A new diagnosis
It was tiny. Just slightly larger than this: •
But it was new. I'm not sure exactly when it appeared. Maybe last January? One day there was nothing and then all of a sudden, there was something on the inside of my left thigh.
The nurse at my OBGYN spotted it during my annual and suggested I have my dermatologist take a looked at it. I initially shrugged it off after doing a quick search on moles and skin cancer that night. This one was perfectly round with no weird boarders and had even coloring. Every image I looked at online suggested it was harmless.
But when I mentioned it to Chris, he said, "We have insurance. Why not have it looked it?" I had a litany of reasons to not go: it was probably nothing, we have a lot going on this summer, I have all the kids, and I'm low risk for skin cancer, with my dark skin and not spending much time outside. It was nothing, I thought.
But then vanity. I'd make the appointment to have the mole looked at, but my real reason for going? I wanted a refill on my melasma cream and I had questions about Botox.
Doctor: What brings you in today?
Me: Oh, the nurse at my OBGYN said I should have this tiny mole looked at, but I'm sure it's nothing so what can you tell me about Botox?
He got out his magnifying glass, took one look at the mole, sat back, and said, "I don't like it.” Incredulous I said, "REALLY? There's a much bigger and uglier one on the back of my neck." He peeked under my hair and said, "That one I'm not worried about. The little one, I just don't like the look of it. How flexible are you?" And he invited me to scrunch over and look at the offending mole through the glass myself.
What appeared, without the magnifying glass, to be perfectly round and black, in the magnifying glass looked dark brown with red speckles. He injected some numbing cream and razored it off to send to a lab.
Mind you, I've had a mole biopsy before. I followed the ABCD’s of mole care. When a mole on my upper back went from flat to raised, I had it biopsied. It was benign. When I accidentally scratched a mole on my neck thinking it was a bug bite, I had that removed, too. It was benign. I expected this one to be benign, as well. It was smaller. It was flatter. It was rounder.
It was melanoma.
There's not else much to say because we don't know much else as we wait. But now I know this: skin cancer can happen to anyone.
I had an additional biopsy today on a separate but similar mole on my hip and surgery for my thigh is scheduled for the 19th.
So while we wait this is what we pray: that my margins are clear, that the second spot is nothing, and that I can dwell on God’s goodness and faithfulness. I'm thankful we caught this early and I’m thankful to be a part of a community that loves well and prays hard.
I went back and forth about sharing this news online versus keeping it private. I still don't know if I landed on the right side of this decision.
I'm not sharing this to alarm anyone (it was caught early!), but I'm sharing because I needed someone to tell me this: your health is more important than anything else on your calendar.
I have health insurance and a loving family who will watch my children any time for any reason, and I know these are HUGE privileges that not many others have. Yet I still put it off because making a doctor's appointment seemed too inconvenient. If I could change anything about how this went down, I would have went in sooner.
But, c’mon. It’s a little funny that my curiosity about Botox is how the melanoma was caught so early.