Friday, February 3, 2012

Dear 16-year-old me

I came across a video on Facebook tonight that made me stop and reflect on life a bit.

To be honest, its something I don't think about often. I don't even think of myself as a cancer survivor. Yet in 2010, the month of December felt like it could have been 3 years long.

That was the month I went in to have a mole that was bothering me checked out. The time the doctor told me it was fine and nothing to worry about. The time I knew my body well enough to say that's fine, but can you remove it anyway: at least then I'll stop fretting over it. That was the time the doctor called me back and asked to see me right away; it was the time I saw the doctor in an hour though last time I had to wait over a week to see him. This is what led to the time I had surgery to have the rest of the malignant melanoma removed from my face.

December 2010 was other things too: the time I realized how lucky I was to have great family to support me while I lived in another country and went through one of the scariest and most unexpected things of my life. The time I laid awake, alone and claustrophobic for two hours during a surgical procedure because I did not have the money for the procedure that should have been done in a proper OR under general anesthesia.

December 2010 ended with the time the lab results came back and lifted a burden that took a while to set in:
This was the time I was fortunate enough to catch it early so that once my surgery was done, I did not have to go back for chemo or radiation. The time I knew I was going to be okay, and I got to walk away once my wounds healed.

I don't think about this often, but this is who I am. I would not be where I am today, who I am today, or alive as I am today if my doctor had not been able to say to me, "we caught it early."

Watch this video. Check your skin. and for heaven's sake: use sunscreen.
Dear 16-year-old me: you'll be 26...

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