The major spot is only Stage 2 malignant melanoma. I feel such relief that I have longer than 6 months to live… something I read through tears on the Internet at 3am night before last.
“DON’T READ DR. GOOGLE!”
How many times have I told people that?!? HUNDREDS! And there I was, tap tap tapping, Googling all the different survivor rates for my cancer. By the time I got to the doctor at 10am, I had lumps in my arm, felt the cancer in my bones, knew it was Stage 4, with one foot in the grave.
Then the doctor pulls out my results and says it is a Stage 2 and they only need to see me every 3 months after I have the excision in the two places. I explained my oncologist called and wants me to have a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy so she explained I would have to see a general surgeon for that. No problem. I am waiting for a consult appointment from the general surgeon. Supposedly, I might have surgery this week.
There’s your update!
I was dancing on the clouds yesterday that I will have time to make book audios for my grandbabies as well as get my Flux book DONE!
I have Malignant Melanoma in one area on my upper arm, a few inches from my elbow, right by my tattoo.
These pics are after the biopsy, not the spot itself.
Showing size off biopsy.
Close up after biopsy, it is infected, but healing now.
I have another spot that is a hair-breadths from being Melanoma on my right scapula. I do not have a picture of that yet.
How Did I Get This?
Let’s see… grew up in Florida, sun tanning since I was about 12-years old, using Crisco on my skin to burn faster (and that was the goal), swimming outdoors until about 10-15 years ago, being a lifeguard and swim instructor, always outside, sun tanning nude in San Diego… and I never, never once, used sunscreen.
USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!
How Did I Find It?
Well, actually, I went in for a different spot that turned out to be a capillary thing, but the night before my appointment, I saw this place in the mirror as I was leaving the bathroom. It was flush with my skin and looked like a light cafe au latte birthmark. All the same color, but the edges were not completely solid. I forgot to get a picture, but the Derm has one, so I will get it for my records.
At the Dermatologist’s office, the PA was awesome and told me what the red spot was and then pointed to the one above and said, “Now that one I am worried about.” She also found 3 others to biopsy and 2 were in trouble, 2 were normal.
The one pictured above got infected, and my Dermatologist said she was not surprised being it was the one with the melanoma, so I am on Doxycycline and using Mupirocin ointment. 24 hours after beginning, I feel so much better already.
The PA told me that I need to have surgery (her word) on the 2 spots. I will have an almond-shaped chunk of skin removed, 4×6 inches and then sutured together again. The one on my back should be a tad smaller than the one shown above. They will be looking to see if they got it all, looking for “margins” of healthy tissue.
Blessedly, I already have an Oncologist (for my Iron Infusions) and she will get the results of the surgical chunk-ectomies, send me for an MRI or CT to look inside to see if the buggies have gone anywhere else and we will go from there.
How I Feel
I feel really positive! With a little gallows humor, I am not losing weight so it can’t be that bad, can it? I also told the PA it was good my arm was huge so they could take great gobs of flesh if they wanted to. They thought I was weird. I just laughed and laughed, wiping a couple of tears at the same time.
I’m feeling much better. I have been for awhile, but forgot to write about it here because I have been writing a lot elsewhere, mostly for work.
My writing is really going well. I am really proud of some of the things I have written and do hope they can see the light of day someday. I’ve come up with a Nom de Guerre (someday will share that, too) with which to show my erotic writings. I’ve been encouraged to write on Literotica for years and am this close (holding my thumb and forefinger a fraction away from each other) to doing so. Will all the years of writing lead to being known for erotica? I find that somewhat amusing.
I’ve been going through my old Navelgazing Midwife site for some folks looking for things in particular. Damn, I wrote some good crap there! I was reading from back in 2011… my voice is the same as it is now, my feelings pretty much the same now. How reviled I was for bucking the system! Sheesh. That was so so long ago, but seems like a blip in time ago, too. Isn’t time crazy?
I am writing a lot on Second Life, too. I have also been asked to teach some classes, which will be lots of fun. Classes about women’s health, cultural sensitivity in discussing sex workers, issues around pregnancy and the like.
When Bobby, Scott and I got into Washington, DC, it was July 10, 1979, hot and sticky. We’d run completely out of money, not having one idea what to do next. We went into our separate bathrooms on the Mall, near the Washington Monument (which was stunning, by the way).
There were many people in there, but I picked the sink furthest from the open door and pulled out my paper bag of supplies: shampoo, soap, a razor and toothpaste with my toothbrush. First brushing my teeth, afterwards, I immediately felt more human. Then shaved my pits (why in the holy hell I did that is beyond me now), washed my face with soap and my hands and then leaned wayyyy over and washed my short hair (which may or may not have been fuchsia at the time).
I ran my fingers through my dripping wet hair, gathered my supplies, dropping them back into the crinkly brown paper bag and walked outside past the gaping-mouthed women and girls. Outside, Bobby loaned me his brush and I brushed my hair until it was at least not dripping everywhere.
Then we stood looking at each other. What now? We walked around looking for a pay phone to call family to ask for help. Scott’s family would help him, but not us… neither Bobby’s nor my family would help us, either. Scott was being sent a Western Union money order that would take 2 days to get there, so until then, we figured, we were on the streets together.
Looking up at the Washington Monument, I lamented we would not be able to get up there to see out the windows.
I then got the bright idea to try and schmooze the Park Services Ranger selling the tickets to go up and within minutes, Kevin had become our new gay friend.
He not only gave us tickets, but told us about Lynn up at the top, giving information to the tourists… that Lynn was known to take in strays and we were well qualified.
Up we went in the elevator. Dang, that Monument is much taller from the inside than the outside! When we got off, Lynn was there to greet us, giving us hugs and telling us about where she lived. I was craning my neck to see out the window, hardly paying attention until Bobby nudged me hard and I hit my head on the thick window.
Rubbing my head, I turned just as Lynn was taking a key from around her neck and putting it over Bobby’s flowing red mane. Huh? Apparently, Lynn had just given us the key to her apartment where she lived with Risa and told us to shower, eat whatever was there and take a nap!! She told us where the quarters were for the laundry, where the laundry soap was… that we could play her albums if we wanted… to just make ourselves at home.
It was rather stunning.
While still up in the Monument, we discussed what to do with the car, which had zero gas in it. The decision to leave it where it was, near the Ellipse, until we got some money.
This left us with no way to get to Lynn’s house! So, before we went back down the elevator, Lynn said that Kevin had Metro tokens for us and the directions to her house, so down we went, over to Kevin’s kiosk again, got the tokens and headed off to Lynn and Risa’s place in Arlington, Virginia.
After having been in the New York City subway, this one was pristine. Our stop was the Rosslyn stop, one that was a mere 2 years old, and was really was amazingly beautiful.
Taking the Metro was awesome. And deep! When we got off on our stop, we went up an escalator so long, I had never seen one like it before, it taking several minutes to get up to the street.
As we exited, all we had to do was go caddy-corner across the street and into the concrete building, up the elevator and into the really large apartment our new friends’ lived in.
We were immediately drawn to the enormous balcony. Leaning over the rail in one direction, we could see the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building and in the other, we could see the Iwo Jima Memorial. All of which looked very small from where we were, but look how huge the Iwo Jima Memorial is!
Here is an image at night and you can see the Lincoln Memorial easier as well.
How incredible is that? Our balcony gave us the scope of the buildings, minus the Lincoln Memorial.
Once we got showers and scarfed some food we found in the refrigerator, we three fell into someone’s bed, curled around each other, and fell asleep for several hours.
Mom and I sat at the vet the other day, in that tiny side room with the dogs hiding under our feet. We wept together, apologizing for all our past hurts and wrongs. It was extremely freeing to know my mom forgives me for all those horrible kid things I have done… and she has heard that I also forgive her for her own parental difficulties.
Deep inside my colorless cocoon, I have a vague sense of other lives nearby.
I slither through their reality; where is my own? Surrounding myself with the darkness of my depression.
My mirror’d existence bursts into color, fireworks exploding with energy that drains my body, but never my mind.
Having Bipolar Disorder 1 is, quite literally, opposing colors of my brain. I see auras anyway, but during a manic episode, the colors scream off my body, tsunamis of energy crashing into my brain again and again. Voices screech… or whisper… I, never knowing which will be next… raging about how I look, feel, need to act, need to fly, need to find this or that, things that are elusive even after hours of mentally and physically searching.
Exhaustion never comes.
When the electricity finally dissipates after months of zapping me, I collapse into that dark world once again, struggling to keep breathing and not smother myself with the thought that this will go on forever.
Reaching outward, always outward, needing several hands to keep me alive, I am fed my medication, waking only to swallow, then sleeping yet another 23 hours.
Writing is my emotional gauge. By how many words I write in a day, I’m able to see where I stand psychologically.
Not writing for days, weeks, months… I am in that dark place and need help. Too often, because I am alone, I do not recognize the need for many weeks and, by then, am buried by the pain.
However, when I write 20,000 words in a day… several blog posts for me, blog posts and essays for work… long emails to friends and family… run-on sentences with divergent topics… it is they who sense my need for help and their well-rehearsed phone calls are made to see who can get me to the doctor the fastest.
Walking the tightrope, umbrella in hand, I teeter, side to side, always searching for that inaccessible balance.
When the kids were younger, we were all lacto-ovo vegetarians. Except when well-meaning (annoying) friends and family didn’t respect my choices. Once the kids were old enough to make their own choices, they ate veggie at home, but could eat whatever they wanted out of the house.
I initially became a vegetarian when I was 18-years old after a beloved friend was killed by a drunk driver. I wanted to do something purposeful that would keep her in my heart and mind as time passed. 15 years later, when I explained it to a Certified Nurse Midwife I was working with at a birth center, she looked at me, smirking, “Was she killed by a cow?” I couldn’t help but laugh, hearing my explanation through another person’s ears. No, no… no cow involved.
As the years passed, I wanted to be a vegetarian because I was fat and saw how thin most vegetarians were. The lacto-ovo got in the way of that, however.
Eating gobs of cheese, meals made with gobs of cheese, cheese and crackers, cheese, cheese, cheese!
I also ate a concoction of potatoes, onions, cheese (of course!) and sour cream on almost a daily basis. Now, of course, in the depths of diabetes, I know how incredibly glucose-spiking potatoes are. It’s amazing I didn’t become diabetic before the diagnosis when I was 34-years old.
Okay, Let’s Be Vegan Then!
Then there was the stint as a vegan. I still did not lose weight (probably those “veggie” fries?), but tried hard to eat as healthy as possible. I discovered the veggie section of the supermarkets (in the refrigerated section? What’s up with that!) and began eating tofu, tempeh, seitan, veggie hot dogs and made vegan burgers from scratch. During that time, (and it lasted about 10 years) I easily had 20+ vegan cookbooks and also checked out vegan books at the library constantly, wanting to be a thin vegan. It never happened.
Way back in the day, public schools were baffled about what to feed vegetarians. The kids told me they were eating cookies and drinking milk, sometimes having potatoes or pizza, but that was rare. I was darn tired of hearing these stories so tromped down to the school and talked to the head of the cafeteria. She expressed her confusion about vegetarianism, but said she would find a way to accommodate the kids. What ended up happening was my kidlets got to eat 2 salads and anything else they wanted. (Salads were brought in for the kids.) Blessedly, today, kids have many more food options. (I am sure it drives the cafeteria mad, though… veggie, vegan, food allergies, gluten-free, etc.)
When the kids went to live with their father, they began eating meat… mostly chicken… but meat appeared in their diets. Interestingly, Tristan and Aimee are vegans and Meghann does not make meat dishes all that often. I smile knowing my weirdness did rub off on them just a little.
I eat very very little red meat, no pork, a bit of chicken, fish a couple of times a year (unless I come across catfish!), but still am eating plenty of cheese. Rarely potatoes, though.
I’m glad I had the veggie experiences (and have several more stories that hinge on my being vegetarian), but it was, for me, a fad… a way to stand out in the crowd. It was a fad that lasted a darn long time!
Oh, and even in my vegan years, I had one turkey sandwich with Miracle Whip a year, the day after Thanksgiving. (I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving now, for what it’s worth.) I haven’t had a turkey sandwich in over 3 years now.