Something comes over me when I am at the Dr.’s office. I am mostly a very capable and smart woman; except when at the Dr.’s office. And especially when I am less than fully dressed.
I went to the Dermatologist’s office to get my lip checked. I had an area frozen off as it looked ‘suspicious’. All I could think of is if I have to have part of my lip removed due to skin cancer, I would have to figure out how to still wear lipstick. While waiting for the Dr. to come in the nurse said that it was time for my full body skin scan and the Dr. was recommending it. I had approximately 8 seconds to decide if I should do this as this Dr. came in right away and said she would be doing the full body check and she would step out while I changed into what I will call a ‘sheet of paper’. A small sheet of paper. I mean if you are going to give us paper to cover up with, couldn’t they at least give us two sheets? Even Bounty paper towels needs two sheets to be used for absorbing everything!
Lucky for me I also had a magazine that I used to strategically place over my middle section. I made it look like I was reading it but then placed it face down in order to give the Dr. my full attention. Only I never can give my full attention while only wearing a sheet of paper.
Good news: My lip healed very nicely, per the Dr.. One quick look from her and a tone that suggests being happy and I feel like I did something similar to when I praise my dog for being good. Ironically, I sit up…straighter.
Now on to the full body scan. There is no way to say this without saying how humiliating this procedure is. Look up, look down. Lift this up, now down. Turn around. Turn over. Move paper. Grab paper by the un-torn ends to move about. Grab paper gently so as not to tear the sweaty, remaining part of the paper. Now on to the back side. Repeat process and by end just know that you have nothing left of your paper sheet. At least I am not facing her. And then I hear, “I don’t like the look of this spot. I am going to get a biopsy. The nurse will be right in.”
Wait, what did you say? I am both stunned and filled with questions at this information. Most importantly, ‘Am I to lay like this until the nurse comes in?’ ‘Can I get a new sheet of paper?’ And biopsy? Isn’t that going to hurt? Too much to think about when laying there…with, as I am remembering now, only one flip flop dangling from my big toe.
Yes, having a biopsy hurts. Anyone who has had one knows the needles giving you the Novocain is the most painful part. That followed by the slow burn once the Novocain wears off. However, the one thing that stands out most from having a biopsy is the information you are left with before you walk out of the office. You might have cancer. And because there is really nothing anyone can do but wait for the results, you now have to decide how to wait. You will either get a post card in the mail saying all things are fine. Or you will receive a phone call from the office with the next steps.
After five days of waiting and pensively going to the mailbox, my phone rang.
With caller ID I was able to decide if I was ready for the information. Should I answer now, or let them leave a message and I will call back when I feel ready?I answered. I heard pre-cancerous cells, no surgery needed and come in to the office as the Dr. would like to freeze the area. Sure…freeze my whole back while you at it…I can’t believe how relieved I am!
Here’s the thing…one teensy tiny dot of skin had me all whipped up and worried. I was caught in a world of ‘what if’ negative thinking and feeling scared. I willed myself to stay off the computer and do my usual internet research. I begged myself to not allow my brain to wallow in worry. I give myself a C- at best. And that was on a good day.
Since my own phone call and within two days, I heard news of others who did not receive the greatest of news about having cancer or not. I can only imagine that phone call. I can only imagine their thoughts and feelings.
I feel lucky. In saying that I do not want to give the idea that I feel those who have cancer are unlucky. It is simply the word to describe the feeling I have. What I do know is there are many who receive a diagnosis of cancer and make great strides in receiving another diagnosis of being in remission. I also know of others who did not get to hear those sweet words.
So, what are my takeaways:
I must insist on having more paper when in the Dr.’s office as a cover up
I will always bring a magazine in with me…just in case
I will wear sunscreen every day
I will always offer myself to those I know are waiting for some medical test results…whether it is sitting and talking, bringing over bacon and bourbon, or offering a shoulder to cry on
I will offer myself as someone to celebrate with, lean on or wipe off the dripping of mascara from an ugly cry
I will continue to give prayers of thanks to God