Fair Skinned, Freckles and a Red Head

In the Easter holidays I had a mole removed from my back. Not for the first time. No-one was particularly worried. Not my GP, nor the consultant at the hospital. I was told I would get a letter in about 6 weeks with my results. Fine. Sorted. Finished.

Fast forward to 14 days later (the day the stitches came out) and I get a phone call out of the blue saying could I come to the hospital TOMORROW at midday to discuss my results?

So now what? Do you:

  1. Cry (on your poor unsuspecting friend who is visiting)?
  2. Panic?
  3. Phone your Mum?
  4. Phone your husband?
  5. Think that you have cancer?

I did all of the above although not in that particular order.

Then followed 18 hrs of mental torture with this never-ending cycle of thoughts ranging from the bleakest through to the embarrassingly hopeful:

  1. It must be really aggressive to have got the results so quickly.
  2. Maybe the results are inconclusive?
  3. Imagine me without hair.
  4. Think how much you love your children and how you must treasure every minute with them and not get cross and shout at them.
  5. Can I be as strong as I need to be?
  6. The mole has gone – it will be fine.
  7. How will we manage without me working?
  8. Why me and my family again?
  9. I was just getting everything sorted.
  10. What about my children – what will happen to them now both parents have had skin cancer?
  11. It must have spread.
  12. I don’t feel ill?
  13. Should I make an appointment with my GP ready for when the stress got on top of me and the depression hit?
  14. I HAVE CANCER!

I slept quite well that night. Surprisingly.

As I do I hid on the morning of the appointment. Didn’t drop the children off at school and cancelled running with a friend. I couldn’t cope with people and having to put on a show. I was far too tearful. Even a fairly innocuous text from my friend made me cry!

So I went for a run. On my own. Out in the middle of nowhere. As far away from people as possible. Into the countryside. Loved it. Felt strong. Felt alive.

As I headed back towards home I felt everything closing in on me. The pressure, the stress, the unknown, the worry.

Once showered I chose to wear clothes that I felt nice in. Not sure why really. Suppose I needed the boost.

On the way to the hospital I was remarkably calm. My friend had made sure that I had plenty of ‘easy’ knitting to do whilst waiting. (Bless her, she is the BEST) Even so I was very serene. No sweaty palms and most amazingly of all, I could concentrate on the knitting. My husband was not so lucky. He had been through it before and needed to know the details. I was a bit naive, expecting it to be terrible or ok-ish. He knew more.

Of course we had to wait a fair while but, for me that was fine. When we were finally called the consultant was lovely. She confirmed that yes it was melanoma, (a surprise to even her!) but that it was ‘the best sort’. It was mainly on the surface and had not started to go any deeper so really this was the start – and the end!

So there we are:

the best bad news you can have!

Joanne Scrace

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38 thoughts on “Fair Skinned, Freckles and a Red Head

  1. Angie Gerrard

    I can sympathise, I have secondary breast cancer and went through a similar time, although my bad news was not as good as yours, this all happened 18 months ago and I am now going through my second lot of chemotherapy and my second round of hair loss, unfortunately removal of the cancer is currently not on the cards for me, although I am hopeful that maybe one day it will be. I thought losing my hair would be easier the second time, but my beautiful daughter is getting married in October and it looks like I won’t have my crowning glory as motb, I am only 42 and was only 40 when diagnosed. I am a fighter and I can tell from your blog you are too, I wish you luck with whatever treatment you are offered x

    Reply
    1. knitnrun4sanity Post author

      Oh I so hope that things start to improve for you. Being a fighter is important. However hard it is, it is you that your daughter will want there – no matter how you look. You are the special person and I am sure that she will be really pleased that she can share her special day with you. I do hope that you will be able to enjoy the day. I wish you a lot of luck, as well as enough strength to keep you fighting. xxxx

      Reply
      1. kakescrafts

        As I was reading this I was sympathising with the stress you must have felt with all that unknown and thinking of my mum at the same time. I had completely forgotten that she followed you and was completely shocked to see her comment too. You are right I won’t care how she looks (as long as its not completely stressed from looking after me the 2 nights before!) Good luck with any treatment you might have to have, and I hope you realise you have the strength to cope with your good bad news! xx

        Reply
      2. Angie Gerrard

        thank you, I am ok all the time they are willing to keep throwing treatment at me, I will worry if and when they tell me there are no more treatments, meanwhile I praise the work of the cancer research people, I hope that you receive good treatment and get the all clear very soon xx

        Reply
    1. knitnrun4sanity Post author

      Please do. It is much better to be safe than sorry. I will do another post about what to be looking for as this is my true aim for writing this post. I am surprised at how many people are not share what to look for!

      Reply
  2. Nice piece of work

    It sounds like you coped very very well under the circumstances. I hope your running and knitting and blogging have been good outlets for the stress (I think I can tell they have!). Sometimes we have to be so strong and we don’t realise we can be until we actually are (hope that makes sense).
    Now go celebrate!

    Reply
  3. feelgoodknitting

    Aw, that’s rough. I had a basal cell carcinoma a few years back (also a fair skinned, freckled redhead) and the not knowing and worrying are way worse than the actual “dealing with it”. Don’t be afraid to lean on your husband – his having been there before will help a lot! I’m here too if you want to chat. 🙂

    Reply
    1. knitnrun4sanity Post author

      Thank you so much. I really want to get the word out there. I was very lucky but had I left it for any length of time the ending would have been very different!

      Reply
  4. healthyfrenchie

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that! It sounds like you managed to handle the stress quite well though and have some healthy coping mechanism.
    The Scotsman has a Scottish complexion and a lot of moles so I’m always concerned about him and his skin…
    Take care of yourself 🙂
    I bet you hugged your family tighter after that!

    Reply
  5. Clare Lewis

    So glad it’s not serious, that waiting time sounded awful to go through, your post really highlighted the mixture of emotions and thoughts that you can go through in such circumstances xxx

    Reply
  6. claireabellemakes

    Big big hugs and well done for being brave enough to share your thoughts here. I’m glad it is not too serious. My Dad recently had a skin cancer lump removed from his face and they luckily caught that early like your mole. Keep your chin up and the knitting on the go.

    Lots of love xxx

    Reply
  7. Anna

    Gadzooks, all things medical can be terrifying, can’t they? I get myself worked up about going to the dentist, so well done to you for using every coping mechanism in your arsenal to get through that experience! And thank goodness for knitting, too 🙂 x

    Reply
  8. Red Hen

    I`d like to know what prompted you to get the mole checked in the first place. Being a freckly moley type myself, an` all. A very useful post.Glad you had the best of bad news and that you obviously have tons of support there.

    Reply
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  10. lululoves

    I’m sorry to read this – sending lots of love your way! Your post is so honest and a reminder to keep an eye on those moles (coming from a family of red heads, fair skin & freckles it overlooked me but not my eldest two who have some large moles we were told to watch out for). Em xx

    Reply
  11. Claire

    Oh my goodness. I’m just catching up on your blogging over the past month… This must have been awful for you, but I’m so glad that it’s not any more serious.
    Sorry I’m so late commenting with this, I hope you are well on the way to recovering from such a traumatic time xxx

    Reply
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