I Might Have Cancer, or Maybe Not

by Heligirl on July 1, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood,Daily Ramblings

The other day I noticed a small mole on my right arm was misshaped, painful and had bled a bit – clear skin cancer symptoms.

I. Freaked. Out.

My life flashed before my eyes. I imagined my children talking to each other over old photographs trying to remember what I was like and hoping to God they didn’t only remember I lost my temper a lot those last few months because I was having trouble adjusting to full time mom life.

I imagined my arm would need to be removed, like that girl who wanted to sail around the world on that House episode last month. I’d never be able to hold my kids in my arms again. I’d never fly a helicopter again. How would I drive in the US?

Hadn’t I also felt some pain near that mole. Sure, it might have been tendonitis from weeding, but I’m telling you, it could be something else. Wait, the joint where my arm connects to my shoulder has been aching a bit lately too. No, I’m sure it has nothing to do with trying to swing from the monkey bars with my daughter. It’s a tumor. I’m done for.

Both of my parents and my father-in-law just had treatments for pre-skin cancer and my dad’s wife had melanomas removed. I may be the suntan lotion police, but I’ve lost the battle. I just knew it.

I went in to see the doctor. He couldn’t decide if it was in fact a good candidate for skin cancer. He confirmed it was certainly abnormal, two colors and didn’t feel or look right at all. He recommended I go see the dermatologist. The first opening wasn’t for four more days. Would that put me past the point of no return if it was cancer?, my over reacting mind wondered.

I spent the next four days researching skin cancer types, life expectancy and will writing recommendations. Was it too late to get Aflac cancer insurance when I wasn’t sure I had cancer?

When finally the day came and I took my now completely over freaked out (abet well prepared in the legal and insurance departments) self to the dermatologist I was given a definitive and clear diagnosis with no room for error.

Somehow I’d scraped or scratched my mole on something and that made it bleed. It was just an irritated piece of skin with a scab. The sore muscles were not an indication of a long and painful death by skin cancer. He pointed out the yellowing of a bruise just over the back of my shoulder (I’d not have seen it without a mirror). Had I been doing anything with that arm that might have pulled muscles, caused a bruise and scraped it?

I tell you, that’s the last time I play on those monkey bars.


Krista July 1, 2011 at 6:03 am

🙂 The best thing about this is knowing I’m not the only one who reacts to situations like this! 🙂
Krista recently posted: How to wake a sleeping child

Twitter: Heligirl
July 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm

LOL, I felt like such a dufus for getting so very worked up over this I just had to share. Thanks for letting me know we’re a bird of a messed up feather. 🙂

Twitter: audcole
July 1, 2011 at 6:34 am

Did you let my mom guest post on your blog? 🙂 She’s a hypochondriac who became a paramedic. Every abnormality she or any of us ever had was certain to result in death. A few years ago, I tried accupuncture. She was sure I was going to get a flesh eating virus as a result of the needles in my skin. (Which would pair nicely with the hepatitis I surely got as a result of my tattoo.) But skin cancer is her very biggest concern. She’s always been bad about it, but had to have a cancerous spot removed last year, so it’s gotten much worse. Last week, she went with me to see my doctor for a completely unrelated (and real, not imagined) condition… while he’s trying to tell me how well controlled my lupus is (whoo hoo!), she’s yanking up my sleeve and pointing out moles and freckles. “Doesn’t THAT look uneven to you?” He’s like “Okay, um, yeah – go to the dermatologist when you can.” All that to say that, while you maybe got a bit overly anxious, I’ve encountered much, much worse! And I’m glad your tumor is just of the monkey bar variety.
Audreya recently posted: The Bachelorette, Week 6: If I hear Bentley ONE MORE TIME…

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 7:48 am

LOL. Glad your mom prepared you for my neurosis. At least know she’s worried about you. Great news on the lupus my dear and thanks for the support.

BTW, when you locate our Ryan, let me know the plan for moving in and rocking his world. 🙂

Twitter: wicwoes
July 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

My husband has a lot of moles, and even had some removed once to be checked for cancer, so I know how freaked out you must have been when you noticed this. I’m so glad that it was a false alarm.
Lynn recently posted: California WIC Packages for Moms and Infants

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 7:49 am

Thanks Lynn. I had myself wrapped around the axle big time it was almost embarrassing. I know we attract what we focus on and I was trying so hard not to focus on having cancer. I’m glad it was all in my head.

Liz July 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

I have almost just finished watching all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and ever since watching the episodes where one of the characters deals with skin cancer, I have been checking all of my moles and all of my boyfriend’s moles to make sure they’re all “normal!” Cancer is so scary. At least you didn’t ignore it!

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 7:51 am

It really is. I just learned my ex’s dad was diagnoses and three weeks later he was gone. I’m making a habit of keeping an eye on my body without crossing that line of hypochondriac.

Susan July 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

To give yourself peace of mind, scedule an all over mole etc. check once a year with a dermatologist. Precancerous cells can be treated with a chemo cream (don’t freak out). And skin cancer is cut off. It’s one of the most preventable cancers out there (next to colon). No need to freak! You did exactly the right thing! Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist, but my dad was for 40+ years.
Susan recently posted: A Better Perspective of Death: Pure Alignment in a Moment

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thanks Susan. It was the chemo cream my mom used that found a lot of her spots. She looked terrible and I think that added to the terror. I love your idea of the annual exam. Given this is the big 4-0 year, I should add that to the boob press (mammogram) trip, eh?

Thanks for the encouraging words!

SharleneT. July 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Whatever you do, stay away from medical journals or books! ‘Nuff said.
SharleneT. recently posted: Solar Baked Shrimp and Rice Pilaf – Fast, Succulent, and Easy

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 7:54 am

I hear you! Good Lord they’ll do me in. Just the images on the Internet were scary.

Mama Spaghetti July 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Glad everything’s ok, but I totally understand the waiting and wondering!

And, I love House!
Mama Spaghetti recently posted: I hope you celebrated the Fourth of July like my Dad

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 7:56 am

Oh man, House is the best, isn’t it? I do know it’s played up a lot, but when you’re paying attention, sometimes you see similarities in real life and get all freaky-deaky.

Jackie July 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

LoL glad to see my mind isn’t the only one to jump to the worse case scenerio.
It good to hear it was nothing. You think monkey bars are bad… try sliding down a slide with a 2 year old in your lap who is too afraid to go down on his own and not land on your feet. ouch… lol

Whanz May 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I haven’t yet experienced what you have said here. But, I have a friend who already suffer for a long time ago with this kind of skin problems. Probably She was send to the dermatologist, And She was already being treatment right now.

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