I didn't mention this before, because it's become kind of routine for me to have a dodgy mole removed when I go to the dermatologist for a mole-patrol checkup, but I had another two dodgy moles removed right before Christmas. The incision in my left shin healed wonderfully. By Sod's Law, the incision on my left cheek, right next to my nose was the one that didn't heal well. It wasn't an infection, the culture they took came back negative, but it was inflamed and didn't want to close. So I've been keeping it ointmented and covered to try to minimize scarring.
Waste of time.
Most of the moles I've had removed (3 out of 5 until this crop) have turned out to be "abnormal" in a benign way, and have required further margin to be surgically taken out. Sod's Law made sure that 2 of those were on my face (the other abnormal one was on my scalp).
Sod's Law has really outdone itself this time though. Both biopsies came back as melanoma. Very SMALL melanomas, but melanomas nonetheless. That's cancer, the BIG C. It's the nastiest skin cancer, most likely to spread to other tissues, most likely to recur. It's actually the best cancer to have if you're going to have a nasty spreading type cancer: at least it's highly detectable, and early detection means the only treatment required is excision and vigilance. No chemo. Thankfully.
So, back to my lovely dermatologist on Tuesday, to remove margins from my shin. She looks like a prettier version of Janice, Chandler's irritating recurring girlfriend on Friends, so I will call her Dr Janice. Then I will see a specialist in head and neck dermatology and surgery on Wednesday to discuss the offending site on my left cheek, and the possibility of doing a lymph node biopsy. I want the biopsy, I want to KNOW that it's clear, not assume.
Of course, I'm sure I'm sounding (reading?) much too calm. This is because I got the phone call around noon, and have already quietly freaked out about it by myself, then told a friendly coworker, and freaked out a bit more, then told my friendly boss, been sent home, and bought a fancy shower curtain and fuzzy bath mat as retail therapy. I've had 5-1/2 hours to digest this. There will be further freakouts, I may even post during one, they make good reading (if you want to see what I look like freaking out and questioning my existance and role in life etc., just check out 2001-2002 in the archives).
Matt just came home, and I told him right away. He takes my word for medical detail, so hopefully he won't be *too* worried, not constantly at any rate. I'm not going to tell my parents, not until I've had the margins cleared and (hopefully) get the all clear from a lymph node biopsy. My mother's brother died of internal melanoma, it would be such a nightmare to put her through the waiting and worrying again, so I will tell them when it's done and we're in vigilance mode, not treatment mode.
It's freakish and frightening, but it's not the threat-of-death diagnosis a lot of cancers are. More the threat of fear of recurrance and definite need for more bits of my face to get chopped out. I'd been wondering if I should have the remaining moles removed prophylactically, now I'm sure I will.
Shallow though this sounds I'm just REALLY glad this diagnosis came after the wedding. I think I'm going to be looking at a couple of years at least of babying incisions, and then saving up for a laser resurfacing or something. On some level I've been expecting this, you don't have 5 moles removed in 3 years, and have 3 of them turn out ot be abnormal, without something being a bit fishy.