So I have this mole on my arm. It has always been my suspicious mole. You know, that mole each of us has that is a little unique. It might be a little too raised, or it might be a little too dark, or a little too inconsistent in its colors. It is that mole we can look at and think “this bitch is out to get me.” Well, my super special mole friend recently turned into a wound and proceeded to scab over. This is especially cool and definitely does not have me freaking out in the least. And obviously I only cried on the phone while making my dermatology appointment because I am PMSing and NOT because I know this mole wants it in for me.
My mole is the equivalent to a lecherous old man. On the one hand he could just be creepy and disgusting, but he could also be a predator picking on vulnerable women. I honestly do not know which way this will go since I am not a dermatologist. My field wants us to prevent diseases before they occur, while the medical field pursues the knowledge of fighting diseases once they’ve already happened. My kinky mole friend might be a form of “The Big C word”, “The Pre-Big C word”, or is harmless and just freaking weird. I only know how to prevent diseases, not how to handle when you’re worried you might have one.
I feel powerless and useless. I know what you’re thinking, “it’s only possible skin cancer, it’s not like it is lung cancer or the total cluster of pancreatic cancer. You are lucky and thinking absolutely irrationally. Get your shit together.” Okay, maybe you are not involved enough in my blog, or me for that matter, to be thinking those deep pearls of wisdom, but I know it could be worse. I know I am lucky I am only afraid it could be this type of cancer. What I have yet to share though is the journey of me and my mole-y friend.
When I was 16, I was supposed to get it biopsied. Instead the doctor thought I had an even more impressive mole that turned out to just be a long list of words that mean NOT CANCER. The arm creeper was never examined. Yet, my mole was not to be forgotten, and ignored. Two years ago I was told by my primary to get it looked at by a dermatologist. At the time I was newly engaged, had an almost two year old, was trying to get into my Public Health program, while finishing a degree already. It was a stressful time. When I got into my Public Health program, and skin cancer being the most common form of cancer (plus it is apparently applicable to any class from Epidemiology to Environmental Health), I knew I needed to get mole-y examined. By this time it had been changing colors dramatically. Still it became a “when I have the time” sort of deal. Kind of like the dentist. The worst part is I knew better.
My mole has a ton of different options to work with, and it is making my anxiety have a fucking field day. While my mole is juggling all his different opportunities, my poor anxiety wants to crawl into a ball and not come out of my closet until my appointment next week. Plus the revolving door of self-shame that I always seem to find myself at is SO MUCH FUN. I should have gotten it looked at two years ago, or a year ago. I have been lucky enough to have insurance and it is way better for a doctor to give me the all clear than to take the “wait and see” approach. How can I expect to help people prevent diseases if I cannot even take my own advice? Where is that religious use of SPF 30 that I always include in my case study evaluations? It is like I want to test out who will win, me or the UV rays from the sun!
So yup, I am in an awesome place right now.
I do not write this post to complain though, possibly a part of it is to not feel so isolated with this. My husband keeps hugging me and telling me I am “not allowed” to get sick. Which is not as reassuring as he thinks it is. The bigger part of me is writing because there are take aways from my story. If at your annual your doctor says go see a dermatologist, do not wait. Even if nothing is wrong the anxiety is not worth it. If you are one of the lucky ones without a suspicious mole on their bodies, please lather up with SPF 30 when going outside every 30 minutes, and do not forget the wide brimmed hats. You are one of the lucky ones! SPF 30 advice goes for us with “that one mole” as well. The sun ALWAYS wins.
I wish I had taken the advice I am serving my readers right now. Maybe I would not be in this predicament. Then again, maybe I would be. I only know my stomach is doing flip-flops, and I am cleaning like crazy while I try to forget that I have a mole whose hobby is to evolve to new and fun levels. I am not talking about it with my friends because what can they say? Good luck? Are you okay? So I am incredibly appreciative that I have my readers as an outlet. It takes some of the loneliness away. I am not quite 26 yet, how the fuck am I worrying about skin cancer right now?
Wear your SPF boys and girls, my seat of worry is not a comfortable throne to be placed in.