Melanoma or Melodramatic?

Ok. So, I recently almost died-ish for the second time. As you know I am totally afraid of getting skin cancer because of my family history of being German and the fact that I have see-through skin. Because of this I have my dermatologist on speed dial and go in to see her at least twice a year even though they only recommend me to come in every other year. I’m crazy thorough, I know.

So the other day I was talking to Jenn and she told me that she has a friend that had this spot on his arm that he was concerned about. He said that it looked like a mosquito bite that just wouldn’t go away and so he went to the dermatologist, thinking it was a wart, to have it removed. They ended up telling him that the spot was no bug bite, in fact, it was very serious – stage three melanoma and that he had a very grim outlook for recovery. He is our age and was facing chemotherapy and radiation: so scary.

Now, I have been to the dermatologist a million times and always make sure to have them tell me exactly what to look for. They always say to look for odd coloration, undefined edges or something that looks different from the rest of the moles and freckles that I already have. Not once have they told me to look for a flesh colored bug bite, so this was very concerning. The next morning I was shaving my legs and noticed a spot on my right leg that had been there for a while. It was flesh colored and small. Naturally, I had a very sane reaction…I called my dermatologist in hysterics.

Receptionist: Good Morning! Olansky Dermatology, how can I help?

Me: I need to come in as soon as possible…

Receptionist: Ok, is everything ok?

Me: (sobbing) No! Not at all…

Receptionist: What’s the matter?

Me: I'm technically not a dermatologist, but I am pretty sure that I have stage three melanoma and I need to come in today.

Receptionist: Well, we have some time we can squeeze you in this afternoon, how about…

Me: I don’t think I have that long, I’m on my way right now!

I ran to the car and the whole way there I am crying hysterically and I just know that this is the end for me. I am toast. I have already picked out the flowers for my funeral. I run into the office and I have mascara running down my face and am all red-eyed and look like a basket case. I know this is totally out of the norm for a dermatology office that usually has a lobby full of pizza-faced kids and Cougars awaiting Botox injections, so I think my presence probably freaked a few people out.

They quickly ushered me back to an exam room to keep me from scaring more patients see me right away. I told the whole story to the first nurse and then again to the physicians assistant and I had worked myself into such hysterics that they almost had to sedate me. When the dermatologist finally came in to see me I could barely relate the story through my sobbing. She patiently listened to me and once I was finished telling her why I was totally convinced that this was my last day on earth she said, very somberly, “Well, let’s take a look”.

So, I showed her the spot on my calf and she took a very thorough look. She ran her fingers over it and then pressed the sides and took out a magnification thing and really examined my leg. After about two minutes of studying the spot from all possible angles, she sat back in her chair and looked right at me. Bracing for the bad news, I grabbed a notepad and pen to right down my treatment options. She then told me that the spot on my leg… was… an ingrown hair.

WHAAAAAAAA???? Seriously? Are you sure?

She told me that, yes, it's an ingrown hair. That is was not cancer, nor would it ever be cancer and that it posed no threat to my health and never would. She said that I had probably just scratched at it and so it formed a little scar tissue and it would just be a permanent tiny spot on my leg but that there would be no reason to ever come into her office, and scare the shit out the rest of her patients, again.

Ok, so you’re saying I’m going to live??!?! Hallelujah!

I called Brad and told him the good news that I was going to live, and he was all “you were going to die? When did that happen?”

As I was checking out I told the lady at the billing counter about my miraculous day. As she was processing my paperwork I noticed that they had a drawing you can enter for a free microdermabrasion treatment so I started filling out the entry form when the lady said to me “Haven’t you tested your luck enough for one day?”

I guess she was probably right.

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