*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!

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.

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.

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’s 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.

Zee Mole

This is Zee Mole nearly three weeks after the biopsy (today). It’s HUGE, isn’t it??

What? It’s not huge?! I think this guy begs to disagree:

See? He’s totally freaked out. It’s like a Black Hole, right in the back of my leg. His head would fit in that hole, people!

More proof:

See that? That my friends, is a giant pumpkin I picked this past weekend. It looks like one of those pathetic, undersized “pie” pumpkins, doesn’t it? But believe you, me, that’s a whopper pumpkin.

Even the screaming dude concurs. “Aaaiiiiieeee! The Black Hole! A giant pumpkin!! Girl, you need some lotion!”

Things Just Got Interesting

Last night I looked over my calendar and was happy to see that over two weeks had passed since my appointment when the doc biopsied a mole on the back of my leg. Happy because I was told that if something showed up, they would call me within two weeks. If all was clear, they would send me a letter but that probably wouldn’t get to me for almost three weeks.

In fact, I was going to post on facebook that the doc had created a divot in my leg for nothing. I should add to that by explaining that while I thought they had just scraped off a bit of the mole, I discovered after it finally started to heal up that they carved that fucker like a jack-o-latern. Yes, there is a divot in my leg. One could place a golf ball on the back of my ankle and tee off without a problem.

As you’ve probably already figured by now, the letter that should say the scribed tissue was normal will not come. Instead I got a phone call just this morning that went like this:

*annoying cell phone ring because there isn’t a normal one on my phone*

“This is Yo-yo Mama.” I answer this way in case it’s my future employer. Normally I would answer, “Whaddup, Bitch?”

“Yo-yo, this is Nurse Stoic at Dermatology’s clinic. Dr. Drapenscrape would like to see you to discuss the results of your biopsy.”

“So. I take it, it’s not good news.”

“Dr. Drapenscrape will go over the details with you. Will Thursday morning work for you?”

A decade of employment with the healthcare system combined with four years of negative beta calls from an RE clinic is enough experience to know that when a nurse calls to ask you to come in to speak to a doctor, that the news is not good. So as far as how bad things are? Well, I’ll know more Thursday.

The mole itself appears to be out, but has very small margins. Commonly, more cutting will be necessary. I might even get myself some KY jelly that’s been nuked by Chernobyl to smear on my divot. Maybe I can act really pathetic and get a script for medicinal merijewanna?

I’m sure that everything will be fine. No one ever dies of skin cancer, right?*

*The first person who tells me otherwise will be haunted by my divoted leg that is also spouting some very unsexy stubble as it’s pretty difficult to shave one side of a leg divot’s scab without running the razor into the other side.