Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Another waterlily from my backyard stock tank. A lotus, symbol of enlightenment, peace, and new beginnings--as loaded with symbolism in the East as roses are in the West.
The C Word
At the chiropractor's today I noticed a mole on my back. I was changing into my gown and the room had a mirror in it (why do rooms like that always have mirrors? For people with body issues, it makes the whole thing so much harder) and of course I couldn't resist taking a look--and this mole, which has been happily living on my back for as long as I can remember, has suddenly gotten bigger. It has a mottled look at the center, too--a lot like the pictures of stage I melanoma I remember from "The General Practitioner's Guide to Dermatopathology" while I which I read quite often while I was working for a doctor two summers ago. I would take it and read it on my lunch break. Sick, I know, but interesting...vitiligo, coup de sabre, eczema, contact dermatitis... and in my own defense, it was more interesting than the few other books in the room where I worked, among them "ICD-9 Coding Guidelines" and "Business Education in Graduate Medical Curricula."
So. The mole. I'm going to have it checked out as soon as possible...I plan on phoning all the dermatologists on my insurance plan tomorrow, and seeing who can get me in before I leave for school. At least for a preliminary check, and (if necessary, God forbid) for a biopsy or removal. I know from working in the doctor's office that a skin biopsy can be done with a little circular blade that works a lot like the hole-punch you used to make confetti when you were a kid. It's called a punch biopsy, in fact. I've seen it done, and the whole thing took ten minutes from start to finish, from prepping the skin to stitching up the hole--the majority of that time is spend waiting for the local anesthesia to kick in. That's the amazing thing about early skin cancer--you can just go in, get a shot of lidocaine, and have them cut it out right there. And that's it--no metastasizing, no chemo, no anything. Just a few stitches, SPF 30 sunblock, and a small scar to remind you that you are indeed a lucky person. Not to romanticize it, not at all...but to think that something like cancer could be dealt with so quickly and easily--that the contagion, the disease, could be cut out just like that...incredible. If only it were always that easy. But then again, if every infirmity of body or mind could be cut out just like that, wouldn't life be hole-y rather than holy? Without resistance to struggle against, how would people become stronger? If I could have my depression and anorexia just dissected out of my brain, would I do it? Should I? How important are means relative to ends..?