I’ve been wallowing in self pity.
After visiting the gastroenterologist and the dermatologist I’ve concluded that I am merely damaged goods. And I’m ready to trade in this body, preferably for a younger model.
Aging sucks. There I said it.
So, several years ago now I had to have a couple pre-cancerous moles removed. One was caught right before it became melanoma. The other, a suspicious looking one that was removed as a precautionary measure. That pesky mole was in the worst possibly location and hurt like the dickens for months and it took a good full year to heal.
What I thought would be just an annual checkup turned into something much more today as I laid there in my birthday suit, the magnifying glass pressing against every square inch of my skin. The tone changed from routine to serious in minutes.
“You have had a stage 4 something or other (can’t remember the term) and we need to be more aggressive.” Before I left the office I had to have 2 more moles removed for a grand total of $378. The more serious ones are scheduled for next week. Then more to follow. Thank the Lord for insurance.
They are mysterious moles, as they appear out of nowhere for no apparent reason and turn into demon marks almost immediately. You know, the kind that have to be cut out of your body. Before long I'll have a road map of scars.
You might be thinking I’ve had a life of excessive sun exposure, which is definitely not the case. As a child I was a hermit. I never left the house. Good thing too because those were pre-sunscreen days when moms sent their kids out to be scorched.
There have been a couple winters where S.A.D. has gotten the best of me and my doctor encouraged some sun therapy. On those long sunless stretches I did expose my body to some damaging UVA radiation.
I’ve been beating myself up trying to determine if this is the sole reason for my curse. But my dermatologist assured me that friction and heredity both definitely play a part. So, thanks Dad for this fair German skin.
I asked if there was some magic pill I could take to make them stop appearing or if there was some way to make them go away without leaving giant holes. No and no.
Magic cures do not exist and therefore, I must take them as they come and try to do everything in my power to prevent anymore. And to let my voice be heard.
Do you know the ABCs of moles?
Asymmetry can be assessed by comparing one half of the growth to the other half to determine if the halves are equal in size. Unequal or asymmetric moles are suspicious.
If the mole's border is irregular, notched, scalloped, or indistinct, it is more likely to be cancerous (or precancerous) and is thus suspicious.
Variation of color (e.g., more than one color or shade) within a mole is a suspicious finding. Different shades of browns, blues, reds, whites, and blacks are all concerning.
Any mole that has a diameter larger than a pencil's eraser in size (> 6 mm) should be considered suspicious.
If a mole is elevated, or raised from of the skin, it should be considered suspicious.
Make sure to get checked annually! If you haven't yet, don't wait.
Unfortunately my skin is not my only challenge I’m dealing with. My visit to the gastro specialists sent my head spinning… tests and more tests and a scope? I’ll know more next week. Wish me luck on my joyous week ahead filled with not so pleasant procedures.
I know I should be counting my lucky stars I don’t have cancer and that I have good doctors that take care of me. I know I have much to be thankful for and that there are so many worse things I could be dealing with, but for now I’m going to go back to my wallowing- ‘cause I’m not done yet.
NY can’t come soon enough.