THE WAITING GAME…SUCKS!
For those of you who don’t know, I had skin cancer about six years ago now. It was a pretty serious ordeal.
Before being diagnosed, I was urged to see a dermatologist by my roommate at the time. He went to some fancy-ass Beverly Hills Dermatologist. Anyway, after nine pre-pre-cancerous moles safely biopsied and removed from my body, one came back positive for cancer. The young inexperienced Physician’s Assistant advised me that I had Superficial Spreading Malignant Melanoma! She didn’t even ask me to sit down. Jeez! She started spewing off something about another biopsy, another couple days of waiting, and something about an Oncologist. I definitely wasn’t prepared for that word. It was horrible! I later informed her that her bedside manner needed improvement.
Within ten days, I had an in-and-out surgery procedure, several lymph nodes were removed, and I was home recovering, my good friends taking turn staying with me. I had only been in Los Angeles for about seven months, so my L.A. family became very close to me during that time. My family offered to come out, and like a fool, I was insistent that I could “DEAL” with it on my own. I know better now!
The worst days during those what-seemed-like-forever ten days, were waiting for the results to advise whether or not I needed chemotherapy, radiation, or just surgery to begin. They needed to do more testing on the already-taken biopsy and I politely obliged because what else was I going to do. They were the absolute most horrific days of my life up until that point. I cannot even begin to explain it. The waiting is beyond anything you can imagine. I tried my hardest to keep my mind occupied during those exhausting and incredulous seventy-six (76) hours, but it was impossible. Not knowing is an abominable space to live for even a moment about your future health, your future life, and your future death. In the end, I only needed surgery, but man oh man, I’m glad those three days are over.
For the past six/seven years, I have been frequenting the dermatologist, my oncologist, and doctors. It started with every three months and then, after three years, we moved it to every six months. Unfortunately, it has been about eighteen months since my last visit to the oncologist.
Last week, as I was stepping out of the shower, I noticed a very dark, very non-symmetrical mole on the plain of my back, not three inches south of where the first malignant one was found. I immediately and silently within freaked out. Everything came bursting back to me, in an instant. The waiting. The results. The cancer. Oh God, I could have cancer again.
I couldn’t sleep that night. The next morning, at first light, I waited hours before I could contact my dermatologist. I made an appointment for the next day. I was seeing them come hell or high water.
I told a couple friends. Not many. Not even the ones that had helped me survive the last time. Perhaps I should have, but I really didn’t want to worry anyone until there was something confirmed to worry them about. Does that make sense? I tried not even to tell my parents for fear of them worrying about it as much as me, to no avail. I broke down when speaking with my mother.
The few people I told were extremely supportive. They all insisted that I was fine. In fact, they all were so convinced that everything would be a-okay, they didn’t even leave room for me to consider the what ifs. Perhaps that was their best way of dealing with it, but I knew better. In my mind, I had to somehow come to terms with the fact that I could have cancer again, or it could be a false alarm. Either way, I needed to be okay with it. I was back exactly where I started six years prior. Wow! I don’t wish that feeling upon anyone. Ever.
It was extremely emotional for me.
Just finding the “bad” mole (even though I had no idea if it was bad or not) put me into a head space I haven’t visited in years. Thank God!
Wednesday morning I went to see the dermatologist. I told her to remove it no matter what, just get it out. I probably didn’t use such nice words. There might have been some foul language, I can’t remember. She agreed that given my past history, we should take it off immediately. Within ten minutes, it was gone, and my dermatologist was in LOVE with my stories about Trixie and Vincent Van Goat (my little Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats) stationed in my backyard in West Hollywood. Though she advised it didn’t look abnormal, she could see my emotional distraught nature and told the nurse to put the order in stat, which apparently meant that I could have the results in as little as twenty-four hours, or forty-eight hours depending.
The countdown began. Only twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes or forty-seven hours and fifty-nine minutes left. How the hell was I going to get through it this time?
The Waiting Game…sucks!
To Be Continued…Part Two next week.
A Smile From The Inside Production 🙂