Monday, March 28, 2011

I have skin cancer

Once again, I am lucky. It's the most common skin cancer--basal cell carcinoma & it's one where you simply remove the "spot" and it's gone. Each time it reappears, they remove it again. No big deal though it's a nuisance. The few people I've told so far have all either had it or someone very close to them has.

Through the experience with my oldest's allergies I learned to essentially tell doctors what I want in the way of other specialists, second opinions, etc. I know when I can't handle something on my own and they should too. If their egos get in the way, I move on.

In August I asked my nurse practitioner (note my official doctor works P-T & I've never even met her) to look at a couple spots I thought were cysts. She told me to let her know if they change color. I told her one does, but since it's in a spot where my sports bra rubs, she determined it was just irritated. Months later something came up & I became fearful that the spot on my leg was a  type of lymphoma. I called the nurse & said I wanted a referral to a dermatologist. She said I'd have to come back in. What? If it's concerning enough to me to call & insist on a referral, go with it. And it is something she has already seen. I don't have time to monkey around with extra appointments & potentially arguing with my PCM. I switched PCMs. When I went to the new doc, she looked at the spot on my chest & gave me an "um hum" (read: no big deal). Then she looked at the spot on my leg & said "ohhhh" (read: big deal). I'm now trying not to cry & fake like I didn't "hear" this reaction. I am of course internally convinced I have lymphoma and that had it been diagnosed 6 months earlier I would be in a better situation for treatment.

When I see the dermatologist, she looks at my leg & says, "that's no big deal". Whew! What relief! "But, I think this thing on your chest is skin cancer." It's all relative. Skin cancer--whatever. I don't have lymphoma (internal dance party!!!)! I was so happy I didn't ask any questions. Fortunately before I left she told me what she thought it was. Otherwise when it sunk in I'm sure I would've researched it and decided I had melanoma. (Ever notice how if you diagnose yourself online, it's dire?) A week later the biopsy confirmed her thoughts. Tomorrow this thing will be removed.

The moral: if you know something is wrong, trust your gut. Ask for what you want & if your doctors aren't giving you satisfactory answers, move on. Ultimately it's your health & there are a lot of really good doctors out there. Listen to your instincts!


  1. Way to trust your gut. My DR. always makes me come in before I get the referral and it ticks me off. He always gives me the name..just gets paid in the process.

  2. I'm glad you trusted your instincts Christy!! I'm also glad that you got it taken care of and are cancer free!! I am sure your hubby is taking good care of you while you heal! We're here if you need anything, always! Mary