Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Dreaded C Word

Lately, I feel I have been surrounded by the C word. And no, not THAT C word, I'm not talking about vajayjays here.

Cancer. That *shiver* C word.

It all started when I received a friend request on Facebook. It was from the sister of a high school classmate. A classmate who had passed on October 28, 2000, after battling Melanoma. I read her story at Kate's Foundation, a website dedicated to making others aware of the dangers of the sun and this horrible disease.

One night, while on Twitter, Karen posted a message about her friend Lisa at Clusterfook. Lisa is a three-time cancer fighter. She was diagnosed in 2004 with Ovarian Cancer. What strikes me about Lisa is her strength. Her main concern is to make sure her family is taken care of. Her medical bills are draining, so if you can help, please stop by her place and make a donation. She doesn't want hers to be a sob is what it is.

This past week the blogging community has been thrown into worry over Midwestern Mommy's ordeal. She was admitted to the hospital with severe stomach pain and after reviewing two CT scans, an emergency room doctor informed her that she had cancer. Lisa was told it could be Colon Cancer or Lymphoma. Tests are still being performed to find out exactly what she is up against. Please stop by her blog and send her some positive thoughts and prayers.

The Perfect Post Awards for July were announced yesterday. Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil nominated Andrea of Punk Rock Mommy. The submitted post was published after Andrea's passing from Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It was her last blog post. A true Mom until the end, her story is heartbreaking, yet inspiring. Her husband and six children are continuing their story. See how they are living through the tragedy and loss of Andrea.

Yesterday I needed to go back to my dermatologist. I had gone a few weeks ago for my annual checkup and during the appointment a dark mole was removed from my right ear. I received a call a few days ago that the mole had tested positive for abnormal cells. The doctor wanted me to come in and have just a little more taken off.

So, off I went. What's another chunk out of my ear? That's why I keep the hair long, yes?

I was sitting in the examination room, looking at the instruments on the table, trying not to envision them cutting my ear. The doctor walked in, and after a few minutes of small talk, says, "Good thing you came in for your checkup. The cells were very abnormal. If you had not come in when you did, the mole would have turned into a Melanoma."

WTF? I felt like I got kicked in the nuts, if I had 'em.

She began excising the already healing hole in my ear. She needed to remove a larger, deeper area. She will let me know what pathology reports. She would like to see me in six months.

Apparently that was all. She told me to make sure I wear a hat and sunblock and keep an eye on my moles. She said goodbye and left the room.

I sat for a few minutes, a little shell shocked. I grabbed my purse and left.

She apparently doesn't know me very well. That is NOT all where I am concerned. I am a worrier. I am a pessimist that always dwells on the worse case scenario. I FREAK THE FUCK OUT at things like this.

On the drive home, I lose my shit.

But then, I remember the stories I have read in the past weeks. I wipe my eyes. I take a deep breath and tell myself to put on my big girl panties. I tell the voices in my head to shut the hell up. I am okay. I am lucky and blessed that it was caught before it became the C word.

Katie, Lisa, Lisa, and Andrea, please accept my apology for being an insensitive jerk. I think I need to learn a bit about dignity from the four of you.


Jay said...

Knocks the feet from under you, doesn't it? I experienced this when I had a small lump taken off the underside of my tongue. No-one, not even the surgeon, expected it to be anything sinister, but it was. A squamous cell carcinoma. I had to go back and have quite a large area cut out, and like you, was left with a hole, nothing to stitch. But it has healed and so far, all is well. The path report for the second excision was clear of all abnormal cells and that was five years ago now.

So far, so good. My dentist keeps an eye on it. I keep my fingers crossed and I pray it doesn't return.

I hope your ear does as well as my tongue. ;)

Momo Fali said...

Hey, I don't blame you for being freaked out! Just knowing how the "C" word has touched the lives of all these can you not?

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I would freak out, too. I think it's normal (or at least it is for me...I'm a worrier.)

I'm SO relieved for you, however, that you went in and had it checked out and removed. Thank GOD you didn't wait! My MIL waited to have a followup mammogram after she had what they thought were calcifications they wanted to watch. She put it off and off and she ended up having breast cancer. Thankfully she "just" had to have radiation. But still...

Cancer is damn scary.

Sending you "wear your sunblock" vibes!

Laura said...

The C-word scares the crap out of me...I do not blame you for freaking out - we all would and do in our own way.


The Fritz Facts said...

It does just knock you around a bit. When I had one removed from my back, I had to go back. I was lucky, and it was caught early enough. Now I go in every 6 months, had a full body scan so they know exactly where all my moles are and can watch them.

EE said...

You deserved a freak out. Very scary stuff!

Midwest Mommy said...

wow, I will say a prayer for you that in 6 months everything is ok. I totally would have flipped out too. When it hits home you can't help it. Take care of yourself and go get a case of sunblock and a few awesome hats:-)

Widney Woman said...

I am so glad they - and you - found it in time.

Last year, I had my first mammogram. They had me come back. For the 2 weeks until I could get in, I tried to tell myself it was just something wrong with their equipment and my boobs are so big, they needed a second look.

When I got there, it wasn't a simple redo of both breasts. It was an intensive check of one. I realized I should have had my husband come with me. It was all I could do not to cry like a baby. They believe it was just a cyst that can occur and was benign. I felt like I had dodged a bullet.

Then, this year, I learned of a lady who was 4 months pregnant when she was diagnosed with radical and aggressive cancer. She had to do chemo to try to save the baby. The baby girl was born at about 26 weeks and is growing every day. Mom is praying she lives long enough to see her second daughter come home from the hospital in September. This story made me feel like a wuss.

I pray your situation remains healthy.

Maria said...

You know what the truly weird thing is? When you get a scary diagnosis, you panic and get almost shell shocked with terror...

And then you go home and make dinner or pick so and so up after their swim team practice. And life goes on.

People say things like, "I can't believe how brave/stoic/strong etc. you are....but really, what other choice is there? I mean, falling apart in front of your child is simply not a choice, so you don't do it. You cry in the bathroom a lot.

I am glad that they caught it in time. If she wants to see you in six months, that is a very, very good sign, sweetie.

Beth said...

Oohh my heart goes out to all who have gone through either themselves or a loved one having cancer. ((HUGS)) I sincerely hope that your dr is right and there is no need to see them before the 6th month!

Suzie said...

It just seems to be everywhere. It s good you caught the mole when you did. It so scary I would freak out too.

Day Dreamer said...

I would have freaked out exactly as you did. That doesn't make you insensitive in the least.

...makes you perfectly human.

I'm so glad you caught it when you did!

Leigh said...

Its ok to have a freak out, especially at the thought and considering your friend Katie. But I know things are going to be ok, They certinaly got enough of the cells and just keep a watch. Let it go. Someone else is in control, give your burden to Him to carry.

You're in my prayers!

butterflygirl said...

Came by thanks to Leigh. I would have freaked out too!

Justice Jones said...

Good grief, that was scary and you had all the right to worry and fret. It's a blessing that it happened because you caught it early and it was treated early. I read PunkRock Mommy's last blog (and several from the year she was being treated) and was really saddened by it. Life is really so precious and I am guilty of taking it for granted. I need to do better.

Rima said...

I'm so glad you're OK! Makes me wonder if I should make an appointment with the dermatologist, though . . .

Lydia Bruno said...

I wish you the best.

Tricia said...

It sounds like you are a lot stronger and more dignified than you give yourself credit for, and everyone deserves multiple freak out moments at the mere thought of cancer, not to mention an actual experience with it. I'm wishing you all the best and a clean report!

Marshamlow said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers as are the other ladies. If you are so inspired you might want to go to the American Cancer Society's website and hook up with your local chapter. They do a lot of great things and the fund raisers are always a blast.

Bonnie the Boss said...

I am sure each of those wonderful women had moments when they needed to put on their big girl panties!!
Their families probably had those moments too.
You will be in my prayers. I hope it works out well.
I am a worry wart too. Did you know that when we women sleep 66% of our brain is still working? worring about stuff. For men only 33% is still working, just enough to keep their heart beating, and send the signal to breathe.