Saturday, June 2, 2012

Facing Mortality for the First Time


The following is a short word document we found on Shannon's computer.  It is the beginning of the book she was going to write.


"On April 22nd, 2008, I faced my mortality at the age of 25. I started my journey with a series of medical comedy of errors. Although comedy is not really a good description of where those errors could have led or... what the real issue finally revealed. I was 25, healthy, young, married and living my life in relative carefree comfort. But let me go back to where it all really started and share with you the hard lessons learned."

"In December of 2007, I went to the dermatologist for a skin exam. I had specific moles that I had questions about and wanted to have removed. One was on my chest visible sometimes in my decolletage, one was on my right side on my ribcage, and one on my thigh. The dermatologist looked at only those three specific moles and informed me that they all looked benign. I explained that the one on my ribcage had gotten tender in the past year and so he decided to biopsy that one and I paid out of pocket for the one on my thigh to be removed.

Once the results came back from the lab, the physicians office called me and told me that it came back as something called an Atypical Spitzoid Neoplasm. I, of course, had no idea what this meant so I asked if that was cancerous. The office person on the phone assured me that it wasn't cancerous, but it could turn cancerous so they wanted to make sure they removed all of it. So I headed back in for my excision or removal of the rest of the mole. The procedure basically involves the dermatologist cutting away a football shaped amount of skin around the mole and then stitching you together."

"After this first excision doubts about my dermatologist skills started to creep in. When I was in the office and getting numbed the needle was jabbed in ruthlessly and without any thought towards gentleness or comfort for the patient. My stitches to say the least were not the neatest or the most closely spaced. However, life was moving fast and I moved with it, attending a work training in Texas. While in Texas, I removed my own stitches in the hotel room unable to locate a minute clinic or nurse that could do it for me. My last day there I received a phone call from the dermatologists office informing me that I needed to come back again for yet another excision. They explained that although they had cut quite a chunk of skin away that the bad cells were still visible near the edges which meant they needed to cut more way to be on the safe side.

At this point I called in my cavalry, my mom. She works for the County library and with a love of books and a reference and research team at her finger tips she set about finding out all she could about Atypical Spitzoid Neoplasms."


Tomorrow I will write about this time from my point of view.

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