Sunday 25 November 2007

Neither were Gerald

I've agonised about whether or not I should write about the following subject. I've been concerned that it might be seen as looking for sympathy. I can assure you that I'm not. I'm writing about the following because I want to raise awareness.

Nothing can prepare you for being told that you have cancer. When you are first told it's a tremendous shock. You feel numb. It brings home to you that you are indeed mortal. My lady had been getting on at me (in a nice way) to get a two-coloured mole that I had on my arm checked out by the doctor. Eventually I did. It wasn't my normal doctor that I saw, but one at the practice who I think is close to retirement. He pronounced that “it is probably nothing to worry about”, but arranged for me to have it removed a week later by my doctor. I don't really believe in omens, but as I walked down to the doctors the following week for my surgery, a wasp flew into my face, landed on my lip, and as I brushed it away the bastard stung me. There I was lying on the operating chair with a fat lip while a piece of me was being removed. It didn’t look or feel good.

A week later, I returned to have the stitching/wound examined, being told by the nurse that it was healing up nicely. Indeed it healed up to what looked like quite a nice little scar. About three weeks later I got home from work to find a message on our answer phone from my doctor asking me to ring him. My heart sank. I knew exactly why he had rung. He told me that the tests on the mole that he had removed had shown that it was a superficial melanoma. He was going to refer me to a skin specialist at the hospital. The appointment at the hospital revealed that I would need to have more skin removed from my arm where the melanoma had been to see if there was any more cancer present. After an inspection of my torso it was decided that I was also to have a mole removed from my face. Two separate operations. I also had my initial wound and two moles photographed with measurement stickers stuck on me prior to being snapped.

The first operation at the hospital was to have the extra skin removed from my arm. It was quite a hefty cut, which now it has healed, looks like an act of desperation where I've tried to slit my wrist at some point in the past. Thankfully when the results came back there had been no more cancer found. But there was still the matter of the mole on my face. This was quite a painful experience. The doctor was very good. After lots of grinning and general face making he took his pen to my face and mapped out the incision he would finally make. I think the pain was mainly due to the blood vessels and nerve ending on your face being close to the surface. Or something like that. It started to heal up nicely and will hopefully blend into my face quite well. My only hope was that I didn't have to have more surgery.

Yesterday a letter arrived from the consultant. I wanted to know the results but at the same time I was somewhat apprehensive. I was so overjoyed when it said that the second mole was benign and that no further treatment was required. Words cannot explain the relief I felt!

I would urge anyone that has either two-coloured or odd shaped moles about their person to go see their doctor. I'm so glad I did!

the mole that is no more

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