Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Time to get a grip

I could write a book on not making a mountain out of a molehill, but while I am having a serving of cliches with my morning cup of coffee, I must say that when push comes to shove I am not always good at keeping catastrophic thoughts at bay.

Combine my natural tendencies with too much knowledge about the possibility of secondary cancers, and this is what you get. I have been having some GI problems and had already diagnosed myself with colon cancer or stomach cancer when I yesterday I completed the second of two tests my doctor had ordered. It turns out to not be too much of anything except a little Graft vs. Host Disease, and the treatment is the same as for my GVHD of the liver, which is to continue the low dose (2 mgs.) of prednisone that I take daily.

So far, so good, except that a short trip to Boston turned into a 12-hour day with me leaving home about 8:30 a.m. and getting back at 8:30 p.m.

I had called Dr. Lin's office to see if she could look at a spot on my arm on the same day, but when I didn't hear back I headed back home. About 2 p.m. as I drove past her office on Boylston Street, her office manager, Bernarda, called and said she could get me in at about 4:15. I have been worrying over this spot, which looks a little different than my squamous cells cancers, and in my rational mind I thought it was nothing or another squamous cell, and in my crazy mind I thought it was a melanoma.

It turned out to be either a keratoacanthoma, a non-invasive lesion that can look like squamous cell carcinoma, or maybe a squamous cell, but since it is hard to tell the difference, the treatment is usually to remove it. I was going to put a link, but they all come with magnified photos that are really gross.

I had the choice of just getting a piece grazed off to be sent for pathology, in which case I could play tennis but might have to return to get it removed, or just getting it excised (and still sent for pathology). I chose the latter just to get it done with and now have five stitches in my right arm.

As I sat at my computer canceling tennis for the next two weeks (including Judy Dixon's one-day immersion tennis camp, which I had forgotten about), I could hear my father's lament when he put up the flag on the fourth of July and said, "The summer's almost over!" I think he was already counting down to the end of his beloved outdoor tennis season. My mother would always shake her head.

Like father, like daughter, I thought, "The season's so short, and I just took two weeks out of it!"

Time to get a grip, and I don't mean the grip on my racquet. That immersion camp probably would have been too much for me anyway.

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