I don’t generally bring a lot of souvenirs home from a vacation, especially when I’m in the south. I hate bargaining with vendors, and for the most part, nothing they sell is particularly unique (and I suspect most of it is made in China).
I did bring a few things back with us from Punta Cana: some rum, some coffee, vanilla, and a couple of colourful dresses for the girls.
Oh, and skin cancer.
At least, I’m pretty sure it’s skin cancer (not like me to be hypochondriac or anything).
A couple of years ago, I noticed a brown spot peaking out from under my right eyebrow. Naturally I freaked out. It had to be cancer, and I had to be dying, and I would be leaving my beautiful, darling babies to grow up motherless. I showed the spot to my doctor, and he smiled gently and told me that it was sun damage, probably caused years ago. Effectively, an age spot. Remember those old tv ads of silver-haired ladies gently rubbing Esoterica cream on the back of their leathery hands? Ya, that. That’s what I had on my eyebrow.
For the last two years, I’ve watch this spot. Watched it do pretty much nothing except remind me, relentlessly, that I’m getting old, and that nobody is going to mistake me for a woman in her early 30s anymore. People have stopped seeming shocked when they learn my age, or if they are surprised, they give me a mere 2 or 3 years, not the decade I used to get, not long ago.
Then I went on vacation. I slathered myself up with 30 sunblock, but yes, I did bask in the sun. I’m sorry – when you live in a climate where it is below freezing for nearly 6 months of the year, you take in all the vitamin D you can at any opportunity. I came back home with enough of a bronzing to make me feel healthy and renewed, but also with my spot brighter, bumpier and flakier than I’ve ever seen it.
I know what it is. I just know. I know people get skin cancers removed all the time, and that it probably isn’t a huge deal.
But I also know that I should have had this thing looked at, should have insisted on a second opinion, 2 years ago. I hate thinking that cancer (CANCER!) has been left to fester on my face for that long, and that I just covered it up with a little makeup to assuage my vanity. I know that Izzy Stevens almost died because she ignored a bad mole, for gods sake.
I’m terrified to make the call, but make it I must, and make it I will. I’m more terrified of what comes next: the tests, the treatment, the loss of my eyebrow when they have to scrape, dig or laser these cells off my face.
But the thing that terrifies me most is that it might be too late; that there might be something more, and that my family will have to go through the horror of “cancer treatment”.
Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe this post is stupid. Maybe my spot is pre-cancerous, or maybe just a tragically coincidental pimple that I’ve aggravated by worrying and prodding.
But maybe it’s not. And if it’s not, then I have to put ‘cancer’ on my biological dancecard, and it’s scary to think I may be partnered with that particular clodhopper on and off for the rest of my life.
I’ve known many women who have faced, fought and triumphed over much more serious illnesses, cancer and otherwise. I’ll put my faith and my hope in them, and I’ll make that call.
Wow, this needs an update!
No, I don’t have cancer (at least not on my eyebrow). Once my doctor stopped laughing at me, he zapped my age spot with liquid nitrogen and it eventually went away. I’m thinking of buying a vat of liquid nitrogen and going to town on all my other spots, but that will have to wait until I get out of the looney bin for my hypochondriac-ness.