Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We have your biopsy results back. . .

I had an unexpected phone call today.
Actually I expected the call, it was the content that was a surprise.
Let me back up just a bit.

I am a very fair-skinned person. Fair skinned, dark haired and freckled all over. I sunburn easily and almost never tan. I live in the Southern USA, where the summers are hot and the sun is blazing. I grew up around here.

My husband has encouraged me many times to get a preventative check at a dermatologist, just to be sure none of my bazillion little moles and freckles have anything to do with skin cancer. I agreed, but since the only odd mark I could think of was a mole on my ear that appeared sometime in childhood, I figured if it hadn't killed me yet it wasn't likely to do so anytime soon. So I put the check-up on my mental back burner, until I finally got around to it last week.

They took a small sample of the odd mole for a biopsy, but didn't spot anything else particularly suspicious. They weren't actually too concerned about the sample either, but it was different enough to warrant a test. So anyhow, today they called to tell me the test results.

"Kit ___?"
"Yes, this is she."
"Hi this is Dr. ___'s office, just calling with your test results."
"Oh, OK!" (expectant pause)
"Could you hold just a moment please?"

That's where I thought, "Uh oh". Because if they have to go get the doctor to tell you the test results, you know they're not going to say that everything's just fine and dandy.

And well, it's not. But it's not that bad either. That wierdo little mole is actually basal cell carcinoma. It's the most common form of skin cancer, and it's usually easy to treat. It's almost never life-threatening. I'll be going back to their office in a week and a half or so to have the rest of the mole removed. Hopefully it doesn't go too deep, because I'd rather not look like someone took a bite out of my ear. ;)

It's an odd thing, to be told you have cancer. Thank heavens it's something small, common and easily treated. But it's still a knock upside one's complacency. As a friend teased (with typical good humor), "you KNOW you're getting old, when things start turning up cancerous!" 31 isn't old of course, but I do feel the differences in my body. We are not young forever, and while that does not bother me (there are aspects of my crone years that I quite look forward to) it's still mournful to feel youth slipping away.

Isn't it funny: no matter how trite or cliche a common wisdom or common experience may be, when you find yourself in the midst of that awakening, it is nevertheless fresh and raw to you?

However even though this shines a spotlight on my body's inexorable march through time, it is juxtaposed with a recent evening of joy, rhythm and dancing. We went to a drum circle in a nearby park, and I danced for hours. It felt SO GOOD! I haven't danced like that in years. I woke the next morning sore and spent in the best way possible- the kind of spent that replaces energy with peacefulness. That evening gives me fresh hope that I can hold onto some of the vigor and joy, the vitality of youth, even as I embark on adulthood. Perhaps it took a funny little mole to remind me how very important it is to cultivate one's own joy and vitality, even in the throes of other responsibilities. It's a small reminder for a small adjustment, but OH! What a difference it makes.


Michelle Roebuck said...

Arhgk! That's the sound I would have made if I'd been drinking something when I read your post. You're right - it's even astonishing to HEAR that someone has the big, bad, scary "C"-word.

My mom got the biopsy results confirming her breast cancer on her birthday - I think it was maybe her 51st birthday.

There's so little that by-standers to the event can do or say, especially when they haven't had it themselves, but if they do have to remove a little chunk, I'll tell you how cute it makes you look, how worldly (or something).

Big hugs!! M.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you had that mole checked out! Both my partner and myself are "moley" types, and he recently had a scare. (turned out everything was ok, but it's great he had the sense to have it looked at). And I'm with Gypsy Guru, I think your ear may very well develop a rakish charm after treatment! Really though, I hope the treatment goes well and you are being kind to yourself. Your post has made me think hard, and it's difficult to know how to express all that in a comment xxx

S said...

I'm very fortunate that I've known quite a few young people to have cancer and not one of them has succumbed to it. The best part is that they caught it!

Kit said...

A very belated thank you to you all!