Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fair Weather Skin

I drew the short stick when God was doling out skin. I'm under no delusions. I am pale. And, I am not gloriously, china-doll pale like Nicole Kidman or Gwyneth Paltrow. I am pale in a red splotchy, covered-in-moles, see-my-veins, crypt-keeper kind of way. I am pale in a think-about-going-out-in-the-sun-without-sunscreen-and-get-a-sunburn kind of way. I am pale in a work-out-and-turn-purple, get-a-blemish-and-it-might-as-well-have-its-own-spotlight, bump-yourself-and-see-the-mark-instantaneously kind of way.

My complexion combined with the kind of moles I have, combined with blah, blah, blah puts me at an alarmingly high risk for melanoma. Yay, me! But, it's actually not that big of a deal if you're proactive about it. If you catch melanoma early, it's usually easily treated. So, I go to the dermatologist every six to eight months to have my existing moles examined and my entire (yes, I mean entire) body checked for new moles.

Ewwww. Moles.  Ewwww. My body observed in detail under florescent lighting (the horror of bathing suit shopping times 100, anybody?)

Anyway, the doctor always asks if I've noticed any new or changing moles. I always point out "this", "that" or "the other". But, since it's common to grow moles as you age, they always turn out to be nothing.

Today I casually answered his question with, "Yeah. I think this one on my knee is new."

He looked and said, "Oooooh!"

Excuse me. Did you just say, "Oooooh!"?!

Then he told me we have two options. We can wait and watch it or we can remove it.

What I said silently in my head: "Yeah, um, since you just responded with 'Ooooooh!' I don't think 'watching' it for six months is gonna be an option. Because what I can promise is that there will be elaborate charts and measurement techniques and mole-watching-parties at the hands of my obsessive nature. There may even be time-lapse photography involved.* For the sake of my sanity, my family and my friends, this mole is going to have to go."

What I said aloud: "I don't mind if we go ahead and remove it."

So the cutting began and the doctor tried to reassure me with, "Moles this small can be melanoma. But, when they are, they are almost never fatal."

Ummm. Great? Never mind that someone checking your butt for moles is enough to make you break a sweat; you'll sweat in places you never even knew had sweat glands when they tell you that (while simultaneously cutting chunks off of your person).

I'll get the pathology report back in a week. But, don't worry. I'm probably not gonna die. Yay! In the meantime, I already have my appointment for six months from now.

*It would be similar to this. Less the fetus.

(I almost couldn't bring myself to post this video for the word "stretchening" on the first screen. "Stretchening?" Well, if their aptitudes don't lean toward literacy, at least they're good with mechanical things, like cameras. And, they know how to post stuff to YouTube. So, there's that.)


Anonymous said...

I am pale, and mole-y, and crpyt keeper-ish too, friend. And I, too, recently waited a week to see if a mole that made my dermatologist go "hmmm," was malignant. Very long week I might add. Sounds like you will be fine, but I will pray for you nevertheless :)

Ali said...

thanks, min. i'm really NOT worried about it. i just wanted to do that "laugh of insanity" every time he tried to "reassure" me!

cmjj said...

I didn't know you could grow moles as you age....I am pale too, but I tan really easy in the summer....I know my pale is different from your pale. Nevertheless, I am always checking my bod for changes in moles too. I worked at a derm. office before I graduated, so I am a total freak about moles. I should follow your example and go get them checked more often.

Ali said...

yes. you should!

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