January 20, 2011

all i've accomplished this month: not getting cancer.

well! you know it's been quite a month when you send an email to your entire family entitled "no cancer for me!" and the highlight of the month so far is managing to NOT pass out in a doctor's office, but here we are.

remember back in november, when i had the not-so-great experience at my dermatologist when it took about 45 calls and 3 weeks to find out that the results of a mole biopsy were actually Not Good, and that i had to come back in to get the surrounding tissue excised to remove all dysplastic cells?

yes! well! i went in last week to get my cancer hole embiggened, as i had taken to calling it. the original procedure just sort of lopped off the mole, leaving a shallow hole about the diameter of a pencil eraser on my thigh. i assumed the follow up would enlarge this hole slightly, just sort of cleaning out the areas immediately next to it.

yeah. not so much. if you're squeamish, you may want to stop reading right about now.

my appointment was at 7:15am (after storming out of my previous appointment 1 hr and 20 mins after my appointment time, having never been seen or checked on, they gave me the Super Early We're Not Even Technically Open Yet timeslot to ensure i'd be seen "on time"). i usually eat breakfast (by which i mean "drink a cup of coffee") when i get to work, so it didn't occur to me at 6:30am to eat anything. plus, i already did this once, and it was totally no big deal. he shot me in the thigh with some numbing stuff, did a quick little lop, and put a bandaid on me. no worries.

this time, however, there were MULTIPLE numbing shots. along a several inch long area of my thigh. and then he picked up a scalpel.

"say," i asked the doctor casually. "how big is this going to be?"

he eyeballed my leg for a minute thoughtfully, then answered "oh, about an inch and a half, i'd say."

i was surprised, but not really concerned. he asked if i was a fainter. "not really!" i assured him. i mean, true, i sometimes faint while driving, but not usually due to pain or gore or anything. in fact, i started telling him the story of the time i was dancing in NYC years ago and the guy i was dancing with accidentally ripped my big toenail off right in the club, and it got stuck lodged in my toe pointing straight up. during this story, i am acutely aware of the VERY weird sensation of being able to feel him tugging around in my leg, but not feeling it. like, i could sense all these weird pulling and tugging and jostlings happening in my thigh, but it didn't hurt or anything. it was... unsettling.

i resolve to be extra careful not to look at whatever is going on in my leg, just to be safe, so in an effort to not accidentally get an eyeful of what's happening down there i start casting my eyes around the room in any other direction, which is how i ended up idly looking at the counter behind the doc where he'd laid out his tools and gauze and stuff, while still chatting about the gross toe story.

which is when i noticed the intact, and very sizable, hunk of MY OWN LEG that was sitting there on the counter. a wedge-shaped chunk of my flesh. an intact piece of my leg, that he had cut out of my body. sitting on the counter.

"um, i hate to say this, but i'm going to need you to lean this chair back," i announce weakly.

my derm looked up from where he'd been stitching my leg back up, took one look at my ashen face, and dropped the chair back to such an incline that i actually had to hang on with my heels a bit to keep from sliding off.

"JUICE!" he yelled to an assistant, while running a paper towel under cold water so he could pat my face and try and keep me conscious.

"with that story you were telling me, i was sure you'd have no problem with this!" he exclaimed. "yeah," i mumbled. "noshure what happ'nd."

"hey. stay with me. did you eat anything this morning?"

"nossomuch," i whispered.

"that's probably it. hey. still with me? here, drink this."

so yeah. that was embarrassing. i did at least have a gnarly frankenstein-looking stitched up gash on my leg - substantially larger than 1.5" long, by the way - to justify the incident. but still.

however. yesterday morning, i had a follow up appointment to get the stitches out. another pre-8am appointment. and you can bet your ass i not only had my coffee first, but i also shoved down an entire starbucks scone beforehand as well.

(turns out getting stitches removed isn't really a fainty sort of event, but i wasn't taking any chances.)

anyway, the results from my Major Leg Chunk came back fine, so i am officially melanoma free. and haven't fainted in, like, a week. go me!


  1. Eeek. I almost fainted just READING this. Glad you are melanoma free! But GAH!

  2. Right. That was gory. Anyhoo, really glad to hear you're cancer free... that didn't sound like too much fun. Besos!

  3. Yay! So glad it was nothing!

    I skimmed most of this post because i saw the picture of your leg and well, eeek!

  4. Glad to hear the news was good! As I mentioned in my tweet, I am going in 10 days to have that done on my back, so fortunately I shouldn't get any sort of view...

  5. Yeah, I'm not the fainting type, either. But, last year when I had to take all those 3-hour glucose tests and they had to draw blood every hour ... let's just say, I liked looking out the window to ensure I never saw blood.

    Much more importantly, so glad to hear you're in good health!

  6. Yay for cancer free and no more fainting!

  7. I got to "scalpel" and then I stopped reading. Sorry. But I'm very happy that you're cancer-free! I had a similar procedure done 15 years ago and I found that rubbing pure vitamin E oil on the scars (I had three cancer holes) really helped with the healing. Do you have Bio-Oil in the US? It's a British thing I think. It's good for scars too.

  8. Hooray!

    Even tough girls faint sometimes. It's okay. You're still cool.

  9. Glad to hear you're cancer free. Also, I'm a firm believer in using anasthesia for EVERY medical procedure. Too bad that shit can kill us.

    By the way, my word ver is "cutfulp," which kind of sounds like a sound effect during the lopping off of pieces of one's leg. (I have a giant scar on my thigh, so I know something about this.)

  10. I had a cancer scare a few years ago so I know how stressful and worrisome it can be. So congratulations on being cancer free! And sorry you're missing a big chunk of leg flesh. Yikes.

  11. Yay for being cancer free!!!

    I have you classified in my google reader folders as "Good Read" but I think I'm going to move you to "Medical Blog".

  12. Oh, man. Your level of detail was um...highly suggestive (for fainting, that is). I'm glad everything is OK.

    I have a dr. appt. next week to get a suspicious mole removed, and now you have terrified me.

  13. YAY for being cancer free! I'm so glad.

    That was a fantastic story. There isn't much that makes me squeamish, but I'm pretty sure I would've reacted the same way in your situation. But honestly, the toenail story really grossed me out :-)

  14. THANK GOD!

    glad you're ok, sans fainting-ish and all.

    at least you got juice.

  15. Yay for the good news!

    But ugh, I probably would have felt pretty weirded out too. Just from seeing something that is supposed to be inside your leg. Eww!

  16. I would have fainted if I'd seen a big chunk of my flesh on the counter.
    Great news! No cancer is a big deal. A HUGELY big deal. I know what a tremendous relief that is.
    (My mom was just diagnosed.)

  17. I could write a book just on adverse reactions I've had to medical procedures. I am NOT a good patient at all and I shudder to think what I'd do if I ever got really hurt or sick.

  18. Oh my gosh, how awful! I'm glad you don't have cancer though!

  19. I can't give blood because I faint. Embarrassing! I am glad you don't have the cancer. PHEW.

  20. YAY!!! Melanoma GO TO HELL!

    I couldn't look when the doc did my breast biopsy. Nope, cannot look.

    But yay!!! So happy it's done with!

  21. I'm sending you smelling salts for your next birthday. Along with the full body bubble.

    Having undergone the same procedure several times, I feel your pain. Rub 1 part peanut oil and 1 part olive oil on scar for 2 minutes 2 times a day :) Yay for no cancer!!

  22. Yikes. Sorry you had to go through that, but that's great that you are cancer free!

  23. Man if I weren't in a crowded office I'd want to scream "JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCE!" right now.

    Hey - didja take a pic of your leg?