Suspect Moles, Stray Whiskers & Body Scans
A couple of years ago, seven to be exact I had some very painful and suspect moles on my body. I woke up one night and had this piercing pain in my back and I had no idea what it was. All I did know was that the pain was centered around a mole I had on my back. I couldn’t quite reach it or get a good look at it, all I knew was that I needed to go to the doctor right away. It was very tender, I felt a strong pain, and for some reason it was extremely itchy. At that point in my life I didn’t have a regular doctor so I ended up at an UrgentCare in my neighborhood the following morning. That is where a young doctor took one look at my mole and said that I would need to see a specialist immediately: the mole was misshaped, discolored, and showed possible signs of skin cancer. “Awesome!” I thought to myself. As soon as I got back into my car I called my mom and as soon as I heard her voice I started bawling. I told her exactly what the doctor said and told her that I was on my way to the specialist. The young doctor had made a few calls and made it a point to get me seen that day. His urgency and the look on his face is what had me worked up. My mother did her best to calm me down, and told me to call her as soon as I was done.
I waited very anxiously in the waiting room of my now specialist’s office and just kept thinking of the worst. That’s actually something I do best. I can go from zero to sixty on the crazy scale in two seconds; from surgery, ugly scars, to planning my own funeral. I could turn a simple every day occurrence into a nightmare within minutes in my head. Anyhow, I got in to see the specialist, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Wow!” He said that the mole was extremely irritated, oversized, and was very discolored. He made some measurements, started rubbing random things on and around it and said that it needed to be removed ASAP! He gave me some antibiotics, and made me an appointment for the following week. Now, looking back I feel like a complete bonehead. I didn’t ask any questions and I couldn’t even tell you what the name of the medication was if my life depended on it. My mother even specifically gave me questions to ask and told me to “PAY ATTENTION!” and somehow all I got out of my appointment, was that I needed to take the medicine and it was going to be removed. A few days later I was back at the specialists and I was petrified. I get into the room and I’m in a hospital gown, and there is a tray next to me with an assortment of tools you can only see and envision in nightmares. The doctor and a nurse come in and they begin to explain to me what was going to happen and it was all just a blur. While removing a huge part of my skin along with the mole they spotted another “suspect” mole on my thigh. They took that one too. I took pills, went back for injections and follow ups and it all sounded so serious and scary and I told no one. After the initial extraction I told my mom it was gone and never spoke another word of it. All I have left from the ordeal are scars. The one on my thigh looks like someone put out a cigar on my leg and the one on my back is a mystery to me. I can’t see it very clearly and I would forget that it is even there if it weren’t for the pain I feel some days. I was told it was scar tissue and the possibility of it “hitting a nerve” during certain motions.
Now, seven years later, I’m living in a different state, I’m married, and a mother. During my pregnancy there were so many random and new things happening to my body it was hard to keep up. I have new moles, tiny skin tags, freckles, stretch marks, stray whiskers, and a bruised ego. I’m basically a scary witch from a Disney movie. It seems like every day I find a new blemish or stray hair growing in the most unattractive parts of my body. I can barely recognize the body I now see in the mirror and its discouraging. Throughout the past year and a half of motherhood I’ve been so busy trying to take care of my little girl and balance all the adult responsibilities I now have, I have failed to take care of myself. After my husband pointed out another “suspect” mole I knew I needed to get checked as soon as possible. After our vacation in the beginning of May I finally made an appointment. I explained my moley and blurry past to the nurse who was booking appointments and she put me down for a full body scan. Full body scan?! I don’t even want my husband seeing me naked with the lights on, now I’m getting a full body scan by a stranger in a well lit room, using a magnifying glass?! You’d think that after giving birth, and being fondled, pricked, probed and checked on by what seemed like all of Lancaster County I’d be okay with this. I’m not! Still not, and won’t ever be. However, I had to put my pride in check, to make sure I was healthy for my family. So, this morning I got up, showered, did some lady-scaping, and even put on a pair of matching bra and panties. The last time I put on matching bra and panties my daughter was conceived, and I don’t want to encourage that type of behavior let alone have time to dig in my underwear drawer in the morning to find two articles that match.
After talking to a friend over the phone about my anxieties, and all the other crap that is failing on my body I marched right into that doctors office and stripped down for a young, blonde, blue-eyed gorgeous woman and I nervously blabbed as she checked literally every inch of my body. I mean, her face was inches away from every stretch mark, every random chin hair that I failed to pluck, every piece of wobbly skin and my unfortunate un-pedicured toes. As soon as she said “Everything looks great,” and complimented my tattoos I felt a huge sigh of relief. I was free and clear of the dreaded C word and I could go on living with all my battle scars, blemishes and imperfections, fully clothed out in the world again. Of course, the reason for all my new moles, skin tags and bane of my existence was hormones. Freakin’ pregnancy hormones. She explained that after having a baby a woman’s body changes drastically and I did the right thing by coming in since I’ve had an issue in the past. She also said I should never go seven years without being checked again. She made an appointment for June of 2018 for me to come in and feel ashamed of myself all over again. “Joy!” As soon as I was dressed and out the door I felt a sense of calm in knowing, for now I was okay. I got into my car and literally drove straight to my family doctor. Now, onto the next appointment and the next issue on my list that is plaguing my existence and hindering my quality of life. That however, is a whole other story for another time folks.
P.S You can procrastinate when it comes to laundry, homework or house projects, but never-ever procrastinate when it comes to your health. If something looks sketchy, feels weird, hurts or looks different than before, make an appointment. You won’t regret hearing the words, “Everything looks great.”
Here are a couple of photos of the mole that was removed from my leg. I couldn’t get my cat trained in time to take a photo of the incision on my back. It was a lot deeper, larger, and yuckier.