What a terrible word. It provokes so much anxiousness inside me that I can't begin to describe it. Although anyone who has lost someone close to them from cancer knows what I mean. I know that many people live with cancer for many years and it doesn't really affect their overall life expectancy and that I should actually focus on this aspect. But then I am always brought back to my mother when I hear the word. She had cancer, it wasn't bad, it was one of the "better" cancers to have, the ones that are the most "curable". But it didn't happen and she left this world so very quickly with what seems like not enough notice from "she's going to be ok" to "she's not going to make it another week".
I cry a lot about different things related to her and that time. About regrets, things I wished I has done and said, especially in those last few days, and about missing her now, about wishing I could ask her things about when my sister and I were little like my two kids are now. Things my dad really probably doesn't know the answers because he was working and she stayed at home with us. I sometimes cry because I wish I could call her and talk to her like I always did, a few times a week.
And then I get a call that I have cancer. And that word opens such an emotional place in me that it's hard to contain. To be fair, I have melanoma, currently only in one location. But at the time when the doctor says those words to you on the phone and you know nothing except that your mom and papa passed away from cancer in the last couple years, it all seems too fresh, too real.
I cried a lot that day the doctor called. I couldn't contain any of it. I didn't know much about melanoma. Only the doctor telling me 10 year survival rates for what I have are really good (around 90%). But my mom's survival rates were pretty good too, maybe not that good, but still good. I went through A LOT of thoughts over the first few days of getting that phone call. I have two very young kids, what would 20 year survival rates be like, because that would be when my children are graduating from college (I hope), would I be around to see my own grandchildren.
Thankfully, I have had some great conversations with some wonderful people and friends. I have learned a lot about melanoma. I probably will be more paranoid than I already was about sunscreen. I have a huge wound on my back with some stitches currently where they cut it out. I knew they had to cut out a lot, but for some reason I wasn't ready for a cut 4 inches long, in the shape of a lemon, around 2 inches at it's widest and then cut close to an inch deep. One big massive chunk they removed. Because of the levels of skin the melanoma went through they had to take out all skin and the fat pad. EZ did say it was kind of cool to watch.
I go back Friday to get half the stitches out and to do a full body examine to look at any other spots anywhere else. I should know then if they think they got all the cancer out on this one spot on my back. I know it will be probably be a long time worrying about every little spot anywhere one me, and I have a lot of freckles which makes it hard. Maybe that will never end. I'm not sure. Only time will tell. All I can do now is keep moving forward, keep looking up, keep focusing on life, keep hugging my children, and telling them that I love them.
Here is the post wound picture...we shall see what kind of scar will evolve from this.