My squamous cell radar regarding my skin, like my parking radar in New York, continues to be accurate.
Before I went to Faulkner Hospital on Monday for the Mohs consult about the spot on my right jawbone, Ellen, the physician's assistant at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center, said she didn't like a raised flaky spot on my cheek. I had noticed a spot at the top of my nose, right where you might put your pointer finger if you were deep in thought, and felt that the flakiness there might signal a problem.
These are not the kind of signs usually associated with skin cancer. But upon looking into it, I saw that the Mayo clinic described the signs of a squamous cell cancer this way: "a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface." The signs of basal cell cancer and melanoma are different.
So when I had my appointment I pointed out the two new spots. The dermatologist wasn't worried about Ellen's spot, which will be taken care of by my upcoming face fry, or photodynamic therapy, but she did biopsy "my" spot. When I got the biopsy report during the week, I learned it was what I suspected. Luckily these have all been in situ – on the skin. I got a message saying that I could either apply the chemotherapy cream I already have or wait to get it frozen when I return for the Mohs. I am applying the cream.
Do you remember Kenny?
The driver who stopped late at night so the other passenger could get her diabetes medicine? Do you remember the kerfuffle that ensued? Well, wouldn't you know it, another problem occurred on my way home, exacerbated by the pain in the biopsied spot as the numbing medicine wore off. When his dispatcher called to tell him to pick up a patient in Worcester and bring her home to Springfield, I heard him say that his passenger (me) wouldn't like it and he was going to have to listen to me yelling all the way home.
I said I wasn't going to yell but since the last time we had driven all the way to East Springfield AND stopped for the medicine would he get off at Exit 7 and take me home first because I was in pain. He said why would he do that because he lives in Chicopee and it was more convenient for him to go to Springfield first and then to South Hadley.
Oh and did I mention that previously he had been talking on his (hand held) phone and telling a friend that he was annoyed that he had to lock his gun in his glove compartment?
He said he was the driver and the order of dropping off was up to him and I had to EARN the right to say when I wanted to get dropped off and so on and so forth in a continuing rant.
You are probably thinking don't get into it with these drivers, but he was taunting me and I got hysterical like the last time I was in the car with him. We took our detour through Worcester. The woman who he picked up at a hospital got in the front seat. When she heard me sniffling, she asked, "You all right, honey"?
Apparently she had had her own problems with MART after waiting for hours and hours to get picked up. When I told her that I really needed to get home, she said she had been waiting so long that she didn't care if she waited a little longer so he should go ahead and drop me off first.
Kenny turned around and said, "See"?
I got over myself after she started telling me about her own problems. Her hospital visit didn't sound serious – aspiration of what sounded like a non-cancerous cyst – but her health history was.
She said she was a recovered crack cocaine addict and alcoholic. She said Worcester was a drug haven and she had to get out of there but she still went back for medical care.
It dawned on me that she was the same woman who had demanded we stop for her medicine. I hadn't seen her that well in the dark, but the pieces began to add up. She must have been having a really bad night because on Monday she was a different person.
She said she had neuropathy in her feet (due to diabetes). I said I had it from chemo. We found that we both take gabapentin and that nothing totally makes the pins and needles go away. Hers sounds worse. We showed each other photos of our children. Then, it being the day before Super Tuesday, she brought up the election.
"I'm going to vote for my Hillary," she said. All of her people in Georgia were going to also.
She said that while George Bush was flying over New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Bill and Hillary were there taking care of the babies. She doesn't like Hillary as much as she liked Bill, but, she said, "He has her back."
You can find solidarity in the most unlikely places.
People ask why I continue to take these rides. The answer is that some of drivers are fine, and the cost/benefit ratio still weighs in favor of the benefit of not having to do the driving myself.
I am going to call the company and say I will not get in a car again with Kenny.
And I'm going to drive myself the next two times anyway since I have a double-header on both ECP weeks.
This week I'm staying at Margaret's on Wednesday because I have my regular check-up with Dr. Alyea on Thursday. Next week I'll stay at Diane's Tuesday night because I have the Mohs that day and ECP the next day.
I'm lucky to have my sister and my sister/friend so close to Dana-Farber!