Dr. Robinson 2, moles 0
Tuesday December 2, I visit the dermatologist for a routine skin check, which I do every six months.Dr. Robinson biopsies two moles from my back.
Wednesday December 3, Dr. Robinson calls to inform me that one of the moles is a melanoma."Malignant," "cancer," words you don't expect to hear at 35.That's the bad news.The good news is that the melanoma is at the earliest stage, and if he takes the mole off and gets the entire site, that's the end of it.
Thursday December 4, Dr. Robinson chops out both moles: sketchy Lesion A, and evil rogue The Notorious Lesion B, which requires him to cut away a centimeter on all sides and down to the muscle layer underneath.Robbie feels confident that he'd gotten the whole thing.
Friday December 5, Mr. S took off the pressure dressing.More than 50 stitches greeted him.The photo is after the jump, and is not gory or anything; it looks kind of like eyebrows on my back, actually.
There is also good news after the jump, so take a deep breath and go for it.
Tuesday December 9, I call in for my lab results.I don't expect to hear anything bad, but it's still a huge relief when the nurse calls back and says, "He got it."I had a melanoma in situ, Robbie took off the whole situ, done, thank you, goodbye.
Now, I have to go in for skin checks every three months, and I have to have various tests also — not to make sure it hasn't spread, because it basically can't have, but to provide a baseline (I could explain the concept in more depth, but it's not interesting; just trust me when I tell you that Sloan-Kettering is not involved and it's just maintenance).
But everything's more or less fine.The stitches came out yesterday; I can sit straight in a chair again now, instead of leaning saucily; I don't have to have radiation treatments or anything.I had a skin cancer, and now I don't.
So, it's not really a big deal, but at the same time, it is, because melanoma is really easy to head off, but really really a bitch to fight once it gets a foothold, so please, do not let it get a foothold.If you have any moles at all, please visit a dermatologist and get them looked at, and if the doctor thinks you should come in regularly to have them checked, DO IT.Don't blow off the appointment, don't rely on friends to tell you whether a freckle "looks weird" — go to the doctor.That renegade mole was on my back; I didn't see it changing, I didn't know it looked funny, I couldn't see that little bastard at all, and if I didn't go to the dermatologist regularly, it would have done its thing and who knows when I would have caught it, or whether we could have stopped it.
Not sure whether you need to go?Go anyway.Bring your kids, too; the moles that keep blowing up on me come from sunburns I got twenty-five years ago.Put SPF 30 sunscreen MINIMUM on yourself and your children every day, even in the winter, even when it's cloudy.Don't go to tanning beds, ever.Don't lay out between 10 and 2; don't lay out at all, actually, it's boring and bad for you.Don't think that because you have dark skin, it will save you; it doesn't always.
I don't want anyone to lie awake nights obsessing over their beauty marks, but seriously, a very minor amount of diligence here, an hour out of your life to go to a dermatologist and make sure you aren't at risk, could make a huge huge difference.Nobody wants to become that person who goes to various doctors once a week and gets all Howard Hughes about things; "trying not to die" is not "living."But neither is remaining in denial about a mole that's turning blue or shape-shifting…or a mole you can't even see.Maybe you don't have moles, and that's fine.I have hundreds.Dr. Robinson is on their shit like a vice-principal.I don't love the stitches and the peroxide lavage or any of that hassle, but it beats melanoma.And I mean it literally beats it.A mole looks dodgy, you take it off.Done.Better luck next time, tiny jackass.
Get yourselves a Dr. Robinson.Get yourselves this one, if you want — that's Dr. Bruce Robinson on East 60th in Manhattan.His staff is excellent, he's got coffee and nibbles in the waiting room, and he's a warm, friendly guy who spends as much time with patients as they need — and he does not mess around.You shouldn't either.
To reiterate: I am fine.Robbie got the whole thing, because Robbie is the man.I don't want you to freak out, not about me.But if one person gets freaked out a little, and goes into have her skin looked at, and finds a mole that looks kooky and gets it taken off, and is fine as a result, or if one person is like, "I hate how greezy SPF 60 is but I guess it's worth it"?Awesome.You can't go around afraid of little rando shit like this all the time, but you can be aware, and if you're aware, you'll be fine too.
I ain't going out on a fucking mole, my friends, and none of you should either.Get 'em checked.
My heartfelt thanks to the nursing team of Mr. S and Skyrockets, who had to dress the stitches because I couldn't reach, and to Dr. Robinson's Scalpel of Swift Justice.
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