Saturday, October 27, 2012

Because Most Days, I Just Wish I Didn't Have to Know

It’s been almost 4 months since my diagnosis. As I mentioned before, when I heard the word melanoma, I knew very little about it. I read the pamphlet given to me by my doctor and decided against doing too much research via the Internet after my initial search terrified me.  I am an over-thinker.  Always have been. I struggle to understand why things happen and why people do what they do. A friend once told me, “Some things are not meant to be understood.” I thanked her for her “insight” and came to the conclusion that she was just too lazy to think critically.  When I don’t have an answer, my mind decides on one it feels best fits. Because I NEED an answer, even if it isn’t the real one. 

The more I read about this awful disease, the more paralyzed I became. I decided my mind didn’t need any extra “material.” My imagination can come up with worst-case scenarios all on its own.

So I tried to read mostly educational information and not many personal stories because honestly, they were all too said. I read a fellow warrior’s blog discussing how as a melanoma survivor  you are never determined “cancer free.” You are just described as “No evidence of disease.” Then she went on to say she wouldn’t worry about getting any more scans, because there was nothing they could do to help her anyway. I am not judging her. I wish her the best on her journey. She knows what is best for her, and I , too, know what is best for me. But I couldn’t, no I wouldn’t allow myself to be exposed to anything that was not going to equip me with all the strength, faith, and perseverance  I needed to fight this awful beast.  Therefore, I am still learning a LOT about this disease, but I am not waiting until I know it all before I share what I learn with you.  

 I hope you don’t mind.

Two nights ago, as I was writing about meeting my doctors, I grabbed my copy of the pathology reports from my first excision when they found “abnormal” cells. I wanted to make sure I remembered the depth of the melanoma cells. When I read it, I noticed something that never really stuck with me before- the two words nodular type

So I did a search on Nodular melanoma and came across a great description of all four types of melanoma.This is what I read.

Nodular melanoma (NM) is the most aggressive type of melanoma and accounts for about 15% of all melanomas diagnosed in the United States. It can appear anywhere on the body and occurs more often in males than females. It can develop at any age; however, it is most often seen in people aged 60 and older.

NM differs from other types of melanoma in three ways:
·  Tends to grow more rapidly in thickness (penetrate the skin) than in diameter
·  May not have a readily visible phase of development
·  Instead of arising from a pre-existing mole, it may appear in a spot where a lesion did not previously exist
Since NM tends to grow deeper more quickly than it does wide and can occur in a spot that did not have a previous lesion, the prognosis is often worse because it takes longer for a person to be aware of the changes.

The first thing I thought was how in the hell did I end up with the most common melanoma of senior citizen males? 


After I laughed at myself, I kept reading and that sick, stomach churning fear began to sink in my gut- grows more rapidly in thickness, prognosis is often worse.  This is usually when I “log off” and “shut down” my laptop and my mind. It’s words like that which scare me from writing this blog and promoting awareness. 
 Because most days, I just wish I didn’t have to know.

But after spending all of my life convinced that ignorance doesn’t solve anything, I figured it would be too difficult to change my opinion now. So I must go on.  I have to go on learning about something I never wanted to know about, searching my body in fear of finding something I never wanted to find, and doing all I can to train my body to fight something I never wanted to fight.  

There are definitely a lot of things in life that suck, but there is so much more worth fighting for.

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