I was diagnosed with skin Cancer last year.
I was not surprised when my fantastic dermatologist identified the Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) by sight, before confirming his diagnosis with a biopsy.
The procedure to treat this, call Mohs surgery, was no big deal but, as with most invasive medical procedures, it’s not something one would be keen to experience on their own. You want your people around, even if you don’t need them. I went in for my appointment armed with a short list of post-op phone calls to make.
I called. I left voicemails. I received no response, save for breezy next day text messages, asking how things had gone.
It was a lightbulb moment. It was the departure of who I once had been and the end of an old life. It was the birth of who I was to become.
It was a very hard night, the first of what would become a particularly difficult year.
Several weeks ago, my doc took a look at the area he’d previously treated and the span of skin which surrounded it. He was not pleased with his findings and he prescribed a cream for me to apply on a nightly basis, a topical form of chemotherapy.
He warned me that the treatment would be unpleasant and that it would require significant downtime. We did not go into the specifics, the long list of potential side effects, but I of course scurried right home and educated myself via an extensive Google search.
Google is not your friend. It attaches itself to your paranoia and drags you to site after site of horror stories, to tummy churning images of oozing, crusty sores, the likes of which convince you that you are soon to become a monster, a being from whose path protective parents will forcefully remove their children. Google is a fear-monger of grand proportions.
Google is also pretty dead on.
I’ve been treated to several of the scarier side effects: chronic fatigue, nausea, mild fever and headache.
And then there are the superficial benefits:
It’s a great big ball of fun, this chemo cream.
This time around the Cancer block, I’ve made no outgoing calls, I’ve left no voicemails, I’ve asked for no support.
I’ve not been disappointed.
I’ve learned that it is better this way. I’ve nursed my own wounds, held my own hand, eased my own moments of suffering.
I’ve gone it alone.
I’ve learned that, for me, this is the best course of action. I am my own best friend, my own strongest shoulder, my own greatest supporter.
I am my nurse, my sympathizer, my greatest love, my emergency contact. I will get through this, I will survive. I will have no one but myself to thank for it.
I’m completely good with that.