health: cancerversary?

photo: captured by mazzie I’m really going to have to make these writing breaks less frequent. “Social” media has let me get pretty lazy, though. When I think I should write about something, I realize I’ve already tweeted, shared, instagram’d, vine’d, etc. the heck out of it and after all that, who’s going to want to come here to look at it again and make comment? And with Google Reader’s passing signaling the near-death of the RSS feed, might we actually be getting back to the days when these little online corners of the world were just personal journals that no one read? Possibly… but probably not. I do miss the days when I could talk a little more freely about things involving other people, but I am far too easy to find online now for that.

But here I’ve gone and managed to digress before I could even gress. My initial point was that I missed my third1 cancerversary in that my radiation therapy treatments were completed in late June 2010 and since then I haven’t really done much to mark the date. It isn’t like I’ve ever forgotten it or the change in my outlook since then, but the focus is supposed to be on not being sick rather than the other way round, and I’ve happily gone to see my oncologist every 3-6 months and reported “Nope!” to the questions about symptoms, fatigue (physical, not mental), pains, etc.

Unfortunately, after cutting my hair a few weeks back, I noticed a patch of skin that didn’t appear to be behaving as it should. It wasn’t acting like a zit, a sebaceous or follicular blockage or anything else the skin on my head has done with the exception of lymphoma-related sites. And it appeared to be getting bigger, but that had to be confirmed by a best friend who naturally suggested I go to the doctor right away…

Small problem, that. I’d just transitioned companies (same chair, different boss) and the new company screwed up my health insurance enrollment. They showed I was enrolled since date of hire, but I still had no insurance card or member number or anything to hand over which was AWESOME. So after a very restrained angry phone call and repeated e-mails back and forth, I had some insurance credentials. Having seen what the hospital gets paid before insurance negotiations, there was no way I was going in there without someone else footing the majority of that bill. Still though, a big middle finger to my new company–yes I know this will be easy for them to find online if they’re that insecure about their online reputation and if they look and have a problem with that, note that it was their screw up, not mine.

So finally, insurance info print out in hand, I see my oncologist who did say that it might not be another lymphoma site, but did send me to see someone at the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Center to determine whether it was something or nothing.2 After the doctor there looked at it, she said, “Well… I’m not impressed by it.” I believe what she meant to say was that she wasn’t concerned but her bedside manner could have used a little work.3 Still, since I was there I asked them to go ahead and perform a biopsy because I’d rather know if it’s nothing than worry about whether it was something.

photo: surgical tools, anesthetic and stiches from my biopsy Ever had someone dig around with a really sharp circular blade on your head? No? Well it hurts like a bitch, even with the local anesthetic they gave me–of which I needed a second dose. But now I know what a punch biopsy is, and hope I never have to go through it again. There’s nothing like being face down on an operating table–without a face hole, mind you–while one doctor shows her resident the procedure and then quibbles over what kind of needle to use for your stitches. Spoiler alert: she needed a bigger one than she originally requested.

Of the two obvious jokes they could have made while sewing up the site, the resident went with “Did your mom every tell you you had a thick skull?” She did not, my mother said I was hard-headed. Thankfully, they didn’t say I needed [that] like I need a hole in my head as that joke had already been made with my biopsies 3 years prior.

So now the waiting4. Results in 7-10 days, stitches out in 10-15. I’ve got an appointment in a week so unless they call me sooner, I imagine I’ll find out all about it then. I sincerely hope it’s something perfectly normal and not cancer as I really don’t want to lose another summer to this crap AND it would suck to have all the hair irradiated off the crown of my head. I’ll pretty much be shaving my head for the rest of my life or getting a series of very creative wigs. If there are any wigmakers out there that would like a challenge, hit me up.

I promise that I’ll write about more uplifting things soon. I have some new cocktail recipes to post to the food blog, and there’s other stuff happening but this is sort of taking precedent right now. Still, no matter what happens, I’m obviously not that easy to get rid of, but if you can spare some positive thoughts–or negative thoughts as far as the biopsy is concerned–that’d be great. :mrgreen:

1 And first, and second…
2 I will say that they blew my mind in terms of how quickly I was able to get in to see them. My oncologist saw me the same day I called and the dermatological specialist saw me two days later.
3 Her first suggestion was that I give it two months or so and then come back to see if there were any changes. Seriously.
4 Which, I’ve heard, is the hardest part.

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4 Responses

  1. mazzie says:

    Didn’t we celebrate your first cancer(free)versary at Bourbon Steak? Or at least with drinks?
    Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is YOUR FACE. Hah. Love you.

  2. Chris says:

    I’ll think good thoughts your way. Keep us up to date.

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