The other C word

No, not that one, the other one: Cancer. It’s the word none of us want to hear and we even whisper it in hushed tones so as not to “invite it” to us. At least that’s what I did.

I wasn’t going to write about this until after my minor surgery correcting the fact that I have basal cell carcinoma. But I want to share it now because it rattled me, and I don’t like that it did.

When John and I were in Glasgow staying at the very nice Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor (love that hotel) this last May, he noticed a spot on my back and jokingly told me I had cancer.

I laughed too but then he got a bit serious and took a picture of it.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

It looked like a few of my dots had connected and there was a red blotch between them. It also itched a bit. But…we were on vacation and I wasn’t about to let a blotch botch things up for us.

As soon as we got back home, I made an appointment with my primary doctor to have a look at it, and a few other things that were a nuisance for me too. I’m not one to go to the doctor when there’s just one thing to look at. That would somehow be a waste of time.

She looked me over and told me the lumps on my fingers were just ganglion cysts (okay just the sound of that is weird), but they were harmless. When she looked at the spot on my back, she told me I needed to see a dermatologist, and recommended one.

That was in May.

I called to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist and the soonest I could get in was August. Three months later. I laughed and told the receptionist, “good thing it’s not cancer!” She chuckled too.

I finally got in to see Dr. Berry on August 21, and I was happy to get it over with. I knew it was nothing to be concerned about and she’d just remove it and I’d be on my way. She looked me over from head to toe with a lighted, sort of magnifying glass.

Then she looked at my spot.

She told me that yes, she would need to remove it and send it off for a biopsy. No big deal. I used Sansum clinics and I can access all of my medical records online. I really like that and told her to just send the results there.

I’ll take a selfie just about anywhere 😉

That was on a Tuesday.

On Thursday evening, John and I were walking to dinner and I wondered aloud when I would get my test results back. Then I also said that it didn’t matter because I don’t “do cancer”.

John agreed.

That night I received an email stating my test results were in my file. I logged into my account and proudly read, out loud:

“Hello Ms. Gavin,

Your biopsy was consistent with a basal cell skin cancer and requires further treatment.

My recommendation would be an electrodesiccation and curettage procedure which is the least invasive way to treat it.

Please give us a call to get you scheduled…”

I stumbled over the words thinking I was reading them wrong. Wait, what?

I know it’s really nothing, and can be easily treated, but I was so surprised. It choked me up a bit and I thought, “I don’t do cancer!” My brain was telling me it wasn’t a big deal, but I was still afraid.

Afraid of what?

The C word is a scary one. We hear about people who experience radical surgeries, pain and even death associated with cancer. That word scares us. At least it does me.

The good news is this is fixable. It is not as bad as melanoma and Dr. Berry will remove it and burn it and do whatever it takes to eliminate it from my body.

I’m thankful that my husband checks me out (in more ways than one), and that we live in a time when these things can be fixed.

So, go get your skin checked and try not to fear the C word.

Reader Comments

  1. Cindy Scurry

    I get checked annually by the Dermotologist – have for about 20 years. My mother was very fair and had lots of basil cell skin cancer removed. I was always out in the sun growing up (and have lots of spots to show for that), so I know how important it is to get checked. I’m glad you are on top of it. Sunscreen was never something we did as youngsters but I don’t go without it now!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Wow, thank you for sharing your Mom’s story too. I know I will have to be checked every six months now. 🙁 But… that’s okay. As you said, we didn’t “do” sunscreen as teenagers! I have for many years now though.

  2. Sherry

    I recently went to see my dermatologist about a mole I was concerned about on my chest. It turns out that was nothing, but she found a very suspicious mole on my back. She removed it on my next visit and sent it off for a biopsy. I was lucky as the biopsy turned out normal. The Doctor was shocked as she thought for sure the results would be abnormal. I have had melanoma before, so I’m quite religious at applying a strong SPF and I no longer bake in the sun. It’s so important for us to get regular checkups, as many of us grew up not applying sunscreen. Thanks for sharing. Good luck with your op!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Sherry, thank you for sharing your story too. It is important. I’m so lucky my husband noticed this spot on my back. I may not have for years.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      It is, as you know too well. I’m so thankful John noticed this spot on my back. And….I’m glad I don’t have any on my face. Thanks Jodie. Xx

  3. Lana

    I’m sorry you’re going through this Loretta. Any cancer is scary, no matter how treatable it is. There is a history of melanoma on both sides of my family, so I’ve been getting skin checks for years. I’ve had lots of things removed but so far they’ve always been pre-cancerous. My brother, however, has had quite a few basel cell spots that have all been removed successfully. Glad your husband found this early & it will be a memory in no time!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Lana…you know, all too well, what it is like. This was my very first full body check, so not bad that I made it to 59 before there was an issue! Thank goodness we have this option these days. Take care!

  4. Rebecca Phillips

    Been there and done this on my left cheek. Only they are pre-cancerous and love to grow. Am on a topical regimen and cryosurgery once a year. We should talk. I am pretty good at managing this game.

  5. Julie Augustyn

    Loretta, I’ve never been checked but keep thinking my husband and I should go. I know exactly how you felt to get that message as it felt like a gut punch when my husband was told he had pancreatic cancer. Cancer is something I never thought would happen to us – like everyone I’m sure! We were pleased to discover it early but what a journey that year was for us!

    Praying you have a good outcome and caught it early enough! Hugs!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Julie. Wow, you have been through the wringer on some things. At least this is fixable, right? Glad your hubby is well and kicked cancer’s butt!!

  6. Kim Cook

    Wow. So glad you are getting this taken care of. I had one on my thigh many years ago. They just numbed my leg and cut it out. I have a couple of spots on my face that they are watching but nothing yet. Thanks for sharing. I will be calling my dermatologist for an appointment!


    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Kim, thank you. It is important to get checked. This was my very first full check – I’ll be going every 6 months now.

  7. Dee | Grammy's Grid

    Better to always have it checked out as soon as possible. I’ve had a couple of places on my face and back but all were ok thank goodness! Thank you Loretta for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty 30! Shared x 3 ♥

  8. Amy Kennedy

    Wow, such a great post! I have to get my “spots” looked at every year. I have several on my back. The doc thus far has said they were all fine, one was biopsied and came back fine. But every year my regular doc sends me to a specialist to have them looked at. And I always have that little fear.

  9. Leslie Clingan

    So glad you had this place checked out. I made an appointment to get a referral for a full-body scan and got so busy visiting with my doctor that she forgot to write the authorization and I forgot to ask. Have to get this done. Your post is proof!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I didn’t realize just how important it was to get this done, Leslie. So glad I did. Get that authorization!

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