Background Checks


I got the name of the doctor who will be doing my surgery. It’s an impressive resume.

Given that he’s a teaching doctor with many publications to his name, I get the sense that he will be far more concerned about the physiology and chemistry and biology than me as a human being. Which is more than fine by me. I’d rather be worked on my someone who geeks out over cancer than someone who is worried about making me feel better.

I’m sure he wants to make me feel better but that’s not really my priority right now.


Give and take



A week has passed and I’m feeling better. Nothing’s changed but I’ve managed to digest the word a bit better.

I went in to have a full skin check done and even the freckles and bumps I was concerned about were of no concern to my doctor. That’s good news.

She said I’d end up with a vertical scar on my face and it would be kind of a like a little face lift. I’m not sure how I feel about a one-sided face lift but I’d rather have that than the alternative.

She told me that chances were 99.9% that they would remove the cancer and it would never be a problem. And then she said I had a surgery appointment for 5 weeks from now but she wanted it done in the next couple of weeks.

I’m not close to tears all the time anymore. It’s still scary but I’m good.

How do you tell people

I haven’t told anyone yet, just my spouse.

How do you tell your parents? Your siblings? Do you tell your friends?

Do you want everyone saying, “Oh, it’s ok. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”  Oh, like you know? Have you looked up cancer in the dictionary? “Oh but your cancer is an easy one treat.”  Fine, you tell my cancer it’s easy to treat. What will you say to me if it comes back? That it’s still easy to treat?

Do you tell your friends at work? What if HR finds out? What if they need to downsize and figure they need to get rid of your potential high cost? Or if they decided you need more personal time so you’re the best choice? What if you’re the family breadwinner and you need that job?

I know it’s illegal to fire someone because of a medical diagnosis. Companies know it too. But downsizing isn’t illegal. It’s just unfortunate you’re part of it.

I would like to tell me colleagues but the rest of it makes me nervous.

It’s not that bad

Ok, I’m feeling a little better now. The initial blow has mostly passed.

I wonder if I’m over-reacting. But then, how can you over-react to cancer? Cancer doesn’t care what kind it is, how big or small it is. It does its thing whether you worry or not. Yeah, some are worse than others but do you can’t know about yours until the doctors have done their thing.

Now I wait for the doctors to do their thing.

Why Me?

Stupid question. It’s called random chance. It happens to tons of people and this time it’s me.

What pisses me off is I wear wide brim hats all the time. I won’t go out for the day without one. I have about five different ones to choose from and all are well used.

I also wear sunscreen. I’ve been wearing 60 spf since they only made it for babies. So I bought baby sunscreen. Now they make big girl sunscreen with 60 spf. I guess it’s now cool for adults to care about skin cancer.

Why me? Why not me.

Day 3: It’s still on my face

I didn’t have cancer dreams last night. I guess that’s good.

If you’re wondering about the title of this blog, I’ll tell you. A few weeks ago, I went to have the large freckle on my face checked by a dermatologist. I wondered about the other people coming to see this dermatologist. Who in the waiting room was sitting here out of vanity or necessity?

Rather than send me directly to a surgeon who might be overly zealous, she cut out a small piece herself to send for testing. She put in one tiny stitch. 

I had to travel the next day so I got a huge kick out of saying I’d hidden drugs in my face. You know, just like on TV where they hide drugs in animals or in some women’s implants. I had fun thinking about hiding a pound of cocaine in my face and airport security would never know.

Not so funny now I guess.

Still Dazed


It’s day two.

I call my doctor and ask when the surgery will be. She says it all depends on the priorities at the hospital. I tell her I understand she doesn’t know but I’m curious whether we’re talking weeks or months. She says “Oh, definitely weeks not months. I put a rush on yours.”

Thanks. That makes me feel better. Putting a rush on something is usually a good thing. This time it just means things are worse than I hoped.

I ask if I should go in to have the rest of my many freckles checked. She says she only has an appointment in the middle of the day. She apologizes for disrupting my workday but she’s doing her best to fit me into a fully booked day. Yeah, cancer is doing a better job of disrupting my workday. I’ll take 11:30, thank you very much.

They ask me whether I’d like to go to Women’s College Hospital or Sunnybrook. That’s easy. Which hospital will get this cancer off my face. Now.

It’s still quiet at home. I don’t know what to say. If I say anything, I’ll just cry.

Happy Melanoma Monday!



It’s Lentigo Maligna. That’s what Julia said. She also told me today is Melanoma Monday so I’ll probably be hearing about cancer a lot today. I write the words down but they’re barely legible. Cancer. That makes me cry right now and I don’t even know what it really means.

I sit in the conference room where I’ve taken the phone call and cry some more, hoping my colleagues won’t turn around and ask what’s wrong. I wonder who to talk to. Should I call my husband? I don’t want him worrying all day at work.

When I get home, i hand the piece of paper to my husband. He has no clue what to say and so tries his best with a little humour. “Are you telling me we have to plan a funeral now?” That joke bombed.

We don’t talk the rest of the evening. I can’t or I’ll cry.