Wednesday, April 9, 2008

wake-up call

After a particularly exhausting trip on the walking trails last night, I tucked Coop in bed and hit the bath tub. Flipping through my just-arrived copy of the May issue of Glamour, one article immediately caught my eye. The headline? “The Two-Minute Cancer Test.”

It was a follow-up to a skin cancer piece that had caught my attention last year. Being the sun-loving, fair-skinned, mole-dotted gal that I am, skin cancer has always been on my radar. But with my mom’s diagnosis of malignant melanoma in January, that radar is off the charts.

The Glamour piece shared the story of one reader who, at 29, had lost her battle with skin cancer. Sitting in the bath tub, reading about her journey — and thinking of my mom’s — hot tears streamed down my face. The article revealed that some 26,000 women were diagnosed with melanoma in 2007, up from 16,000 in 1999.

I immediately called my mom. I peppered her with the same questions I’d asked several times before: How are you feeling? What is your prognosis? Is genetics a factor?

Her answers were the same: tired. good. yes.

Until my mom’s diagnosis, I had always flippantly said to anyone who dared question my worship of the tanning bed, “Seems like everyone gets some kind of cancer. I choose skin.”

I grimace now at my shallowness and utter lack of respect for something so serious.

I was an idiot.

I’ve had several “suspect” moles on my back for years and I’m finally going to get them checked. And all it took was a couple of telling articles and a scare-the-shit-out-of-you diagnosis. I hope others aren’t as stupid as I have been.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

ummm, I knew you had been crying when you called, but I pretended not to notice--because then you would have been more upset. Remember, it's ok to agonize over things you can DO something about...it is a total waste of precious energy and time to agonize over things you cannot control...so, to recap--Leave it with the Lord, we have had many slumber parties the past months and I have to say--they have been awesome!! So get the the moles checked and tie up those tennies, you have some walking to do for those babies!!!!! YeeHaw
love melanoma mimi

Leigh said...

We all have to learn some lessons the hard way . . . it is part of life and part of "growing up."

I'm glad to hear you're going to get those moles checked; I have a great dermatologist if you need a recommendation. I get annual check-ups with her to get some expert opinion on how my skin is progressing and changes as each year passes. I, too, used to care far less about sunscreen and spent way too much time in the tanning salon.

Hugs,
~Leigh