Remember when I said Monday sucked? Well, now I think I can tell the Internet more about that. Last week I had that tiny freckle taken off the bottom of my foot (I wrote about it here).
Monday the doctor called first thing in the morning to check up on me. I was so happy that he called, "how sweet!" I thought. As he started talking I started getting more and more nervous.
Doc: Anna, we got the pathology report back this morning.
Me: Oh, cool! (totally thinking things are fine)
Doc: The verdict is malignant melanoma, but it's just Clark's Level 2.
Me: Uhhhh, huh?
Doc: And I looked it up and the 15-year survival rate for that is 98%-100%
Me: ... Oh (seriously getting disappointed).
Doc: So we'll get you a referral over to Billings. They'll need to take more skin for testing.
Me: .... mmm.
The conversation with my mom went ok later that day.
Me: Mom, it's malignant melanoma.
Mom: Does that mean cancer?
No. Tell her no. Say NO.
Mom: Should I be worried.
Yes, because I'm freaking out.
Me: No. Let's agree not to worry. I won't worry; you won't worry.
The flurry of internet research followed, including this site from the American Academy of Dermatology that says exactly what Melanoma is, what it looks like (mine looked the most like the example for unusual color), and what standard treatment options are. The American Cancer Society has a GREAT website with great stories about cancer survivors. Some made me cry, but most helped me feel a LOT better.
Also, Wikipedia has the best information about what the different stages are, and you can see there that the Clark Level 2 is actually nothing to worry about. All this information has really helped me. I have another operation scheduled for this coming Thursday where they'll take out 1cm of skin to make sure all the bad cells are gone.
What can you do? Three steps.
1. Check your freckles!! When in doubt, check it out. Call your doctor RIGHT AWAY for an appointment if anything looks different.
2. Say a quick prayer for me: I really believe in the power of positive thoughts/prayers.
3. Get on with your day: enjoy today. Don't let yourself worry about things too much. Find something you love to do, and do it.