However, I could not rid my mind of this lil' chant today.
In my quest to be more pro-active about my health, I went to a Dermatologist to have a Mole Check. I had been advised to do so several times when I had my yearly exam but never did. Shortly before Relay this year, I began to feel a bit guilty... maybe ashamed is a better word. Here I was stepping into a position with Relay for Life to be one of the "faces" of our local committee, as well as working with the high school kids to raise money for ACS, and I wasn't practicing basic life-saving cancer screening.
So, today I did.
I remember in my early twenties counting how many moles I had and the number was in the thirties. I remember years later counting again and the numbers were in the high sixties. Now, it would not even be feasible to count how many there are. In part, because there is such confusion between what is a mole and what is a freckle.
When I think of "mole," I think of the large hairy appendages dangling from a cartoon witch's chin.
And, when I think of "freckle," I think of cute red-headed kids.
Pippi Longstocking! Do you remember Pippi? Oh, how I loved that rambunctious lil' tomboy!
But, what about all those other markings that are neither?
Are they freckles or are they moles? Can a freckle become a mole? Do all moles have the potential to be dangerous?
Seriously, why hadn't I gone to the Dermatologist before? Both the older boys had seen Dr. Buckley- for moles(!)(oh how we mothers take care of our children, and not ourselves!), warts, and acne- so I was comfortable with him and the office.
Although, as I waiting, I did think it was rather intimidating to keep this big red (but transparent!) jug FULL of used needles right there in the room. For me to look at. While I waited. I guess I am more used to being at the Pediatrician's where they don't exactly display the needles so kids start crying long before they have to get a shot.
What they did have was this thing though...
Which takes your blood pressure on your WRIST! It was awesome. I abhor having my blood pressure taken. I don't know if it's because I'm overweight that the nurse always feels the need to crank that arm cuff to tourniquet level despite having a history of good bp readings, but I am always moments from ripping the the thing off before she starts letting air out of it.
Anyway... the doc checked me over, told me that the two blips (because mole is such an ugly word) on my nose were of no concern, and referred to most of what was on my back and shoulders as "sun freckles." He did, however, want to remove one from my back to send for a biopsy. I know this is standard procedure so I wasn't too freaked out by it. However, my zen-breathing techniques (as opposed to calling it frantic hyperventilating) had him concerned that I wasn't "ready" for this today. Well, I don't know that I would ever be "ready" for a razor blade to slice a piece of flesh off my back... I just hadn't come to the appointment thinking I would be leaving with a little less skin than I arrived with.
But I did. The only thing I felt was a little burning from the numbing injection. (After which I had the recurring thought that I do following all shots... I could totally get a tattoo... with a lil' zen-breathing.) And I have a one-inch circle band-aid protecting the battle wound, trooper that I am.
I almost asked to see the hacked off little piece of flesh in the lab cup.