needed to be surgically removed, I was more than a little surprised. But, even then I thought it was fine. I even pushed back the surgery date a week so I could go to a concert.
The surgery went well. All of the Melanoma was easily removed. The only things I had to do afterwards were occasional follow-up visits and semi-annual body checks.
The physical part was great, but what about the mental part of having Melanona. What was going to help with the anxiety of Melanoma.
Here’s what occurred almost immediately after having the surgery. I’d find a new mark on my body and would start to overthink it. ‘Is it something or is it nothing?’ I had a winter trip to California that I postponed because I thought some dry skin was the return of Melanoma. My dermatologist at the time told me it was nothing and not to worry about it, but I couldn’t help myself. What if he was wrong? What if it was Melanoma?
Damn….the anxiety of Melanoma kept me in the Chicago cold instead of on a warm beach in San Diego. It wouldn’t be the last time.
In the last few years, I’ve found other marks that I was sure were cancerous, but turned out to be nothing. What makes it worse is there have now been two times that little skin thingies that I thought were nothing turned out to be basal cell carcinomas that required surgical removals. It’s enough to get you really confused about what is actually what. It adds to becoming even more anxiety-ridden about this.
That brings us to last weekend. Saturday, I found this new mark on my shoulder. It’s the one you see at the top of the column. My brain immediately went into the ‘is it or isn’t it’ mode. What made it worse was because it’s the weekend, I wasn’t able to reach my dermatologist for at least a couple of days. Damn!
So naturally, I now have some time to overthink things. Hmmm…my next derm appointment is in early November. Hmmm…I can wait two months for her to check this out as part of my full body check. NOOOOOOOO!! There’s not a chance in Hell that I can wait two entire months. Sixty days….no way!!
So now what? It’s hard to get in to see my dermatologist. Sometimes I go into her office and beg to get an appointment. I could do that, but that seems to be a little anxious, doesn’t it?
What about if I take a photo of the mole and email it to her. Do you think she’ll be able to tell that way? Man…that seems to be even more neurotic than the first idea.
Maybe I should figure this out on my own. After all, I did self-diagnose my first and only Melanoma. How about a Google search? That’s always a good place to start……AT ONE AM!!!! I told you there was a lot of anxiety about this disease.
I guess I’ll just wait until November….maybe. But, in the meantime, how do you turn your brain off for two months?
Related Post: Dick Vitale has advice on how to beat MelanomaType 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.