Nevo Melanocitico Compuesto
Translated: Melanocytic Compound Nevus or, in laymans terms, scary looking moles that were removed from each of my big toes and had me wondering if I was going to have cancer.
Yep…not exactly the way you want to ring in your 38th birthday.
A local dermatology clinic had a free cancer screening day and I figured I would take the opportunity to get a few moles looked at. I'd noticed 2 new asymmetrical moles in between my toes about 16 – 18 months ago and there was a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to get them looked at. I was a bit nervous just going to the screening, but the whole event was done very professionally.
She checked out several moles (even told me one I've had on my hand since childhood was beautiful and asked if she could take a photo of it). Apparently, healthy moles have a cobblestone appearance under magnification. Moles that are a bit concerning do not and have an uneven edge and tend to be mottled.
Of course, the ones on my toes were mottled, had uneven edges and needed to be biopsied. So the following Wednesday, the whole family jumped on a bus and we all went for the removal. My oldest 3 girls wanted to be with me. My oldest 2 were totally fine, maybe TOO fine, seeing the 2 chunks removed from my toes. Our 3rd, well, she did better than I did, but she did not look.
I got a total of 5 novocain shots, 3 stitches in one toe and 2 stitches in the other. Both extractions were fairly deep, but I didn't feel a thing…until the novocain wore off. I have always been very squeamish and nearly passed out twice after the procedure.
Total cost? $2400 MXN pesos, or about $185 USD for both toes. Plus about $30 for antibiotics and some Tylenol.
For 2 weeks, I have pretty much kept my feet propped up and stayed inside. I tried to keep myself off the skin cancer sites, which is easier said than done for someone whose mind tends to run amuck when it comes to life/death/missing persons type situations. (I don't know if I ever blogged about the time when I was supposed to meet the Pilot at a mall in San Jose, Costa Rica and only I had a cell phone and he didn't appear until about 45 minutes AFTER our set meeting time. I knew he was beaten up, left for dead on the side of the road and I was going to have to tell our 5 children. Yes, THAT, unfortunately is how my mind works at times.)
So, yesterday, I went to get the stitches removed (um, OUCH!!! It really hurt…about equivalent to my novocain shots and everyone knows they are some of the most painful shots. Period.) and get the results. No cancer. Just funky moles caused by heredity. The doctor said I may still have residual pain for the next 2 months due to nerves being cut during the biopsy, but I should be able to walk with full weight on my feet VERY soon.
The funny part about the whole thing was, when I thought there was a chance I had cancer and that maybe I'd let the moles stay on me for too long and that I wasn't going to have much longer on this earth, I thought about what I would do if I was given 5 years to live.
You know what? Most people would have a long laundry list of things they'd want to see or do or places to go, but mine wasn't. I gazed forward and saw exactly what I wanted. Spending time with the people who are the most important to me (my husband and children) and living in some amazing places and traveling. I did wonder who would take over our magazine (Real Family Travel Magazine), but it was an amazing feeling thinking I might be very close to death and have no regrets.
If you were faced with only 5 years to live, would YOU change anything?