Today, I had my annual skin check. Part of me just wants to forgo it… to never set foot in a dermatologists office… to not be surrounded with video and photos of irregular moles… to not relive the painful memories…
John was a firefighter… firefighters are more prone to melanoma… I probably don’t need to worry… I pay attention to my skin, of course, the only set of eyes I have now are mine and my doctor’s. There is no more, “honey, can you take a look at that.” There’s no longer the person to notice something when I’m oblivious…. and when it comes to me, I can be pretty oblivious.
But the responsible me reminds myself that I’m not really doing it for me. I’m doing it for Nathaniel. So, he’ll learn to get skin checks. So he won’t ever wait too long. So he’ll learn sun safety by example.
I did okay till about 15 minutes before my appointment. Then that damn brain kept interfering. Memories of that 1st appointment… I see the PA- the same doctor John first saw. I remember John kidding about how he’d had the appointment with the PA, but he’d gotten to see the doctor. The doctor is top ranked and typically has a waiting list months long for an appointment. Him kidding about how the 2nd visit we got to see the “big” doctor… and we had the fancy room… again not a good thing. That feeling when “cancer” came out of the doctor’s mouth. I think John responded with “no shit.” The phrase that seemed to come out of his mouth when maybe something else should have been said. He said it when he heard his mother’s cancer diagnosis, too. I still can’t fathom how coolly he took the news. But that was John. I remember him going home and researching and him telling me… what luck… there are 3 types of skin cancer… and he had the worst.
Then later there was the time John pointed out what I was sure was a bruise under his toenail. I knew it was a bruise. He’d injured his toe at work. It bruised. I’ve had multiple bruised toenails (a side effect of equines). The dermatologist was slightly concerned. The irony of it is while the bruise was concerning to them and being watched closely… internally John had most likely went to stage 3 or even 4… undetected. John did everything right– after he was diagnosed… blood work (which never showed positive for the cancer returning- even after it had)… checkups… bringing up concerns… and yet internally cancer was brewing… Logically, cancer would only come back if you did something wrong… if you didn’t do x- then it came back… if you did risk factor Q- it came back… but not when you did x, y, & z to a T. The checkups should catch things before it was too late, right? Wrong. Cancer isn’t logical. Damn cancer. Damn fucking cancer.
Luckily, kiddo was entranced with his trains and failed to notice that I was about ready to jump out of my skin or have a nervous breakdown. Deep breaths… deep breaths… at least no blood pressure cuffs… lol…
The doctor understood my anxiety. She said she has a lot of patients who are there because a friend came down with skin cancer and that was their wake up call.
I more or less asked for two moles to be removed… one had reached the pencil eraser size and occasionally itches although it has a normal appearance- off with it’s head! The other is in an inconvenient place and has two different shades to it… off with it’s head.
The irrational me would like every last one cut off… every freckle scraped away… no chances left… but, that’s not logical… and as I feel like I have two bee stings… it would be rather painful.
The logical me, tells myself… calm down… breathe… do it for Nathaniel.
Part of me thinks I’d be better off emotionally to find a different office, but the rational me knows… there are good doctors where I already am, John trusted them, they know what we went through. In a way it’s like that wanting to run away from home, but always coming back home. I just wish my home still had my husband.