Sunday, July 24, 2011

Passing Death By

A good friend was recently diagnosed with melanoma -- a lesion on his arm. I know how that feels.

Your first reaction is one of disbelief and fear. You want it removed completely and immediately. And you wonder how many more could be lurking on your body.

This encounter with melanoma is like rubbing shoulders with death as he passes by. You know if left untreated even the smallest malignant dark spot will eventually kill you.

My friend had surgery on Thursday -- the one carving out a huge piece of skin that had been surrounding the offending lesion. I’m staring at my own inner knee right now, where a tiny dark mole smaller than a pencil eraser resulted in a 2-inch incision.

After 4 such encounters, I have changed from being fearful to being vigilant. I share my own watchfulness with two doctors who are among the best in the country in spotting and removing such skin cancers.

I haven’t had one of these for at least 5 years now. My doctor at the National Melanoma Center says they often come in a wave and then never appear again. I hope that is the case.

I hope in my friend’s case that this will be a lone occurrence. One brush with death is quite enough.


Blogger e said...

You were very lucky as I hope your friend will be. I've unfortunately known people who have died from melanoma.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

E -- A woman I used to work with died of an internal melanoma, a form not detectable until it was too late. Fortunately most people survive.

Almost everyone who gets skin cancer understands the cause was exposure to the sun sometimes decades before. We have learned a lot about this deadly form of cancer. Hopefully one day there will be a vaccination and/or a cure.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Having had two lesions removed, I share your vigilance. I suffered many a sunburn when I was young and am super careful now.

9:21 AM  

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