I’m Learning Too Late That Baby Oil Does Not Have An SPF

Dr. Drapenscrape didn’t keep me waiting long in the exam room. I was sitting on a chair and he pulled the other up next to mine and sat down, my medical file in his hand. I knew going into this appointment that the mole hadn’t been benign, but to see it on the pathology report’s Final Diagnosis…well, I don’t know how to describe what I felt.

Malignant Melanoma

Zee Mole has now got himself a fancy new name and a lot more respect.

Dr. Drapenscrape went over the findings in detail, including the following important points about Zee Mole, which will now be “MM” for brevity’s sake:

  1. It has a depth of .6mm. My doctor’s policy has been anything with a depth of .75mm or greater is a ticket for an automatic CT and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans. Mine, at .6 is right at the point Dr. Drapenscrape’sĀ orders the scans if he’s feeling a bit of hypochondria. His words. This measurement is the Breslow Measurement.
  2. It is at Clark’s Level IV on a scale of 1 to 5. Not to be confused with the stages of cancer, this just tells how deep into the dermis the MM goes. Clark’s is not used as often as it had in the past, and according to Dr. Drapenscrape, it will become obsolete by 2012.
  3. Add in the Mitotic Index. That’s the growth of the MM cells. It also has a scale: 0 – 3. The path report indicates mine is at a 1. So there’s growth, but slow, however…there’s growth.

Take these three facts, all gray and borderline, and add them to my age (which I am considered “young” – Finally!), and we have a situation that would lead my doc to err on the side of caution. Why wait 10 years to find out that things are way more serious?

Tomorrow I meet with an oncologist in The Metro for a consult. We will then schedule a Sentinel Lymph Node biopsy that will be more definitive as far as stages, if there’s even one I’m at. He may decide that I should go ahead and have the CT and PET scans prior to the results, or we may hold off.

The words “survival rates” came up and I felt the first real moments of panic settle in my chest. Googling what I have so far has added to that fear: “most serious form of skin cancer” and “deadliest form of skin cancer”. Fuck you, Google.

It’s not just skin cancer, kids, it’s cancer. And I have it.