Thursday, March 21, 2013

When You Hear It a Second Time (the M word, that is)

The past few days have me thinking about the phone call I got from my dermatologist about a year and a half ago.  I was waiting for multiple biopsy results...days go know how it goes.  I'm with my son, on the way to the market, when my phone rings.  

On edge, filled with that extra bit of adrenaline, I see that it's my doctor calling.  I answer, "Hello?"...and she says, "Hi, it's Dr. _____, where are you?"  That question, from her lips to my ears, has the blood rushing to my face.  I feel my heart, and a prickly sensation on my scalp. I swallow, feeling a large lump in my throat, as I respond with, "I'm driving."  My thoughts start going, in this fraction of a second...I start to think she has to be calling me about a basal cell or a squamous cell carcinoma...when she says, "I need to talk to you when you are not driving."


I pull over.

I try to remain in my body.  And I say, "OK, I'm not driving anymore!  What is it?!"  

And then I hear the words I really never thought I'd hear again..."It's melanoma, but not as bad as your first one."

When I was diagnosed with melanoma on my foot, I learned all about the severity of this disease.  I knew (intellectually) that once you have a melanoma, your chances of having another is greater than someone who has never had melanoma.  I knew these statistics.  I knew these numbers.  I knew these facts. 
But I never thought I'd hear those words again!

This week, a fellow melanoma warrior, friend, educator, beautiful YOUNG woman, Chelsea, was diagnosed with her second melanoma.  She, at 24 years old, is another example of the horrible fact that, once you have a melanoma diagnosis, it is a lifelong deal.  

Chelsea, of Adventures with My Enemy Melanoma shares about her experience of receiving news of her second melanoma, in her blog post, The Latest Guest: Melanoma. I'm praying for you, Chelsea!

Of course the shock is there...and the fear, and the facing of one's own mortality...again.  But, for me, having melanoma a second time was the shove that got me thinking about speaking out.  It was the catalyst that got me thinking outside of myself.  It was my stepping stone to the creation of Respect the Rays.

So, yes it sucks receiving bad news, but if I am truly looking for the good in the bad, then I feel that Anne Frank said it best...

"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.  The good news is that you don't know how great you can be!  How much you can love! What you can accomplish!  And what your potential is!"

I love you, Chelsea!


  1. Very well said, praying for dear Chelsea as well. today and always

    1. Thank you for reading and for your prayers!

  2. I love YOU too, my friend! Thank you for this. I agree, we know the possibility of it happening again, but the shock is definitely still as powerful when it does. I'm so glad you decided to raise awareness. You are doing such great things.

    1. I'm grateful for YOU! Glad you are home resting! XOXO

  3. Chelsea, early detection is the key. I am a four time Melanoma survivor, three in situ and one Stage 1A. While it is terrifying, yes, the good news is that you are following your own advice about taking care of yourself, and being hyper vigilant about your skin exams. You are a smart women with many admirers, including me. Keep the faith, ~Linda

  4. we are all praying for Chelsea and it is a reminder that melanoma can return!