Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Difficult Wait

Last Monday I had my bi-annual check up at the Dermatologist's office. As some of you know, I was diagnosed with Melanoma in 1998. I was very, very lucky because we caught it early. It was a life changing experience for me.

Normally when I walk out of the dermatologist's office after my check up I feel so relieved. It's so good to hear her say, "Everything looks good." When I walked out last Monday...I was filled with worry. She had just removed a "suspicious" mole from the back of my upper arm. It would be 7-10 days before I knew the results of the biopsy. The mind games began on my way to the car.

"What if it's Melanoma again?"
"Don't worry Kathy. It will be fine."
"What if it's already spread?"
"Stop it. It's going to be okay."
"How would I deal with it?"
"It's not Melanoma."

And that is how it went. As the days passed I tried not to think about it. Some days I did better than others. Some days the voices chattered loudly. On Monday of this week the voices won. By mid-day I actually didn't feel well. I knew that phone call could come any time. I wondered what the news would be. I played out the phone conversation in my head...the happy version and the not so happy version.

Waiting on biopsy results is never easy, and Monday evening I reminded myself that I don't play those kinds of games anymore. I don't live a life of "what ifs". I don't dwell on the past and I don't stress about the future. I live "in the now." I reminded myself that at that particular moment in time....I knew nothing, so there was no reason to be upset. I calmed down because I knew I was right. I watched some TV and drifted off to sleep.

Tuesday morning when I got up....my mind was clear. The chatter was gone. I felt nothing but peace. I knew right then that my results were in and I would be getting my phone call that day. I also knew that no matter what the results were, that everything would be just fine. I felt it.

My cell phone rang mid-morning. I picked it up and walked out into the hallway for privacy.

"Is this Kathryn?"
"Yes, it is."
"This is _____ from ______Dermatology. I just wanted to let you know that your biopsy results are in and they are completely benign."

If I could have reached through the phone, I would have given that girl a great big hug! I thanked her, told her she made not only my day, but my week and probably my entire month. She said she was happy to give me the good news.

I smiled, did a little girl "happy dance" and called Irv.

This is what my life has been since 1998 and it is what it will always be. I look at every one of these experiences and the scars that come with them as my mini wake up call. It's my reminder to use my sunscreen and wear a hat. I can still enjoy the sun, but I have to protect my severely damaged skin.

Do you have moles or freckles? Do you see a dermatologist regularly? You should. It's all part of taking charge of your own health, and it could very well save your life.

Make it the best day ever!

18 comments:

Mary said...

As someone who spent a good part of a year in cancer treatment due to one of those not so good biopsies I totally relate. I've been clear 3 years so far but have had 2 other biopsies since so I know about the waiting....so glad all is good!

Angela said...

So glad it was good news!! Chee Hoo!

Kittie Howard said...

Congratulations! I have to constantly lather up. So many basels removed. But I know about the waiting. Three years in a row, operations for breast lumps the docs thought were cancerous. And once I was diagnosed with cancer and told I had 3 years to live (Hodgkins Disease). But the diagnosis was a mistake. I didn't have cancer. However, it took a year for the docs to determine that. Cancer is scary stuff!

LDWatkins said...

What a relief for you! Waiting loosens the mind in ways that can just wear you down. So happy for you!!

Lanyardlady said...

Wonderful news. I'm happy it turned out that way for you. What a sense of relief.

Dave King said...

My brother is a long-time sufferer from melanoma. He has it very badly and is always having then removed. So I can appreciate the anxieties you must have. Hopefully it will not reach that stage for you. Every blessing.

Oklahoma Granny said...

Excellent news!

Cathryn said...

Woooooooooohooooooooo! Good for you! I'm happy for you!

I understand those mind talks. I hate going to the doctor myself and waiting for the results. It's not easy to wait for the results. Glad yours turned out so well!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, I shared this same fear once--and went to a free skin cancer screening to check a patch on my chest. Praise God it wasn't pre-cancer! SUCH a relief! I'm glad your wait is over, too!

DUTA said...

My cousin's husband was diagnosed with melanoma. He has surgery now and then to remove skin growths , but he has made it a policy not to go to tests and follow ups . He says that these kill him and not the disease itself. So, he's doing his daily swimming, and going to work. So far, he's OK.

Beth Anderson said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah (or chee hoo) for that good news. You are a pillar Kathy!
I can relate being there myself (with a different cancer) but what a relief.
NOW, you can celebrate with a treat!
By the way, you spell your name the same way I spell my Katie's given name - Kathryn!

Lanyardlady said...

Hey Kathy, I've given your blog the Sunshine Award for supreme awesomeness! Check out my blog!

Joyce said...

YAHOO... Many hugs coming your way. I'm so happy the news was wonderful. The waiting game can sometimes get the best of us.

gayle said...

Awesome news!!

Bagman and Butler said...

Yep! I can also relate to the waiting for results thing too. For me the big C-word was in the prostate and I'm fine now too. Minus the prostate. But check-ups have never been the same since.

jen said...

so glad you got good news!

I just went to a derm for the first time last year. had 3 moles removed, all benign. I plan on making it a regular part of my preventative routine. :)

PonderandStitch said...

What wonderful news!! I'm so happy to hear it- and it's great that you are so proactive when it comes to taking charge of your health.

P.S. I left you a little blog award over at ponder and stitch. :)

Tins and Treasures said...

Hi Kathy,
This is such good news. I'm sure you...and your hubby...and your kids all took a big sigh of relief.

Best wishes for continued good check-ups. ~Natalie

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