I am forlorn and overwhelmed. I am obliterated. I am yearning. I want to rake my fingers down my arm for all of this pathetic angst. My heart is pounding just trying to wrench this stroke of emotion from my mind. I sit here and look at you, with no idea where to start. All I know is that I need to force something through the wall. Past the fat kid blocking the door.
More cancer. That was the diagnosis when I went in to get my stitches out from my last set of surgeries for malignant melanoma. Again, I thought it was odd that the doctor’s office had not called with the pathology results and again I deluded myself. I am becoming a master at delusion.
I am becoming a master at having the wind knocked out of me.
I struggle to put my finger on what pisses me off more: the cancer or the loss of control.
How dare I be surprised?
My hands were trembling when I called my husband to share the pathology results. Talking with him, I realized it was not fear of the cancer but fear of the loss of control that made me shake. I was shaking with rage.
You think you have a handle on it, you finally decide to address a Dark Brown Nothing, discover it is Something, and proceed with the appropriate plans to decimate all traces of it. You nod your head, agree to swallow the Pill of Solutions, and trust that you’ll be done, rewarded for following the rules, without question.
Along the way, you make an offhand decision to check this one more thing. You could have just as easily not. Blink of an eye between you and another answer you weren’t seeking.
The new cancer is not within the margins of the original melanoma excision on my back. It isn’t within the Dark Brown Nothing on my stomach. The new cancer is in an adjacent spot on my back, which we decided to excise at the last moment. A spot we decided to remove because the new excision scars would make it look funny.
I thought I was done when I woke up from surgery. Maybe I am. Maybe all of the cancer is gone now. Or maybe there are a dozen other spots that haven’t yet qualified as scary enough to biopsy.
The next step is an oncologist. I’ve been waiting 21 days to hear back, only to schedule an appointment to wait some more. The plastic surgeon said that the melanoma “skipped” from one spot to another, without leaving a trail. That is the purpose of “clean margins.” You are supposed to trust that your friendly neighborhood melanoma will leave a trail so you can follow along. “Skipping” is not fair play.
Either I still have cancer or I don’t. I stare blankly at you as I acknowledge that I have been ignorantly walking around with some form of cancer for possibly years now. I suppose that’s how it works.
Feel that swirling? Those are my expectations, slipping around in my controlling grip.
It is the sense that I am one afterthought decision away from being sick or not that loosens my footing. It doesn’t seem as though life should be allowed to be so precarious.
If I hadn’t mentioned the lump on my arm, I wouldn’t have gone in to the dermatologist.
If I hadn’t remembered a comment about the spot on my stomach, I never would have showed any spots to the dermatologist.
If I had allowed my dermatologist to do the second excision on my back, we still wouldn’t have removed the second malignant melanoma. Or even discovered it.
Someone is giving me far too much responsibility to make the right decisions. I suspect I am overreacting. Logic scoffs. My mind can’t catch traction on this oily surface.
Swirl swirl swirl.