Tag Archives: Melanoma

Cancer leaves Scars that you Cannot See

For those of you who may not be aware, I recently went through my second round of Cancer surgery.  If you’re interested in the kind, or the details, click here or here.

I’m cured at the moment.  Everything is fine.

Something unexpected happened to me the other day, though.

I sat on the floor, packing up the paperwork after finishing our taxes for the year.  I set one folder aside—the one with all the important investment information.  I realized that I was the only one in the house that even knew this folder existed, so I didn’t want to bury it in the filing cabinet.

My husband entered the room, and grabbed something from the table.

“Sweetie,” I said.  “Just in case anything ever happens to me, I need you to take this blue folder to a financial advisor.  He will tell you what to do.”

His face grew pale.  His expression blank.

I held up the folder.  “I will keep it on top so you can find it easily if you ever need it, okay?”

He stared at me for a moment more, before he burst into tears.  “It was just a little cancer spot,” he sobbed.  “You’re not allowed to die!”

I sat on the floor, stunned.  Actually dying was the furthest thing from my mind at the moment.  I was just trying to be a responsible adult.

I jumped up and held him, his tears dampened my blouse.  “Sweetie, that’s not what I meant.  I just want to make sure you and the kids would be okay if…”

“Don’t say it!”  His body shook in my arms.  “I can’t do this without you.  You can’t die first.  You can’t leave me alone.  I need you.”

“Sweetie, don’t worry.  I’m not going to die.”

We held each other for a while, silent.

My husband is my rock.  He stood beside me, holding my hand while they cut the cancer from my arm.  He changed my bandages.  He took care of me.  It never occurred to me that he was just as scared as I was.

For the first time in months, the children didn’t interrupt our brief moment of intimacy.  He needed that.

Maybe I needed that too.

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Cancer Sucks. I can prove it.

Cancer Sucks.

Well, I guess it’s a given.  No one would disagree with me.  The good news is that I’m cancer free again.  Modern medicine is a wonderful thing.  Yes, skin cancer is curable (if you catch it in time).  But I don’t think people realize what they have to do to cure it.

My malignant basal cell was on my arm.  It was only about a quarter of an inch round.  Like the size of a squashed pea.  No biggie, right?

When I lay on that table, and they started drawing on my arm with a sharpie, I actually said:  “You don’t have to cut that much, do you?”

My surgeon explained that they have to cut bigger and wider so they can close it evenly.  He assured me that the scar wouldn’t be that big.  Okay… not really worried about the scar at that moment!

Holy freaking cow.  Get a ruler and draw a box that is a little over two inches long, and about three quarters of an inch wide.  Now put that baby on your arm.

Say what?  How stinking deep do you have to go?

Well, about ten minutes later, they were picking me up off the floor, and calling my husband in.

Okay, maybe I’m a wimp, but I think there should be a law that says you have to knock someone out before cutting two inches of flesh from their arm.  Sounds logical, right?

My husband is such a trooper.  He stood beside me and held my hand and talked me through it.  When they prepared to close me up an hour later, he glanced at my arm and his eyes told me everything that his fake smile did not.  Today, he told me he couldn’t believe how long and deep the cut was.

I don’t know what it looked like.  I kept my eyes on him.  I didn’t want to pass out again.

Not to gross you out, but this is what the stitches look like a day and a half later, from a pea-sized cancer cell.

Okay.  I lied.  I do want to gross you out.  Now will you go and buy some stinking sunscreen?  Yes, that scar is going almost completely across my arm.

Don’t be an idiot.  I did this to myself 25 years ago, when we didn’t know any better.  Now, we do know better.  Do your best to protect yourself.  Stay out of the sun, and if you can’t find shade, get some descent sunscreen.

Like I said before, if going through this helps a few of you to avoid it, it is all worthwhile.

You can go puke now.  (It’s okay, I don’t mind) and then get back to writing your novel.

(After you order some sunscreen— SPF 50 or higher.)