You guys, it has been A Week.
I went to the dermatologist on Monday. One of my summer projects was to get my body mapped, because I have a lot of moles. I’ve always had them, but as an adult, that’s the sort of thing you’re supposed to keep an eye on, you know? Like flossing. Which I am now proficient at. Anyway, dermatologists are in high-demand so when I set the appointment, they scheduled it for six weeks out. I guess it’s good that I didn’t have a strong sense of urgency.
The actual appointment was fairly uneventful. I confessed to three summers of lifeguarding, a lifetime total of 20 trips to the tanning bed (which seems high because I would never consider smoking 20 cigarettes), and terrible adult sunscreen habits. I would say that mine falls squarely in the center of the American experience.
Because you have to be naked for the exam I spent most of the time getting tangled in the modesty gown and sheet while the doctor used a tiny handheld microscope-arrangement and looked at every single one of my moles. At the end of our appointment, I asked her if I could look at one using it because…science. She picked a mole on my arm and let me spy upon it. Fascinating.
All of my moles were normal.
Except for one in the center of my back that spends most of its time covered by a shirt or a sports bra.
And with the delivery of that news, the doctor asked me if I wanted to remove it and send it to pathology that day or if I wanted to wait. I was clearly not expecting this information because my response was Right Now, Please. Because I certainly wasn’t going to choose the Do Nothing option (can you imagine the time I would have dedicated to dreaming up worst-case scenarios?). Or the more time-consumptive Schedule Another Time To Come In-option.
The entire procedure took five minutes under local anesthetic. The doctor asked me if I was feeling okay. I told her that this was all pretty par for the course for a Monday.
And then I went home and texted my parents (who were in London at the time) and started asking my prayer warriors to pray. For those of you who are unfamiliar, about two years ago I decided that if Sarah Palin gets to have prayer warriors, I do too. So I have those now.
I also spent some time this week thinking about Job 2:10. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God and not receive the bad?” Some people really despise the book of Job, but I think it’s quite beautiful, actually.
I got my biopsy results back today. My mole is not cancerous (praise God) but it is a dysplastic nevi, which is to say that it’s abnormal. It increases my odds of getting melanoma in the future. It means I actually have to try at using sunscreen and that I will need to get my body checked annually.
In the middle of all of my WebMD and American Academy of Dermatology research (AKA self-terrorizing), I learned that Melanoma is the number one cancer among women ages 27-29. I also learned that when you catch it early and they fully remove the cancerous mole(s) that might be the end of your treatment. Your life goes on and that’s it. But. BUT. That means you actually have to find and remove the mole.
All of this is to say, if you are an adult with moles, you need to go get them checked at a dermatologist. Period. We all need to wear sunscreen. Period. I had absolutely no idea when I walked into the doctor’s office on Monday that this is what my week would look like.