Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A new normal

My world has gotten very simple. October 14th started like any other day, with my usual routine. Wake up, feed the chickens, feed the family... and then it happened. I suddenly had excruciating pain in my lower back. So much pain in fact, that I could barely breathe. I was pretty panicked, but still tried to take deep breaths.

I then had to get to the bathroom. I don't remember if I crawled, or hugged the wall to get myself there. I plunked down on the toilet, and just like the touch of a fairy godmothers wand, ping, the pain vanished. But, at the same instant I found my left leg, from the bottom of my butt, to the back of my knee, numb. I foolishly thought it was temporary, but it is still numb nearly 5 months later.

This event put me on a trajectory of doctor visits. Not only regarding my back, but because of insurance issues, I decided it was time to take care of other check-ups that had been long overdue. Last November and December were dedicated to catching up on dermatology visits, colonoscopy, gyn and mammograms.

I remember every nuance of the moment when I received my melanoma diagnosis. I was in the parking lot getting ready for my second mammogram, which, all they had told me is "that we found something concerning...". Already anxiety stricken, I actually laughed out loud at the diagnosis. I mean it was the classic Murphy's law scenario! Btw, after 3 plus hours getting my follow-up mammogram, all checked out ok, just very cystic.

Come to find out, it was very early stage 1, on my right nostil, with no roots, and hadn't gotten into my bloodstream. If you are going to be diagnosed with melanoma, this is definitely what you want to hear. I had my surgery in early January, and have been healing physically, emotionally and spiritually ever since. It's been a long journey, and one that shook me right to my core. They had to take a pretty good chunk out of my nose, and a skin graft from beside my ear. I probably had at least 30 stitches, most likely more. My nose is a little disfigured now, but I'm really trying to put things in perspective and think about how lucky I am. I am not going to die from melanoma. And that, my friends, is all that matters.

So, my life has gotten a lot more simple. I continue to heal, and I'm trying to find my way back to normal. But there is now some light where there hadn't been. And a new normal is slowly emerging.


  1. I'm overdue for all my check-ups.
    Thanks for the reminder lucky Laguna girl.

  2. So glad it was caught early. I had cervical cancer nearly 25 years ago that was caught very early like that. We're the fortunate ones.

  3. I know you don't think so, but you are one very brave woman! You've had so much thrown at you in the last six months, yet you have remained positive and upbeat. I am lucky to have you in my life! Love you! Deb

  4. Glad you managed to catch this early too but sorry you had to go through it. Two mammograms should be outlawed. You should be due for a wonderful summer :)

  5. i agree with susan. you are due to heal quickly just in time for summertime fun!! good things are in store for you! keep your joy!