THE ‘C’ WORD!


No, it’s nothing rude. O_O I’m talking about Cancer.

You know, that manky disease that if you’ve never had it, you believe it’ll never happen to you?

Yeah, that one.

Well, I used to be one of those that believed it could infect anyone but me.

I’m not anymore.

You see, I’m a fairly moley person. Since in my early twenties, I’d already had 6 moles removed—either because they were huge, or were in places where they got caught a lot, or felt deeper than I was comfortable with.

Then I had a mole on my upper right arm. I never really paid it much attention. Probably because I ain’t a pretzel and couldn’t see it so well, and it never really did anything to bother me—didn’t lose its shape, didn’t grow outward like so many of mine do.

Until it decided to bleed.

The first time, I presumed I’d accidentally scratched it.

The second time, I diggety dang well knew I hadn’t.

Coupled with another mole just below where my bra sits which was sore, and the fact that I’d spent the past few weeks bordering on exhaustion, I sucked up the reality that the outcome mightn’t be good and forced myself to the doc’s.

The mole that was sore? Yeah, he wasn’t concerned about that one.

But the one that didn’t bother me in the slightest, except that it had bled a couple times? Yeah, he took a closer look at that. Using his magical magnifying device, he took a couple photographs, and then uploaded them to his desktop, and then started filling in paperwork whilst yackering away.

Me being me, I twisted in my seat to get a better look at what he was filling in.

My face pretty much went like this:

Because at the top of the form in big bold letters were the words: URGENT REFERRAL FOR SUSPECTED SKIN CANCER

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! <<That was the noise I could hear in my ears.

Then he explained that he was going to get his assistant to arrange for an appointment with the skin specialist (translate: dermatologist) for a closer look, and that I should wait in the seating area outside.

When I got out there, I realised I’d taken a leaflet off him and set about reading it.

Yeah, about then, my bowels felt a little looser.

Because the word CANCER appeared on that info sheet waaaaaaaaaaay more times that I was comfortable with, and I SWEAR it was bolded and in capitals every darn time (though it possibly wasn’t).

Once I’d been dealt with, off I trotted, ringing Mr B on the way home who sounded as panicked as I felt, and then sat staring at my laptop for around 30 seconds before I rang my best friend (Carla) and then emailed Aimee Laine (who ends up hearing all of my woes whether she wants to or not).

The next day, I was given a date for 13 days time. I also got a confirmation letter in the post with talk of a biopsy and whatnot. By this time, my head had settled down a little—because I have a motto of ‘Don’t worry until you know you have something to worry about’, so I figured then was as good a time as any to try that out.

It worked. I was pretty calm by the time I went for my appointment. The doc I saw was very nice. I didn’t even blush when I had to strip to my undies for him to check all of my moles. O_O

He took a much closer look at the one I’d been sent for than the others. He said it didn’t look too worrying (SCORE!), but that he’d do a biopsy just to be on the safe side (PLUMMET!).

I was given the option of having it done then or going back another time, but seriously? What’d be the point of going back when I was already there?

A couple days after surgery.

So he did the skin surgery.

Then he sent me on my merry way with the promise to contact me within a couple weeks once the results came through.

Let me just add in here: I was prepared for being chopped up a little and going through the process (I’d been there before with mole removals, after all). What I didn’t prepare myself for was how deep he’d been chopping and how long it would take me to recover from the surgery. Because I couldn’t write! O_O For almost a week! O_o This is pretty stress-inducing to someone with stories in her head.

But, anyhoo, 10 days after the biopsy, I received a letter in the post asking me to go back in 4 days time. I think then, I KNEW. The UK health system doesn’t really waste appointments to tell folk their results came back clear. My GP would have passed that info on. So, yeah, I deffo had an inkling.

Yet, it still seemed a bit of a shock when the words were finally spoken with the confirmation of: we did find skin cancer in your biopsy. My heart did its crazy THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP! trick again. I also felt a little nauseous and seemed to lose focus on the room I was in for a few seconds.

But, despite hearing the words that every person dreads, I still consider myself pretty blessed.

Because I got to doc’s fairly early when I was worried about my mole. The depth of the skin cancer was real shallow (o.7mm deep). The type of melanoma the most common (superficial spreading melanoma). And the skin specialist thinks all the cancerous cells were removed with the biopsy.

However, he’s still going to do a second cut—deeper, wider—to be on the safe side. I’ve already been warned the second round of surgery will take longer to recover from (which would suck a$$ if not for the fact my mind will be more at ease). On top of that, I’ll be seen regularly for follow-up appointments for the next twelve months, so my moles can be kept an eye on, and we can be aware faster should the cancer decide to make an unwelcome return.

So, whilst I felt as though I’d been hit with juggernaut-worthy health news a few weeks ago, it looks as though I’m gonna be fine and dandy. 🙂

Still here? Even after this big-a$$ post? Awesomeness. Because I have one more thing to say before I’m done:

I wrote this post with the intention of serving two purposes. 1) So if I vanish off the social-networking stratosphere at any point over the next month or two, you’ll have an idea as to why. And much more importantly 2) If there is any chance that my speaking up, and sharing a part of my life that I consider pretty personal will encourage other folk to check themselves more closely and not be afraid to go to the doc’s, I would happily do so a thousand times over.

My next blog post’ll be a happier one, I promise. Mr B whisked me and the kidlets away for a few days after we’d been given the results, and I had an awesome time. Check back to find out what can happen when you put Mr B, a beach, and a handful of bookmarks together. 😉

(ps: I seriously do apologise for the size of the post)

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37 thoughts on “THE ‘C’ WORD!

  1. Don’t you dare apologize for the size of this post! Every word of it was an important piece of your experience. So relieved to know that you’re in the clear, and so glad that you had it checked out when you did. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Keri. I’ll know for definite once the second cut has been made and sent off for testing, but it’s sounding pretty positive, so fingers crossed. 🙂

  2. *gentle hugs!* Thanks for sharing something so personal with all of us! I think you’re an amazing lady and I’m so happy to know that things are looking up for you! Yes yes, fingers crossed that things continue to stay sunshine and rainbows for you. lots of hearts and smiles for you my friend. 🙂 ❤

  3. You don’t have to apologize for the most. In fact, we readers should be thanking you for it. Thank you for spreading all the awareness. I hope you get well soon. Please take care. God bless! 🙂
    And yes, keep blogging as much as you can. Wish you a speedy recovery.

  4. Don’t ever apologize for your post! I’m glad you decided to share with everyone. *hugs* I’m happy to know everything is working out. 🙂

  5. You’re worried about the size of a post with a message like that? Now I’m certain you’re crazy. 😉 This was more than just a PSA, this was PSA with heart and meaning and truth to it. You’ll have done some good for a lot of people I think. And as always … (((hugs))) 🙂 heheheee

  6. Hi, I am so sorry that you had to go through all that. You must have been so scared. It does sound promising though so good luck. I have lots of moles and never thought anything about them, so thank you for bringing this to peoples attention. Hope you feel better soon and everything is hunky dory.

    1. I’ve always been aware of my moles, Julie–but there are too many of them I can’t see well enough and this was one of them. So yes, please do give yourself a check. It’s worth it. And thanks for stopping by, and the kind words. 🙂

  7. You need not to apologize, this could have been a 90 000 and I would have read every word, im so glad to hear everything is looking good, I light a candle for you asking for your health.

    Thank you for sharing something private with us, this must have been very difficult for you but you´ll be fine you´ll see.

    I´ll keep you in my prayers until I hear of your well being

    xoxo

  8. Woozers! I hear you loud and clear on the moles. I’ve had a few removed in my day and there’s one on my back that the doc checked out. He deemed it a natural age progression one. Still, it’s one to monitor for growth.

    I’m glad for the length of the post. It’s a good reminder that we need to take care of ourselves. 🙂

  9. Oh no! I’m so sorry. I had a pre-cancerous mole on my side removed last year. Had to have it done twice to make sure they got it all. Very scary. I’m a big time sunscreen user, have been forever. But I am a big girl and that mole had not seen direct sunlight since I was in kindergarten. I see a dermatologist now too. Glad it’s been good news since. Happy for your results as well! I’m so glad you shared with us. Take care of yourself! Hugs

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Johnna. I’m so glad they’ve sorted yours out, too. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read. 🙂

  10. Hey, antho-buddy. I’m sad to have to welcome you to this club.

    I’ve been through this twice now. (Two mohs surgeries) I now am watching a third growth that my dermatologist said to watch closely. It was supposed to go away if it was nothing to worry about. Guess what? It’s still there. I know I am in for another round.

    I sit here and look at the scar on my arm, and wonder how big the scar on my leg will be. I completely understand what you are going through.

    If you ever need to chat, I’m here.

    1. Jennifer, I’m actually somewhat stunned by the number of comments with BTDT. As much as I would never wish any ill health on anyone, it’s almost relieving to realise there are others who’ve had to deal with it, too. Obviously, one KNOWS other folk have been there before you, but because so few people talk about it, you never realise that it’s peeps you actually know. I hope yours is dealt with and doesn’t cause you too much grief. Would love to know how you get on with it. Thanks for stopping by, chica. 🙂

  11. Holy #@!#@%!! and yikes on top of that! You brave lady, you. So glad that it is all a-o-kay now. Prayers will be said asking for no more scary business for you. I’d say that was enough of that craziness for a lifetime. 🙂

    1. Prayers are all good and very welcome. Although, you realise my entire life is full of crazy, right? 😉 Thanks for dropping in, Danielle. 🙂

  12. I see I’m not the only one sharing well wishes!!! You will be in my prayers and well wishes!! And thank you for sharing even if it only helps one person, that’s one more person saved!! 🙂

  13. Ugh, so sorry you have to go through that! But I’m glad you found it when you did and that the docs are on top of it now. Here’s hoping you don’t have any more problems with the big C!! *hugs*

  14. Julie, don’t ever apologize for posting something of this magnitude over a topic so important! My heart goes out to you. I personally haven’t had to deal with this. I do have a mole under my right breast that the doctors have been keeping an eye on but so far they don’t believe it’s anything to worry about. They think it may have the ability to turn into something. A year ago, the doc thought I had a spot beneath my left eye. I went to a dermatologist who said he thought it was a pore that had expanded and hardened, but because it had the characteristics of skin cancer, he took it off. The surgery lasted all of 2 seconds and within a very short time frame, he confirmed it was just a pore. (Another kiss to the Gods that be). The thought of Cancer for me is very scary because I’m Type 2 Diabetic, which carries it’s own mess of issues. The two together are a two-folded death sentence. All my best to you. I’m glad it was taken care of right away. Your message is very, very important and it needs to be spread around. If you manage to get through to even one person, you may have just saved someone’s life with this long post. Good for you. If that’s what it takes, write all the long posts you want. Love you, hon. I’m glad you’re okay. Your antho buddy.

    1. Thanks so much, Jen. Your words mean a lot. I’m so glad for you that your removed skin turned out okay. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to keep an eye on that mole of yours–sounds like you already are. 🙂

  15. Glad you got that mole checked early! Hearing the C word is all kinds of awful. That’s wonderful to hear that you are currently getting positive news on your condition! I hope your second surgery goes well! Thank you for sharing this!

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