Today's word is: Biopsy
As in, the kind your doctor takes when she suspects you may have cancer. CANCER. And cancer definitely sucks. I say f*you to cancer on a regular basis when anyone I know or a loved one of someone I know has to deal with its insidious nature in their life.
My step father died of cancer when he was in his early 60s. That was 25 years ago. Every single time I hear of someone dying of cancer, or dealing with someone being treated for cancer, I feel that pain of losing my parent all over again. It never becomes something that I hear and just go, "Oh yeah. It's cancer, but it's that totally treatable kind like non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostate cancer, early-detected breast cancer, basal cell melanoma skin cancer." I have a fear that no matter how treatable it is, once you have it, you always have it. They say you're in remission but not always cured (although I think that sometimes people are cured of cancer). Once you have it, you have to resign your life to whatever it takes to manage it.
This is what I now have to do as the biopsy did come back as skin cancer. Yes, thankfully, it is the totally treatable basal cell melanoma. I'll be having surgery next Tuesday to remove all of it. They assure me that this will take care of it. No more melanoma after surgery, but I will need to see the plastic surgeon since it's on my shoulder in a conspicuous place. And I trust that I'm in good hands, and the my extremely reputable, highfalutin Santa Monica plastic surgeon will have me walking out of that doctor's office lookin' better than when I went in.
It's scary to think that this could have been much worse. The only reason I went to have the mole checked out is because I had some cancer insurance that was going to expire. If I didn't have this, I would have waited. Waiting is the worst thing you can do when there's a potential for cancer. But waiting is my first instinct because I come at the end of a long list of people and things that need taking care of.
There's my family--my children, my husband, the cats, the fish
There's my job--colleagues and students who are depending on me
The household obligations--those groceries are going to buy themselves, you know.
So taking care of myself is increasingly harder and harder to do. But after the surgery, I must come first. As cliche as it sounds, if I'm not healthy, I won't be here for my children. So pictures you see of me this summer will be of the woman with the long sleeved tunic, sitting in the shade, protecting herself so she can beat the bastard cancer.