Well, today started off with a not-so-fun phone call. Although, not involving Sophie, or her teeth, or her inability to refrain from sticking crayons up her nose...going spontaneously deaf to her teacher's instructions...or rolling on the floor with Nixon. So in light of our most recent school not-so-fun-ities, that was a refreshing change.
No, this unpleasantry came in the form of a message from my dermatologist's nurse.
Turns out the super-scary mole that I went in to have checked (and removed) last week - the one that suddenly turned black, started growing like I'd given it a shot of hormones, and basically hit every check-point on the Signs You Have Skin Cancer checklist, it was fine. The teeny, slightly scaly, pin-sized dot on my face that I asked Dr. Stewart to look at as an after-thought to the removal of Mr. Scary was not so fine.
Basal cell carcinoma, not so fine.
I sat there, barely breathing, as the nurse did a lah-te-dah run through of what I needed to do now: Wait for a call from one of the other dermatologists in town. A specialist in the Mohs surgery, who would call to set up a consult for me to come in to have this particular procedure done. When I asked what "this particular procedure" involved, she informed me that it consisted of the surgical removal of the affected tissue, the freezing and mapping of that tissue, the interpretation of the microscopic slides of tissue, and the reconstruction of the surgical defect. In layman's terms, that's code for: "We'll cut a chunk out of your face, make you sit a really long time in your little paper napkin-gown in our holding area, while we look to see if we need to cut out more of your face. Then we'll try our darndest to put your face back together in such a way that doesn't make you look like The Elephant Man on the flip side."
"It's really nothing to worry about," she said. "They'll get it. Basal cells don't metastasize, so they'll be able to cut it all out."
For the first time in the conversation, I exhaled. "So I shouldn't be as freaked out as I feel?", I asked her.
"No, honey. You'll be okay."
Now, in the grand scheme of things, this is where I should've set up camp: Okay-ville. Hundreds of thousands of people receive calls such as this where the prognosis is not "okay". I should've rested in the fact that this spot, while not perfectly peachy - as I was hoping, is still relatively benign in the world of the Big C.
But hearing the word "cut", I couldn't help but think about Lucky. And Zach, I know you couldn't either.
While one of my brothers inherited my dad's nice olive skin - skin that will tan to a golden brown when exposed to the sun, I, along with my other brother, inherited my mom's skin. Red-head skin. Skin that refuses to turn any color other than Persistently Pasty White, regardless of sun exposure. Skin that's riddled with freckles, and Freckle's ugly cousin, Mole. Skin that has this nifty little propensity to grow a plethora of things in its Skin Garden - tags, warts, moles, sebaceous hyperplasia, seborrheic keratosis, cherry angiomas. And the granddaddy of all benign skin growths: keloids.
For those of you unfamiliar with keloids, this is the point where you jump up, click your heels together, and maybe even give yourself a nice, hearty high-five or hug. Because to know Keloid is not to love him. I tried to think of how to describe them, and after consulting with my good friend, Wikipedia, I can introduce you. Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules, which results in an overgrowth of tissue at the site of a healed skin injury. Yes! Very attractive, I know you're thinking. Around our house, keloids are affectionately known as "Lucky" - a humpy friend the size of a silver dollar that takes up residence on your chest after the removal of a mole.
Whenever I have a growth removed, or have to have surgery, or have a skin irritation that lingers (such as a blemish or cyst), or have some sort of trauma to the skin ("trauma", like piercing my ears), I get a keloid. It was the possibility of developing keloids that basically kept me from reaping the free-Lasik-surgery benefits of working for an ophthalmologist for six years. Dr. Marr received word of my skin/scarring history and said, "Nope. Enjoy your glasses...forever." Keloids on your eyeballs - not only not improving to your sight, not improving to your looks either. And not a good advertisement for your boss or his skills as a surgeon.
Since my phone call this morning, all I can think about is Lucky. Lucky in the form of a third eyeball, on my face. I've been pretty bummed about it, trying to stay busy with various cleaning chores around the house to distract myself. Just a few minutes ago my neighbor popped in for a visit. Upon seeing her, I immediately felt better. (Yes, I'm one of those people who delights in a good vent session.) I was telling her all about my morning and about the dermatologist I'll be visiting in a couple of weeks. I got as far as his name when her eyes bugged out and her mouth fell open. Cartoon-like. She clapped her hand over her mouth.
"Kristy! Nuh UH! I dated him for a while in college. He's our age and he's hot. Crazy hot. ...As in, render-you-speechless hot! And the way he looks at you and his voice, it's just, I don't know...hot."
Just what you want to hear about the person who will be performing your full-body mole search.
Kill me now.