One Year Ago Today…

As long as I can remember, I have had a spot on my lower leg. I would call it a pretty “large” freckle. This freckle changed rather quickly by growing in size and shape. After doing a little research on the internet, I made an appointment with a dermatologist. I already knew what it was; I wanted to find out what stage it was in. Ten days later I sat in his exam room with sweaty palms, Bruce by my side for support, and anxiously waiting for him to see me. After brief introductions, he looked at my leg, said,” yes, that needs to come out.” He handed me paperwork on preoperative procedures and a brochure on Malignant Melanoma. I will have to say, his bed side manners were not the best I’ve encountered and, he got straight to the point. After deadening the area around the “freckle”, he removed a plug of skin about the size of a penny. Now, to those who do not know me, I DO NOT DO PAIN!!! I do not do needles, I do not do blood. If I know it is going to hurt, I DON’T DO IT!!!! If you want to see me pass out, give me a shot. No joke. If I know you are in pain, I will get to the floor before I pass out.
That happened on a Thursday and now I had to wait. Patience is not a virtue of mine and never will be. I spent the majority of Saturday crying. Cameron, my youngest son, came to stay with me. Bruce, my BGF (best guy friend) and supporter of every aspect of my life came to stay with me. Later that night, four more friends came by. I had the biggest pity party one can imagine. That surprised me because I never thought I would do something like that. For some reason, when you are going through something in your life, people feel this need to share their dreadful experiences on the same subject with you. Whether it has happened to them or someone they know, EVERYONE shares their dreadful stories. These were stories I did not need to hear at this time.

Glad that the weekend was finally over, (and that is something you would have never heard me say before) I anxiously waited for 9:00 so I could call the Doctors office. Once again, the patience thing, I don’t have any. The results were not in yet. I called again at 4:00, still nothing. Another long night was approaching. I went home and kept to myself. I did not want any phone calls or people coming by. The morning could not get here fast enough!

It’s Tuesday morning and, still nothing! Do these people not know what all was going through my mind?! I called again at 4:30 and the nurse said, “Hold on, let me get the doctor.” “Great!” I thought; that sounds encouraging! He confirmed it to be malignant melanoma, in the first stages and needed to get it out ASAP. “No problem.” I said, “When is your first opening?” “Monday” he stated and set up an appointment.

With Bruce by my side, we walked into the “operating” room. I was so nervous and scared; I was shaking and sweating profusely! As I laid on the table I was listening to my iPod; I did not want to hear anything that was going on around me. My eyes were closed as tears ran down my face. I do not know why, I guess all the fear that had built up was coming out now.

The area around the “freckle” was deadened and, an egg size portion of my leg was removed. It was over in 30 minutes but, I still had silent tears running down my face. I got my prescription for pain medicine and went home.

This was a life-changing experience for me. I was the person who had an awesome tan by the beginning of March. I lived in the sun. However, my face never saw the sun. I went from being a sun goddess to a person who now thinks porcelain is a beautiful color. I avoid the sun at all costs, and I fear it now. The doctor told me that because I am naturally dark, I can get away with a 15 sunscreen. I apply 50 if I’m going to be out in it. You may think I have become over protective, but this is MY life.

The cancer is gone and all is well. I was informed that when you have had melanoma, there is a 50% chance of getting it again. I now know what to look for and I am keeping a close watch on 4 other spots on my legs. Melanoma is most common in women in their 40’s and appears most on their lower legs. That is my little tid bit of info in case any of you are wondering.

This is my journey…

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