No, not that one, the other one: Cancer. It’s the word none of us want to hear and we even whisper it in hushed tones so as not to “invite it” to us. At least that’s what I did.
I wasn’t going to write about this until after my minor surgery correcting the fact that I have basal cell carcinoma. But I want to share it now because it rattled me, and I don’t like that it did.
When John and I were in Glasgow staying at the very nice Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor (love that hotel) this last May, he noticed a spot on my back and jokingly told me I had cancer.
I laughed too but then he got a bit serious and took a picture of it.
It looked like a few of my dots had connected and there was a red blotch between them. It also itched a bit. But…we were on vacation and I wasn’t about to let a blotch botch things up for us.
As soon as we got back home, I made an appointment with my primary doctor to have a look at it, and a few other things that were a nuisance for me too. I’m not one to go to the doctor when there’s just one thing to look at. That would somehow be a waste of time.
She looked me over and told me the lumps on my fingers were just ganglion cysts (okay just the sound of that is weird), but they were harmless. When she looked at the spot on my back, she told me I needed to see a dermatologist, and recommended one.
That was in May.
I called to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist and the soonest I could get in was August. Three months later. I laughed and told the receptionist, “good thing it’s not cancer!” She chuckled too.
I finally got in to see Dr. Berry on August 21, and I was happy to get it over with. I knew it was nothing to be concerned about and she’d just remove it and I’d be on my way. She looked me over from head to toe with a lighted, sort of magnifying glass.
Then she looked at my spot.
She told me that yes, she would need to remove it and send it off for a biopsy. No big deal. I used Sansum clinics and I can access all of my medical records online. I really like that and told her to just send the results there.
That was on a Tuesday.
On Thursday evening, John and I were walking to dinner and I wondered aloud when I would get my test results back. Then I also said that it didn’t matter because I don’t “do cancer”.
That night I received an email stating my test results were in my file. I logged into my account and proudly read, out loud:
“Hello Ms. Gavin,
Your biopsy was consistent with a basal cell skin cancer and requires further treatment.
My recommendation would be an electrodesiccation and curettage procedure which is the least invasive way to treat it.
Please give us a call to get you scheduled…”
I stumbled over the words thinking I was reading them wrong. Wait, what?
I know it’s really nothing, and can be easily treated, but I was so surprised. It choked me up a bit and I thought, “I don’t do cancer!” My brain was telling me it wasn’t a big deal, but I was still afraid.
Afraid of what?
The C word is a scary one. We hear about people who experience radical surgeries, pain and even death associated with cancer. That word scares us. At least it does me.
The good news is this is fixable. It is not as bad as melanoma and Dr. Berry will remove it and burn it and do whatever it takes to eliminate it from my body.
I’m thankful that my husband checks me out (in more ways than one), and that we live in a time when these things can be fixed.
So, go get your skin checked and try not to fear the C word.