Friday, June 17, 2011

Melanoma Mildred or Freaky Freckle…It’s a Fine Line, People.

Last Sunday, as I was ritually examining my face with the magnified mirror for new age-related flaws to obsess over during the coming week, I spied an interesting dark splotch beside my nose at 5 degrees northeast.  Hmmm.  Upon closer inspection with my industrial strength magnification device, I identified these nasty spider-like tentacles branching from the center.  Yow! This cannot be good.  My thoughts started to race, my genetic-based defense mechanism to generalized crises.  Automatically, I was tumbling down the sudden, yet predicable path to a full-blown Paranoid Delusional Episode.  In a nutshell, this winding road begins with “woe is me” and terminates at “ironic death imminent; commence funeral preparation.” 

So the warped thought process goes…Well, doesn’t this just beat all?  I spend over five grand to reverse the 40 years of sun damage. I endure facial laser strikes akin to the epic Battle of Endor (The Return of the Jedi...Star Wars IV).   I spend seven days as a “hide-your-face-lest-you have-to-explain-excessive-peeling” recluse, appearing only at night like a psoriasis-ridden vampire. And finally, there was the PAIN. The facial bombardment HURT LIKE A MOTHA!  AND, I had not one treatment, but THREE.  Yes, THREE.  When I had healed properly for the third time, I actually had to darken my roots to provide some contrast for my ashen cheeks that were slathered daily with 70 SPF sun block! So my bleached blonde hair and suntanned face were sacrificed for fewer wrinkles and NOT GETTING SKIN CANCER.  And now I am staring at Melanoma Mildred, whose grapnels have most certainly snaked into my nasal cavity and are heading post haste to my brain…

I have had trouble breathing lately…and the dizzy spells?  Yes, Mildred has metastasized and I have a brain tumor…definitely.  Probably two months, maximum.  I want Steve Perkins and Debbie Joyce to sing a duet at my memorial service, perhaps Amazing Grace. No, too trite; that is the fallback tune when no one really knows the deceased...when they are a recluse…a paranoid recluse…a paranoid recluse targeted to die because she valued her looks above all else!!!!

The weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth come next, and it is too pitiful to even describe in print.  Let’s just say there were excretions from every orifice and I am grateful that I was in the bathroom while convulsing. Suffice to say I was now on the tile floor in a fetal position reeking of vomit, my mega magnifying device grasped tightly in one hand as the other hand made the sign of the cross.  I confessed my laundry list of sins.  I was a chaotic, hypocritical mess.  Hell, I wasn’t even Catholic.  

The next day, I awoke with a little more sanity, or perhaps a more accurate word would be clarity, on the subject, and decided that, for insurance purposes, I probably needed to make an appointment with my dermatologist so she could confirm my undeniable diagnosis.  Hopefully she could see me in the morning, so I would have the afternoon to fill my prescription for Oxycodone, quit my job, gather my family, and begin living out my remaining days on the coast of some island near Belize.  Peace out! 

Once in the dermatologist’s office, I pointed to Mildred, and wept, “It doesn’t look good.”  She responded, “What doesn’t look good?”  “This spot on my face,” I replied impatiently.  “I don’t see anything,” she said, handing me a mirror, “show me.”  “Right here!  It has tentacles!  Like Ursula, the Sea Witch, only a smaller, deadlier dermatological version.”  “Ah, yes.  The freckle-looking spot?  (Not a very medically term) I don’t think it is anything to be concerned about.  I can cut it out now and be done with it, or we can wait a month and see what it looks like then.  If I cut it out it will leave a scar.  I would wait a month.” Obviously my medical degree from the University of Unreasonable Suspicions has not prepared me for this response.  “Don’t you want to take a sample for biopsy?” I said.  “There’s not enough of the freckle to get a testable sample,” Okay, her emphasis on the word “freckle” was completely uncalled for at this juncture.  She requested that she examine my entire body for any other suspicious spots, probably wanting to avoid another impending visit that would not be covered by insurance. 

She then announced that everything looked fine and said, “Could I ask you to try not to get as much sun?”  Sober reality had dawned again, coupled with the return of my smart mouth. “Why, yes, of course, you can ask.”       

In summary, it turns out that Mildred’s tentacles were probably tiny blood vessels that my electron microscope, had morphed into tentacles.  And my stuffy nose was a nasty symptom of Afrin withdrawal.  In my hysterics, I had completely forgotten about working my internal Twelve Step program for Nasal Sprayers Anonymous.  The stuffy nose will go away, and my chip is just around the corner… The dizziness, well, hadn’t eaten the day before in an attempt to slay those last two pounds I had been battling for three months.  According to the experts, you know, the ones with degrees from those accredited universities, a lack of nutrition will cause a drop in glucose which most likely will lead to syncope. But what the hell, I would rather be neurotic, skinny, ashen and dizzy with a runny nose than have to laser another facial scar! May the Force (of Youth) Be With You!

A. Ballerina