As of a couple of weeks ago, I have a diagnosis of cancer once again. Happily, it is basal cell carcinoma on my nose. All the doctors say that is good news since it is so slow to grow and basically, harmless. They say that the surgery to excise all the malignant cells while time-consuming is easy to do with minimal scarring. This means my fine Roman nose won’t be marred too much. It’s all done with a local anesthetic saving me the misery of recuperating from general anesthesia.
While this seems to fit in the category of the good news, bad news syndrome, it was initially a bad time. Just the mention of cancer bothers me nevermind me having it. My reaction was to go into a full-blown panic attack. That is not my norm, but experience has taught me that cancer is deadly. After a while I calmed down enough to email my three children with a no worry tone since I knew deep down that this is not life threatening. To me, panic is like fear. If you give it room it will grow and take over your life. So, I allow an hour of panic allowing me to go to a worse case scenario which would be ending up no nose.
That turned to laughing at myself and mentally walking away from the panic which left only the fear and worry to deal with. Fear is tamped down easily, but it gets harder and harder to erase worry. I think that is a senior thing. But there are way too many things to do to sit around and worry which pushes the worry so far down on the priority list of things to do that it fades. Still about four or five weeks into this, it nags that this minor surgery is approaching and there is nothing I can do about it. Given a choice I would ignore it.
While meeting with the nose specialist, I asked if I would need a driver. He said not really, but sometimes it helps to have someone there. I explained that my son wanted to come with me and said, “That’s fine, but don’t bring a gaggle of people since our waiting room won’t support that.” I quickly explained that I don’t have a gaggle which made us both happy. In truth, my son doesn’t need to be here, but in reality, I need him to be here. He will tease me into relaxing and relate all the things my grandchildren are doing which is comforting.
Always before, through all the tough times, my husband has been by my side. This time it will be Cliff. Cliff, look at it as a learning experience and don’t let the initial huge bandage scare you.