I tend not to get too personal here on the blog, but I’m making an exception in this case because what I’m about to write could have the potential to help someone.
In May, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. First it was a small thing. Then the doctors decided it wasn’t such a small thing. Then it was maybe a really big thing that might require six weeks of radiation after surgery. Then I had surgery. Which became a way bigger than anticipated thing. The kind where they pretty much rearranged half my face. Ouch.
But at the end of the day, it thankfully became a small thing as the final pathology results showed that it was a different type of cancer than the preliminary pathology indicated. The tumor was removed and I’m now cancer free and won’t require radiation. Cue the Homer Simpson “woohoo!” and lots of awkward dancing.
The diganosis? Basal cell carcinoma, an incredibly common non-melanoma form of skin cancer. My face is healing and I’ll have a scar that I’ll probably make up ridiculous stories (knife fight? bear attack? I’ll entertain suggestions if you’d like to contribute!) about for the rest of my life. I’ll have to monitor my skin very closely, wear floppy hats and copious amounts of sunscreen, and hope that my dermatologist has some sort of rewards program for frequent visitors.
Here’s the thing: I had no idea the tiny pimple-like bump on my face was “suspicious”. I thought it was, well, a pimple. Had I not gone to the dermatologist for something completely unrelated, who knows how long this would have gone undiagnosed and how much further it would have spread.
Long story short, if you’re reading this please go see a dermatologist for a skin check. Even if you think everything is normal. I’m coercing all of my friends and family to get checked and I hope that you’ll get yourself checked and convince your loved ones to do the same.
Finally, I owe tremendous amounts of gratitude to my family and friends who took care of me, lent moral support, sent flowers, and all sorts of other wonderful things during this. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!