Monday, September 29, 2014

The time I had cancer

A thing I didn’t tell blogdom is that I went back to get the results of the thing on my shoulder, it turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma. I had to leave the stitches in for ten days, and when I hadn’t heard anything I figured no news was good news and wasn't concerned about it. So, I was a little surprised to get the “c” word when I went back to the doctor. But in terms of skin cancers, basal cell carcinomas are the ones you want, as they don’t metastasize anywhere beyond the original site, so now that it’s out it’s gone. They are also reasonably common. But what it does flag is that I have now had enough sun to create such a thing, so I got a little sun protection talk. I have been sun diligent for a long while now (I told the doctor about my UV umbrella!), but childhood beach holidays are coming back to haunt me, and I now have to be on a super anti-sun campaign to minimise any further damage, and have checks every year ...

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to think when such things happen. When I went it to have it cut out I thought to myself, days like these can change your life (though I wasn’t particularly concerned about it then). And I am so thankful that it wasn’t a life-altering melanoma. But would I be thankful if it was? And you hear people say such things as “God was very kind to me/us” when something goes well, which is true, but is he not kind when they don’t? And I could say it’s all of grace that it wasn’t melanoma, but what’s that saying about the people who do get a melanoma? Is that less grace? It probably doesn’t pay to overthink the whole thing, and just be thankful. But I am conscious that what you say in times like this can have ramifications for people listening who had a different outcome ... perhaps ... So I just will just say God is always good, and I am always loved, and leave it there. (And I finished Tim Keller's book Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering a few weeks back, which was excellent, and is very helpful on how to think when things do go wrong.)

I do have to say though, I was a bit gob-smacked at the size of the scar I have. As I mentioned, I had stitches in it and a dressing on it for ten days, then when they took the stitches out they put steri-strips on it and then covered it again for at least five days. So when I finally took all the dressing off and looked at it I thought, golly. I got a ruler out and it’s about 4.5 cm long, with puncture holes either side of it, when the thing wasn’t much bigger than a mole. But they cut an ellipse and had to go out wide around this thing to clear the margins, so I now have this big line in my shoulder. I was going to post a picture, but thought some things are perhaps better being mysterious. I’m still getting around with ALDI adhesive strip over the scar (after looking at all the very expensive fancy wound-healing things in the chemist) because my clothes keep poking into it, which does hurt.

I also didn’t jog for about three and a half weeks because it’s in a spot where moving my should back and forth like that would just stretch and potentially pop the wound (I went for a few walks and kept my right hand in my jacket pocket and I could ride my bike). I went out for the first run on Saturday, and wasn’t going to push it, so was rather pleased with myself when I ran door to door for around seven kms in the usual sort of time time. Then it was a public holiday here today (yay the ACT!) and so I went for a run up into the local nature reserve and did a few laps of this bush track I have found (I talk to the local kangaroos up there) as the sun was going down, and I didn’t think this would be that far, but when I got back I had been running for 50 minutes. Go me. So, obviously a three and half week break is not so bad as I thought it might be. Though my legs are feeling it just now.

Anyway, so that is one little piece of “news”. In other news, I took nine books off my shelf this weekend to get rid of. Books! That folks, deserves a round of applause. I’m making small steps towards de-cluttering.


Georgina said...

Glad you're ok. Great post and questions to ponder. Xx

Margaret Meandering said...

Happy for you that you're able to run again. It was very good to see you for the early days of Floriade, which I keep wanting to pronounce in the portuguese style, "Floriadgee."
May the Lord bless and keep you, and give you much encouragement with ever more wisdom and grace to be salt and light through your writing on this blog.

Ali said...

Thanks George! Hope you're having fun over there!

And thanks Margaret. It was very good to see you too. I keep meaning to post some pics of our flowery stroll. Sometimes I feel like I am not even trying with the blog these days, but salt and light is a good aim!