Earning a Medical Degree One Illness at a Time

You know, as soon as this whole business with my melanoma has blown over, I can’t help but wonder what other crap bit of luck is going to drop in my lap. Maybe I shouldn’t wonder too hard, hmmm? Especially since Sparring Partner’s dad has been feeling under the weather; or since my dad is recovering from a crushed vertebra; or since two year olds are prone to all kinds of accidents…

My second follow up with the plastic surgeon was a couple of days ago. I was looking forward to this one because it meant getting the stitches out of my foot. I had no idea that the stitches were causing me so much discomfort until they came out. My foot had healed up so well that they were ripping my skin back up again with every step. In fact I think they were in too long since the resident had to open a third set of pick-ups when the first two he tried were too dull to remove a piece of blue nylon that had become embedded under the skin.

Oh, you’re shuddering at the thought?? Trust me, I had a death grip on the exam table, nails dug in deep, and my head averted to keep myself from kicking him in the face as part of an automatic reflex to watching some one picking at the sole of my foot with a foot long pair of sharp tweezers.

The tagaderm (a transparent film dressing) is still in place over the donor site. I was told that eventually it’ll come off on its own and the site will still be red and raw. Funny isn’t it, how long it’ll end up taking to heal, huh? Another fact I wasn’t made aware of by the oncologist or surgeon. These were the EASY wounds.

As for the MM site? It’s still ugly, but getting better. It’s sore, especially in the morning, but at least the swelling in my ankle goes down by then. Oh, I didn’t mention that earlier, did I? Yes, my right ankle swells and gets painful by the end of the day. Apparently there was significant damage to the vessels and my lymphatic system needs to figure out a new way to move fluid around the site.

As for the good news, at least 80% of the graft took. I didn’t ask what will happen with the area that didn’t. I’d ask in two weeks when they asked I return, but I didn’t schedule that appointment. I walked past the desk without a second look. Sparring Partner suggested I go back in a month instead.

You’ll have to check out my “Cost of Healthcare” page. I’ll have that updated soon. Here I was just thinking a month ago that overall, our out-of-pocket expenses were way less than an annual insurance premium plus copays and deductibles. Alas…the kids didn’t need to go to college anyway. Look where it got me.

Drib. Drab.

I tried this because it said it was “created especially for adult skin”.

Yeah, that would work except I don’t have adult skin. I have teen-ager’s skin: a t-zone and zits.

Crazy thing is, I’ve tried other products from this manufacturer and I’ve hated them all. Glutton? Meet Punishment. My dear husband likes the creamy facial cleanser. He uses it on his backside when he gets chaffed from the heat. But don’t tell him I told you

I then tried this stuff. Thrilled, I tell you. A bit drying, but with an oil slick like I’ve got going on, I need all the tar-ball cleaning up I can get.

Sadly, every time I look at the name, I think of poor, dead Billy Mayes: “Don’t just get clean; get OXY clean!! *ssssnnorrrt*”

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So I bought a set of measuring spoons from Target a few weeks ago. Aitch broke my set while helping me make pancakes one morning. That girl is like a pink, tutu-wearing Hulk. She just doesn’t know her own strength! Just tonight, she was sitting on the couch watching a movie and nursing one of those take-n-toss sippy cups full of milk. All of the sudden, after being quiet to the point of almost nodding off, she gasped and jumped. I quickly figured out that she had somehow managed to pull the lid off with her teeth sending the cold milk right back into her face. I laughed at her, of course.

Anyhoo, Sparring Partner didn’t like the set I got so I had to return them. I handed the spoons and the receipt to the cashier at the customer service counter and she couldn’t get the scanner to recognize the bar code. She asked if I had a check from the account I purchased them with. Yes, but I told her I’m not giving her one just for that (I’m not tearing out one of my checks when she has the stupid receipt right in front of her). She said that she won’t be able to process the return since the receipt was so faded.

I didn’t say anything, but fumed quietly while she eventually keyed in the numbers from the receipt and handed me change, a bit snottily I might add. I was tempted to tell her that the receipt hadn’t “faded”. It was because there wasn’t enough ink in the register to give a quality print out. Not my fucking problem.

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I have another appointment with the plastic surgeon Wednesday. I’m hoping he’ll take the stitches out of my left foot even though he didn’t put them in. He’s kind of an asshole, before you assume that of course he would. I also am looking forward to getting the tagaderm off the back of my thigh covering the graft area. It sticks to the toilet seat and that’s a bit disconcerting if you think about it.

I’m still limping, but not as noticeably. I’m still quite squicked out when it’s time for changing the wound dressing and glad Sparring Partner is willing. He told me that he’s taking good care of it because he wants to be able to use my leg as a coaster once it heals. That and the ass-chaffing…wow. It’s hard to believe he’s allllll mine. Till death do us part and all that jazz, wouldn’t you know.

Instead of Pictures…

Maybe once it starts to heal up and not look like a giant eel took a bite out of my leg and left a black, festering wound, I’ll post pictures here. However, until then I figure it might be easier on the eye (and stomach) to just post the link to a new set I created on my Flickr account.

Yes, I have Flickr. Don’t you? And if you do, how come I’m not stalking you there as well?? Uppity asshole.

This is the link then. Now you have a choice and sometimes even the simple choices are really nice to have.

My Cancer: A set on Flickr.

I Did Not Escape So Easily

My follow-up appointment to my surgery was yesterday. I was SO excited about it because it meant finally getting the plaster splint removed, letting the surgical site heal, and just moving on. Bye-bye, Cancer! Pfffft!!

I was excited about finally getting to take a shower. Shaving my legs that were resembling a tarantula’s. Washing away the week of bed-ridden stink. Wearing shoes; REAL shoes, not Crocs (actually just Croc, since I could only wear one shoe). Returning the walker and the crutches.

What did I say earlier? Bye-bye, Cancer? Pffffft?

I wasn’t prepared – at all – for my appointment yesterday, which was a follow-up with the plastic surgeon. I guess what I saw on the bottom of my other foot was what I thought I would see on my leg. I was thrilled when the nurse started removing the splint without the doctor even there. She unwrapped the compression bandages and then carefully cut away the padding from my shin and eased the plaster cast from the back of my leg, pausing briefly when the gauze seemed to have stuck to the site.

She picked it away from what was holding the gauze: a staple. A staple that was connecting my skin to a sponge. There was a sponge stapled to the back of my leg. A round sponge. The staples pulled on my skin to create unnatural and gruesome wrinkles. I was shocked but fascinated. I took a picture and sent it quickly to Sparring Partner who was in the lobby with the kids.

The surgeon came in shortly and picked up the staple-removing pliers and lifted my foot to his lap. I awkwardly turned my leg so he could reach first one side and then the other, plucking at the staples as I bit my lip in pain. One of the staples was stubborn, he picked at it and I yelled OUCH! and quickly apologized as he halted the torture briefly to almost glare at me.

Finally the staples were out and I fanned my face with my hand. He asked if I was going to faint. I said no, that I had just gotten really hot. I wish I had fainted. The pinching of the pliers and the quiet “click” against the staples was sickening. He pulled the sponge away and a wadded mess of bloody gauze lay underneath. I turned my head away as he removed it. I’ve never shied away from gore, but this was too much.

When I looked again, he was examining his work and I gasped and said, “That looks terrible! ….no offense…” He ignored me and picked up a tiny pair of scissors and snipped an overhang of graft skin. I felt nothing. I said it looks like a shark bite. He replied he’s seen one and yes, the site does look like a shark bite; a very small one, he amended. Small. The size of my palm. I took another picture with my phone. And then I said, “So. This is what malignant melanoma can do…” He nodded sagely.

He cleaned the wound, added some ointment, which because of the depth of the wound, most nerves were gone and I never even felt, covered it with a pad, packed it again with gauze and wrapped it all back up again in a compression bandage. He told me I could shower. I asked what’s the best way to cover it during the shower. Oh, no, he said, you will change this every day and can leave it uncovered for your shower (!!!!). I’ll see you in another week, he said, and walked out.

I have pictures, but quite frankly, they are awful. I will post them, but not today. I am still trying to wrap my head around everything. I wasn’t prepared for being incapacitated for a week. But mostly, I wasn’t prepared to see what I have seen. I guess that’s what I get for thinking this whole MM went too smoothly for me: diagnosed and removed with negative secondary biopsy results. Smooth sailing…I knew I would have a scar. I expected something similar to what was on my foot. A vertical line or something less invasive. But to see that hole in my leg. Well, it upsets me even now to think about it so that’s why I’ll wait to show you another time.

The Salad

I sit next to her, eating a salad. A nothing special salad. It has croutons, red onions, a couple of slices of tomatoes and ranch dressing. She picks out the croutons as I eat. She barely avoids my stabbing fork and picks up an onion ring delicately between her finger and thumb and eyeballs it. She sees a sliver of it on my fork just as I pop in it in my mouth. “Yummy!” I tell her. She takes a bite, chews, and grimaces. She removes the offending vegetable from her mouth and flicks it onto the table. I shrug my shoulders at her. She’ll taste about anything so I can’t complain.

She picks up the tomato slice and eats it like a mini-watermelon, taking bites out of the fruit and leaving the rind abandoned on her plate. “Big bite!” she demands. I load up some smaller pieces of lettuce onto my fork and present it to her. “No. Biiiig bite!!” I return the fork to my salad and spear one more piece of lettuce that’s bigger than the others. Aitch deems it presentable and chomps on the fork and chews it up.

I also take another bite and turn to smile at her, enjoying the interaction. She looks at me and I see her eyes move to my mouth as it chews. She reaches for her napkin, always present, on the table and then carefully wipes what must have been a little ranch dressing from the corner of my mouth. As she does so, her eyes shift from my mouth to my eyes and gives me a big smile of accomplishment and she puts down the napkin, satisfied that my face is respectable again.

And in that moment, I realized she someday will probably have a child of her own (at least I truly hope she will), and I pray I am there for that moment when she wipes the face of her child gently, efficiently, with a small smile on her lips and love in her eyes. And in that following moment, a tear escapes from my eye but I brush it quickly away so that no one will see.

*Tickle Tickle!*

I have graduated from the walker to crutches.

I have also promoted myself from socks to croc (just one since the other foot is still wrapped and splinted), thanks to the removal of what must have been nearly 53 yards of wadded up gauze from the arch of my foot which was replaced with a simple gauze pad.

If this is how the “small” surgery site looks, I can’t wait to see the wide excision. Should be quite goryrific!

Uprooted

I hate this plant. I don’t even know what kind it is. It sits in the corner of the room by the sliding deck doors. It always seems to have yellow and dying leaves. I haven’t repotted it since I got it so the soil is poor. Whenever I water it just a little, it sieves right through and leaks out onto the floor.

It doesn’t flower. I hardly can tell it grows except I did take a cutting and plant it, with success. The cutting rooted and was potted and sits on a side table away from its parent plant. It seems a bit healthier, but it hardly catches my attention when I walk by it a half dozen times a day, every day.

Every once in a while, I’ll turn it so it can readjust its lean towards the sun. But other than that and watering it once every couple of weeks (if it’s lucky), I ignore it. I – as I said initially – hate it.

So why do I keep it? Why not just pitch it out into the field in my backyard and see if the deer will enjoy it?

Why not, indeed.

It’s the plant that welcomed me home from my first D&C five years and eleven months ago.

It represents death, sorrow, loss. It lives with little care or attention from me. Which may be why I despise it all the more.

I am the face of Miscarriage, of Stillbirth, of Infant Loss.

#1094

Moon Walker

Lucky you. Bedrest means I can update.

And oddly, now that I have the time, I don’t have much to say. Maybe it’s because I’m distracted by my DVR’d Desperate Housewives.

Still crazy sore. My palms and shoulders hurt from bracing my weight on the walker. Did I mention I’m using a walker?!

I finally got some good news just a bit ago. The second mole biopsied from my left foot came back negative for melanoma. Yippee! And the wide excision on the right leg’s tissue also came back negative. Double yippee!!

Did you know there’s a right and a wrong way to put together a walker? The wrong way means that when you try to go through standard width doorways, you can scratch and gouge up the woodwork. As the picture shows, the wheels are currently on the inside of the walker. That was after Sparring Partner repositioned them from the outside. Just in case you ever have to use a walker.

I have also improved my moonwalking via the walker. Our master bath has a separate commode area and there’s no room for me to go forward into it and then turn around. Oh no. I have to back in. And since I can’t put full weight on either foot, I moonwalk. To the toilet.

I. Am. Awesome.

Also, I’m a bit looped on my meds. Wish you were here!

Pain, Pain, Go Away. And so on and so forth.

The night before my surgery I woke up pissed. I was thinking about that stupid pregnancy test and it just made me angry. If my word that I definitely am not pregnant wasn’t good enough, then why do they bother asking?? I thought of all the snippy responses I could make including, “If my test came back positive then I wouldn’t need the surgery, I could heal myself and everyone in the general vicinity.”

The surgery itself went well I guess. It took about an hour and a half. I was a bit shocked to see my right foot bandaged from toe to knee, wrapped in an ace bandage and fortified with a hard splint. Not sure why they didn’t just boot me. While the option of a skin graft was there, it wasn’t until I moved on the gurney that I realized that’s exactly what had happened. The graft site was on the back of my thigh, just under my buttocks. I realized painfully, that the site is exactly where a toilet seat hits when I sit down to pee.

My left foot looks fairly normal with a wadded hunk of gauze taped to the arch. It also hurts like a mo-fo.

Everything hurts.

The dozen steps I had to take between the gurney and the bathroom in post-op made me realize that not even my c-section surgeries hurt this much. On the two-hour drive home from the Metro, we had stopped at a gas station to get something to drink. I think the combination of morphine, percocets and vehicle movement were too much and I nearly threw up in the back seat of the van. The wave of nausea passed but I just felt like crap.

Once we made it back into town, I started dreading the walk that was necessary to get me from the van to the bedroom. There’s no way Sparring Partner could carry me, with his back in poor shape. So we stopped at the in-laws and borrowed an extra walker.

Yes, you read that correctly. A walker. It has been a godsend. Now originally, the oncologist thought that this surgery wouldnt hamper my ability to go to work the day after. I’ve quickly realized that I won’t be going back to work (it’s another temp position) until Monday. The doctor’s instructions are laughable: “toe touch weight bearing”. Not sure how one walks with just toe touch on both feet. I would need a pair of fucking wings for that. Going from the garage to the bedroom was excruciating: I was crying half-way there, which is at the kitchen table where Doodicus was sitting with his homework. I saw from the corner of my eyes (full of vision blurring tears) that he was staring at me, afraid to say anything. I’m not sure he’s ever seen me cry in pain.

I’m throwing back percocets as soon as the four hours pass to counter that pain. I am taking something to help the nausea pass. I am taking something so everything I eat while on pain meds will pass. On top of those three things, I am also on an antibiotic.

I return to the Metro on the 20th to have the splint removed. By then the path report should be back on the second mole. By then, I should only be limping. By then I will be dying for a bath or a shower as I’m not allowed either since there’s no way for me to keep one entire leg dry. It’s whore baths for the next week. You better count your lucky stars that you are where you are and I’m where I am. Not that I’ll get too stinky, but because my mood is most foul. Until I have my perc and then I’m a happy camper. A sleepy, nauseous and wounded camper.

In 24 Hours, I Won’t Even Recognize Myself

It’s been a little over a month since the biopsy of Zee Mole. I have a poor quality pix of it from my cell phone. I wish I had a better one to keep documented. Last week, after showering the scab came off. Aren’t you glad I shared that with you? But it’s still nasty. Here’s how it looks currently.

10.10.2010

 Within 24 hours, it’ll look completely different. If it has taken a month for the initial procedure to look as “good” as the picture above, I am fairly certain the new wound will take most of the winter. Good thing it wasn’t shorts and flip-flop weather, eh? Gotta look on the bright side… 

Here’s the other mole that will be removed and biopsied. This one I will miss, strange as it seems. I’ve had it for a very long time. However, while Dr. Drapenscrape didn’t think we should be concerned, the oncologist doesn’t like the slight feathering of the edges.

10.10.2010

If this one comes back as MM as well AND is deeper than .75 mm, then we will be back to the possibility of a lymph node biopsy. This doesn’t account for every other mole I have that has been scrutinized to the point of being obsessive.

Sidenote: the pre-screening nurse asked if there was any way I was pregnant. Yes, of course I audibly scoffed. She said that the anesthestist may require a pregnancy test anyway. I scoffed again. How do I explain – over the phone and to an utter stranger – that two of the most important elements in getting pregnant: 1) healthy eggs and 2) sex, are nonexistent? I guess I’ll have to spend another $50 for a stupid pee test.

Unrelated sidenote: Thank you…you know for what.

Polarized

Last night I crawled into bed shortly after putting Aitch down. Sparring Partner and Doodicus were at a local football game and so the house was quiet.

I turned on my bed so that I was facing the video monitor which showed she had quickly fallen asleep, curled up on her side with Corncorn cuddled to her face. I was overwhelmed with the urge to go to her room, pick her up, and bring her to bed with me so I could cuddle with her like she was cuddling that stuffed unicorn. She’s my lifeline right now as I feel myself fall into yet another bout of depression.

It’s like she’s the only “normal” person living in this home. Doodicus’s issues with school and his current pre-adolescent stage filled with belligerence and rude behaviour makes me not want to be around him. I’m happy to let him play video games so I don’t have to listen to him whine or cry or stomp his feet when I tell him to pick up his toys.

Sparring Partner and I are…

…are what, I can’t really say. We are housemates who have children together. If I try to tell him I am sad or scared or unhappy, somehow we end up arguing and finger-pointing. So, I don’t tell him I’m sad and scared and unhappy.

That brings me back to Aitch. When it comes to her needs and demands, which sometimes make me feel expended because of everything else, I know right now she’s what keeps me centered as the rest of my life seems to spin out of balance. Ironically, it will only be a matter of time before her own life’s story about her donor becomes a source of anxiety. Until then, I gaze at her wistfully, polarized by my need to be as close to her as possible and the need to escape.

Little Known (but you may have guessed) Facts

I can’t stand crowds. My personal bubble is enormous. For that reason, I won’t go to concerts. Crowded malls and craft fairs (god yes, I’ve attended craft fairs) always make me wish I had a taser.

It’s gotten to be so bad that when a song performed live comes on the radio and it includes the crowd noise, my blood pressure goes up and I automatically get annoyed.

Does this make me hypersensitive or just crotchety?

(Holy shit! I JUST realized there’s an Undo and Redo button on my wordpress post options! Do you know how many times I’ve accidently deleted something thinking it was a weird glitch on WP’s part when all this time it was because I was pushing the Undo button instead of the spellcheck button which is right above it?? Cool!)

Prego

Started another temp job today. Go me.

While the work itself will be duller than dishwater, my fellow temp-employees should be fodderrific!

Today was training so when I arrived with the other newbies, we were to all sit down at the conference table we had met at once before. I love the psychological aspects that go into body language and such so instead of sitting where I had before, like everyone else, I sat at the head of the table. I’m such a rebel.

Joining us was Prego. A temp as well, but wasn’t at the first meeting, and one could assume by her nickname that she is indeed visibly pregnant. In just a few short minutes, she shared everything but *how* she got pregnant…the first time AND the second time.

She announced that “they” had been trying to get pregnant for three years and were going through all the “fertility stuff” but it just didn’t work. Three months after stopping, like ohemgee! she got pregnant! and was on bedrest! and her son is just fine even though she delivered him early at 37 weeks.

I was really trying not to roll my eyes. Especially when someone chimed in with, “It must have been your body adjusting to getting off of all of those fertility drugs.”

And then on her son’s 1st birthday, the pregnancy test her FIANCE told her not to waste her money on because the doctor told her at the birth of their first child she would never have any more children and she knew that right, was positive! And they’re having a little girl!

A stranger asks, “Is she active?”

Oh, yes, and with the placenta here *rubs placenta*, blahBLAHdeblahblah….but right now she’s sleeping…I’m so big, my father-in-law asked me if I swallowed a watermelon!…yeah, it should be interesting for my son as he’s the first grandson and great-grandson…(wait. What??)

She sits next to me at our work stations. She’s going to make me nuts, I can just tell. This job is supposed to go through the end of the year (unless I find something sooner, as if!) and she’s not due until late December.

I’m going to have to hear about her pregnancy for the next 12 weeks, aren’t I?

I am SO showing off my surgical sites in a couple of weeks just to trump her pregnancy blithering.

The Herd Mentality

I use to check my stats daily until it become an obsession, especially during the glory days when the number of visits was steadily climbing – thanks to multiple miscarriages and failed fertility treatments. Oh, Angst. You are an addictive mistress.

After Aitch came home safely and I started carrying on about how cute she was and how easy things were and generally happy, visitors weren’t as many, but I was already weaning myself away from the stats. It kinda sucks, but heh, I guess that means my life wasn’t dramatic enough which meant I was somehow settling into a new normal.

I do check my wordpress stats when I log in. It’s not as comprehensive, but it clues me in to some of the more common search hits I get, many looking for c-section scar pictures. Why? Who knows. During my review of my stats, I realized with a start that the number of visits to my blog on Friday were the highest since moving to this new blog. Over 10x higher than average at approximately 250. Yes, my blog only gets about 25 hits a day. Go ahead and compare and gloat. A vast majority of them came from Stirrup Queens because my post about the MM was linked under Miscellaneous Support and Celebrations in her Lost and Found.

I think that is amazing how so many came by simply upon the request of one incredibly influential blogger. But…I have to admit that I was a bit befuddled by those numbers in addition to being humbled. Less than a handful of all those people who followed Mel’s link left a comment. Why would 250 people take the time to follow a link, arrive at my blog and then only 2% of those people take those extra seconds to leave a comment?

Is this just virtual rubber necking? Was the news of my melanoma nothing more than a fender bender, bloggystyle, where there are plenty of lookers but only one or two good samaritans willing to actually stop and find out if any help is needed? Maybe it’s because LFCA is usually reserved for reproductive-related news and my MM wasn’t anything that they could relate to? Was it simply because once they read the news, I had bored their brains into stillness and they were too incoherent to comment?

Now honestly, it’s not they didn’t comment because those that did are my friends and the ones I care about, but why in the world would you follow a  link knowing that it’s a link to someone who is needing a little virtual handholding and NOT be willing to follow through? I know for me, if there’s a link to a blog and if I know I just am not strong enough to give, I don’t even click it. That happens a lot to me when it’s a link about a miscarriage. I am no longer able to relive those painful memories…but that’s not possible in this case, right? All 250 visits from Stirrup Queen’s weren’t from people also suffering or recovering from MM, could they be?

So do you follow the links to other blogs when it’s a call for support? Once you follow that link, don’t you feel some kind of obligation to comment? This phenomenon has happened before and I’ve always wanted to ask, but haven’t for fear of sounding as if I’m complaining about being linked to, but damn, don’t you find that curious behavior?

A Little Good. A Little Bad

24 hours is a long time when you spend most of it thinking of one thing, or even if it’s several things in relation to one subject. In the moments I would wake up during the night, my first thought would be, “what if?” and then I would make myself not think it anymore. There were just too many variables out there from the doctor in regards to the melanoma to start thinking of my epitaph. In short, my imagination was being a bit melodramatic.

On my two hour drive to The Metro, I couldn’t help but compare my emotions today to what they were in the years preceding Aitch’s birth when I would drive there to see my RE. I hate that drive as it’s the one I made with the new maternity outfit that I never ended up wearing,  just days before I started spotting with Vivienne. It’s the one I had to make when I was told by my RE that my pregnancy with Wolf was over. It’s the one I made for every CD1…

It gave me time to recall the worst things I had been told in my life:

“I just don’t love you the way I use to.” Thanksgiving weekend, 1995

“I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat.” November, 2004

“This pregnancy isn’t going to end they way we want it to.” November, 2006

“We are terminating your employment, effective immediately.” January, 2009

“If the melanoma has reached the lymph nodes, survival rates significantly drop.” September, 2010

The clinic is located on the university. My directions to the office itself were poor. I was overwhelmed with what seemed like mundane issues: the parking garage, the elevators, getting registered, and the waiting (and waiting and waiting!).

The oncologist was friendly and optimistic. The depth of the melanoma was what he considered thin even though only .15 mm separated “thin” from “thick”. That’s POINT one-and-a-half millimeters, about the thickness of a piece of ordinary paper.

Based on that alone, he doesn’t feel the sentinel lymph node biopsy is called for. The chances of anything being found in the node is less than 1%, he says. However, he would still like to go back after the tissue surrounding the mole creating 1cm margins and this will be biopsied as well. While this sounds fairly simple, I will actually be under general anesthesia as where the mole is located creates a complication in how to close it. There’s no way to just stitch it closed. There’s not enough excess skin on the back of my lower leg so a plastic surgeon will also assist to creatively close it.

My leg modeling days are over.

Just as we were finishing up, he decided to check out the other moles I have on my feet and did a double take on one. It’s in the arch of the opposite foot. While Dr. Drapenscrape looked at it as well, he let it go. But the oncologist noticed that it has uneven coloring, hard to spot in the thin, wrinkling skin of an arch without close examination. That mole will be removed during my surgery as well and sent off to pathology.

No more tanning for sport he said. No tanning beds. Sunscreen with SPF30 or higher on ALL exposed skin. My day wasn’t as bad as I had feared, but I know this new journey is just beginning. Surgery is on the 12th.