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.