Some people practise extreme sports to add thrills to their boring lives. Me, I don’t have to: I have cancer scares.
At the end of June, I discovered a brownish spot on my back that I didn’t remember ever seeing before. I went to my GP straight away (years ago, I would have worried for weeks before consulting a doctor, but not these days) and got the usual mixed message: ‘It’s a mole; it’s nothing, but you could have it removed. Shall I arrange it for you?’ Which begged the question: if it’s nothing, why the rush? Still, I came out of the surgery half reassured that I could leave it alone if I wanted to.
I soon realized I didn’t want to, though, so I tried to arrange to have the nasty-looking thing cut out at the Cromwell Hospital (home from home, as it were). It wasn’t easy: because of the holidays and because most of the dermatologists there are women with kiddies, the earliest appointment I could get – with someone I had already seen for something else last year – was for last Wednesday, i.e. over six weeks later. As it happens, I had to visit my GP again in the meantime and, although she said that of course it could wait until then, she intimated that removing the mole was not an option but a necessity. That’s when I got really scared and considered rushing to the Hammersmith Hospital’s walk-in skin clinic, but someone I know had a mole removed there and she said they made her feel ‘like a piece of meat’. I decided to wait and use the time to accustom myself to the idea of hearing the dreaded words – ‘You have cancer’ – for the third time.
Anyway, I have a small – healing – wound in my back, but earlier today I was told that what I had wasn’t even a mole, it was a benign lesion (seborrheic keratosis). Those things never turn cancerous, but are apparently very difficult to distinguish from melanomas. No kidding!
Now, once more, I have to learn to live again and do all the things I promised myself I would do if I was all right.
Slapping stupid skin!