I have something to get off my mind. I spend my days writing fiction, but right now I'd like to write something real that happened to me.
So...are you ever so happy you cry? I did just today. I've gone through a scary time, and I don't mean the Halloween kind of scary. Last month, the pathology from a mole on my arm came back positive for melanoma. And the doctor added to that lovely piece of news, that it was in the second layer of skin which causes additional concern. I discovered how I react to this kind of news. Don't we all ask ourselves "how would I react"? Thankful I wasn't alone when I got this news, I collapsed in a crying fit of fear huddled in my husband's arms. I stayed there for most of the next couple of days. I spent a great deal of time on the telephone during those days, too - family, dermatologist, oncologist, surgeon and ophthalmologist. That last one puzzled me. Did you know you can have moles on the backside of your eyes? The overall doctor speak I got was my original biopsy pointed to a good resolution, but to be sure they needed to remove more of my arm and a lymph node.
As positive as I tried to stay, I still broke down in fearful tears at any given time during the day. I told as few people as I could. It seemed the fewer who knew, the less real my cancer. And I didn't want to talk about it anymore than I had to. I'm no good at nurse-maiding others (ask my poor husband), and I certainly didn't relish that role for myself. I made all the appointments with the various doctors and went on a holding pattern for the surgery. At times I was angry with myself for being so scared. But try as I might, no matter how many times I told myself - "I'll be okay, I"ll be okay" - dread would wash over me and I'd cry.
One evening, a few days before my surgery, I was staring at the television in an attempt to forget for awhile, and a calmness starting somewhere in the vicinity of my head settled in me and spread like a warm elixir throughout my body. I would be okay. No matter what the results of the surgery, I would be okay. I don't know where the feeling came from or why, but it was damn near euphoric. I felt near elated for the next twenty four hours. As the surgery grew closer and for the four days after waiting for the results, I was anxious. As much as I felt I'd be okay, I needed to hear it from the doctor. And I did. They found nothing else.
And so I cried off and on all that day with tears of relief. That was three days ago. Today, out of the blue, I cried again. This time with joy. I've had several friends and family members succumb to cancer in the last few years. The C word is very scary. I never used it for myself. I always said melanoma. Just didn't sound as scary as cancer. Melanoma has an 86% cure rate. I'm very happy to be in the 86%.
This whole episode started with a routine dermatology visit. Having been raised in Arizona with all that sun, I like to have my skin checked every couple of years. My word of advice for the day - you do the same. If there is something to find, find it early.