Biopsy results came back this afternoon and are positive for Basal Cell Carcinoma. I’ll have surgery to have the cancer removed and grafts placed in about a month. I’ll have to see a dermatologist for a full body check every four months for the rest of my life, too.
I’m in shock by this. Part of me knew something was wrong; your skin should not spontaneously bleed. Part of me was certain it would be a false alarm like everything else lately. Part of me is terribly annoyed that for the rest of my life I’ll see an eye specialist and rheumatologist every three months and now a dermatologist every four. Part of me is terrified of what might be in my future considering how young I am. And then a big part of me is insanely relieved it is not a malignant cancer.
I have several more cheerful posts in my draft folder but I think they will sit there for a few days while I regroup. All you readers who commented that you also have a weird thing you have been thinking about having looked at – call a doctor on Monday.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that my skin is aging. Perhaps it is seeing my skin next to that of a toddler, untainted by life and sun, or maybe all the sleepless nights of infancy are manifesting themselves through fine lines and wrinkles. Whatever it is, my skin looks dull and the pores seem to be making a joint effort to slowly swallow my face in one blackhole of grime. I’ve been working hard to combat the pores and aging with various natural and store-bought products and nothing seems to really help.
“Maybe this is just my new normal?”
About a year ago a little spot on my nose started bleeding.
I applied some concealer and carried on.
Since then this little spot has slowly grown, popping open every so often to bleed and becoming increasingly difficult to cover with makeup. Last month I finally made it to the dermatologist, something that had been on the to-do list for months but kept getting pushed back due to all of Sabine’s appointments.
“Let’s take this mole off your back and THAT needs to be frozen off,” she said pointing to my nose and brandishing her syringe of Novocain.
Off went the mole.
Poof went the spot under the icy jets of liquid nitrogen.
“You are good for a year now! Give me a call if anything pops up before then!”
Two weeks later the bleeding nose spot was back, and bigger.
Yesterday I went back to the dermatologist, pointed to the nose and the first thing she said was, “Oh that’s not good.”
And then she biopsied it, explaining that since it came back so quickly and is bleeding she suspected cancer.
I must have looked instantly panicked because she explained that it is likely “just basal cell carcinoma” but that it should still be tested and removed if positive. With proper removal, prognosis is extremely good with this type of cancer. “Think of it less like cancer and more like a cavity in your face,” she said with a laugh and slice of my nose.
The biopsy results should be back in a week. Until then, I’m left to think about this thing on my nose and all the other things that might be coming down the road. I’m thankful that my first brush with the big “C” is such a minor one, but it still raises a lot of emotions and puts things into perspective.
This skin has seen a lot of sun. I was raised in Florida and Alabama and have always been outdoorsy. My complexion is fair and eyes are light. I have thin hair, a scalp that always burns and I hate to wear hats because hat hair is such a bad look. I often forget sunscreen.
I am a perfect candidate for all kinds of scary skin things.
Hopefully by monitoring future skin changes and making new habits I can avoid more serious complications down the road. Some new hats are on order and a special SPF 50 primer is now part of my daily beauty routine. And those fine lines, wrinkles and black heads? I am trying to embrace their presence and view them as a daily reminder of what is important – being here to see them. Aging beats the alternative.
How do you protect your skin against the sun? What are your favorite sunscreens and hats? And fellow thin-haired readers. Any tips for the hat hair?
I have been considering closing up shop here at Scrambled Eggs. I feel like my purpose is no longer cut-and-dry and that I am floundering as a writer. Additionally, it is hard to find the time to write, let alone edit what is written, and I feel I am posting a lot of shoddy copy. So why stay?
Then I got an email from a reader telling me how important my blog has been to her in their journey to concieve. She explained that before finding Scrambled Eggs she felt extremely isolated in her journey. This silly little snippet of cyber space changed that and made her feel connected. That, friends, is powerful stuff. This email is not a one time occurrence, either. I get emails like this one regularly and every time I tuck them aside with full intention to reply and every time I lose track*. But I read your emails and damn if they don’t give me a sense of purpose in an otherwise very murky existence.
That sounded over-the-top dramatic, but really, murky is exactly how I would describe the last few months. In May the Professor finished his second year at the postdoc, which means he is halfway through and it is time to start the job hunt all over. Last time it took two years to land a temporary position in academia. This time we hope for the same but are bracing for worse. It makes it tremendously hard to get out there and make a place your home when you know your days are so numbered. It is even harder when you don’t know where you will be going next. Much like infertility, the only certain thing about our employment situation is that it is tremendously uncertain.
Sabine starts nursery school three days a week in September, too. I am excited for this big step towards her independence. I feel like we have a great mother-daughter bond and am cherishing every day with her by my side. At the same time, I worry she is too bonded and that I am going to cause her some deep-rooted issues as she ages. It’s such a complicated web of emotions. I hope the few days a week apart will make not only our relationship stronger, but also her as an individual.
Once Sabine starts school I am to dive headfirst into freelance. I’m really nervous about this. I’ve been doing a little work here and there for the last year and love it, but worry that I won’t be able to hack it as a professional freelancer. On the flip side, I know that jobs in my field are drying up as many companies choose to hire freelancers rather than keep a full-time writer on staff. This is the most logical step in my carrier and it gives me flexibility for family, diverse work and the option to choose my clients. It’s still a big change.
And finally, there is the ever-present whisper of growing our family. I actually had a right proper period last month and it filled me with hope for future children. It also filled me with fear of future children. We cannot, in any way, afford another child right now. We have no clue what our future holds and bringing another mouth into the picture would only complicate things further. In addition, my kid sleeps through the night.
I feel this statement needs repeating because of the magnitude of it: My child. Sleeps. Through. The. Night.
Newborns don’t. Enough said!
A baby is not an option right now, but it still muddies up the water from time to time.
So the figurative water here is murky. My blog’s purpose is unclear. My heart and head are conflicting, and my home feels more like a hotel. But I’m glad to know I have you all, and that my words still carry meaning, even if they are sporadic and poorly edited.
* And hello to all you “From a Reader’s!” You should know your words mean just as much to me as my words have meant to you.