Thursday, September 30, 2010

And then I panicked...

Around a year ago at this time, I was sitting in a training about helping children deal with tragedy and loss. As a mental health professional in a military school district, I was participating in some professional development around the grieving child. It was excellent and engaging material.

But I had something on my mind at the same time.

I had received a voice mail the night before from the dermatologist. They had asked for me to call them back. They had said that they would call whether it was “good news or bad,” but I was feeling a little anxious when all the message said was, “Please call us back.”

Now, I know that my biopsies could come back with that “harmless” skin cancer type or a very fatal one. That was really the extent of my knowledge about it.

I knew that I had grown up in the 80’s in Phoenix and no one used sun screen at that time. I also discovered the evil joys of the tanning bed in my 20’s, loving the deep color it gave my legs and the little boost in confidence come summertime. Fucking vanity.

There was a nagging thought in my head as I sat and listened to the effects on a child when experiencing the stress of a fatally ill parent in the home.
I would never want my child to experience that…

My phone vibrated. I excused myself. My heart was beating out of my chest. I figured it was the dermatologist’s office calling me back in our second round of phone tag to give me the results.

“Hello?” I asked.

“Kristina?” The receptionist asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Hi! This is (for crying out loud, I don’t remember her name) from the Colorado Springs Skin Cancer Specialists, and I’m calling to schedule your surgery.

…(empty space and time)…

And then I panicked.

Surgery? Specialist? Cancer?

What the fuck was going on?!

“Um, have you not heard from your doctor yet?” the perky receptionist asked.

“No, I haven’t,” I said, my voice tight.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Well, I can explain what is going on…” And she went on to say that I had basal cell carcinoma on my neck, and I would need something called Mohs surgery to have it removed.

After I got off the phone, I looked in at the people in the training. I could not go back in there. I started crying. I. Freaked. Out.

All these people told me, “Basal cell! No big deal! It will get taken care of. You are fine.”

I believed them in my heart. I was thankful it was basal cell and not something more difficult or life threatening to deal with. But at the time, I still felt fear and all I could think of was that I didn’t want to feel that way around my child.

I didn’t want my child to suffer in any way that I had been hearing about in my training. I only want my child to be happy forever. For us to be a happy family forever. Isn’t that what every parent really wants?

When something, anything threatens that, it’s only natural that the hair on our neck is raised.

Looking back on the whole experience, I regret having panicked so much in the moment and in front of co-workers. Of course, everything worked out ok. Of course, the basal cell was not too big of a deal in the long run.

I am so grateful for that.

And, here I sit, about a year later, with a bandage on my toe and on my face. Another biopsy. Waiting again. Staying strong. Hoping for good news.

This post was written in response to Mama Kat's writer's workshop. The prompt was "And then I panicked."

37 comments:

Jen said...

Hearing the word cancer can be scary no matter what kind.

I hope it all works out.

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

If your not allowed to freak out about cancer then what are you allowed to freak out about?

Regret nothing. And best wishes for another positive outcome.

Kirsty said...

Oh My goodness I'm terrified of when this moment comes for me. I mean it has to come - I too have sun bathed and sun bedded and sun worshipped without adequate protection. We didn't know any better right??

Crossing fingers for good news for you XX

Jenny said...

That is very scary... Praying for a good report back from the doctors!

I can't imagine doing what you do in a military school district. I worked in mental health as a case worker for awhile... it's a tough job, that's for sure!

cristina said...

Ok, so first, I hope that it's another no big deal kind deal.

and of course you freaked out! anyone would have. I think about what would happen to my kids if something happened to me, and it kills me inside.

and what's even more sad? there are parents, and I know because like you, I work with children, who really just don't {or don't know how to} care. my heart breaks for them every day.

Anna Walker said...

Oh my gosh! You needed to freak out! I would have starting crying so fast!

I am glad you're okay now. I hope you have a good outcome :)

Tonya said...

I think I would have freaked out, too. Cancer is a scary word. Hope all goes well this time around.

TV's Take said...

Wow Kristy, so sorry for what your going through right now. Your post was excellent. Skin cancer is one of those cancers I like to think will never affect me but that's such ignorance I can hardly believe it. I used to be a tanning fooooool. Perhaps it's time I made an appt to a dermatologist. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Lady Rynn said...

I would have freaked out if I had been in your shoes, you can't be perfect & cheerful all the time. News like that can't be easy. Wishing you the best of luck!

blueviolet said...

I think it's that word, that horrible C word. It's so difficult not to react to that!

Glen said...

In your shoes I'd go mental. I think you handled it pretty well actually - keep going

Being Me said...

I would have had pretty much the same reaction. Compounded by the fact that you were training on the subject that you were, that's a very intense thing to deal with. Good luck.

Clipped Wings said...

Definitely a crap way to find out bad news. I'm glad the first time around went well. I'm so sorry about your current news. Wishing you well this time around also. Best of luck.

Lori @ RRSAHM said...

There is nothing like our children to make us realise our own mortality. Thinking of you xoxox

Aging Mommy said...

The word cancer and the thoughts and feelings that come with it are unavoidable. When you have children, those thoughts and feelings are magnified a hundred-fold. I hope your biopsy reveals only good news. Thinking about you.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

You're allowed to freak out, even if people assure you it'll be okay. The thought of having to call a doctor back because they found something....that's scary for anyone.

As Aging Mommy said-thinking about you. :)

MomZombie said...

I would have reacted the same way. I, too, worshipped the sun for many years. I have a few moles that are probably overdue for a checkup. I hope all turns out well for you.

Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity said...

I have done your exact same freak out! It is scary waiting for that doc's call!! Sending hugs and prayers your way.:)

Stacey said...

I would have panicked too! I don't think "not a big deal" and cancer go together. I hope you get good news on your biopsy results! Thanks for stopping by the other day!

Stacey @ Entropified said...

So sorry. I hope it's good news for you.

frogpondsrock said...

I have trouble breathing in situations like that, I can't take in any information and then I cry. Yours sounds like a pretty normal reaction. Love.

Missy@Wonder, Friend said...

I understand & have been on the waiting side of a few biopsies, too. Not fun. You're entitled to a little freak out!

I hope you receive good news on the two you're waiting on now.

Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud said...

Kristy, I would've panicked and cried too. You're only human and you're right...every parent just wants to have their happy family around forever. As for the biopsies you're waiting on, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. :)

Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud
@TweetingMama

Jennifer said...

What a scary experience.

The unknown, the waiting...

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Karen Peterson said...

I was a child of the 80s of Southern California. I know it's just a matter of time before my skin cancer issues start. I can't imagine having to go through that and knowing there are kids depending on you.

Sending good thoughts for a happy diagnosis!

sarahmarie315 said...

The C-word just plain sucks! My mom had Basal Cell removed from her lip about a year ago. Everything turned out okay. I will be keeping you in my thoughts. Good luck and stay positive!

Stopping by from SITS

jazzygal said...

What a very scary time for you indeed Kristy. Don't blame you in the least for panicking.

Glad all worked out for you. I have a very good friend going through something similar at the moment.

I ahve tagged you with two awards over at mine (will be up soon!)One you already have but I thought you deserved the other one for your sidebar ;-)

xx Jazzy

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Fingers crossed for you!

kathryn said...

Oh, honey. You're only human, after all. You're allowed to panic and feel terrified and freak out. Even though we don't want our children to see us in pain or fear...we're still only human.

You're in my thoughts & prayers, sweetie.

Mommyfriend Lori said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry that you are playing the waiting game. That's the worst. Please post a follow-up and let us know as soon as possible. Thoughts and prayers are with you (hugs)!

Ca88andra said...

I can so relate to this - not that I've had cancer, but whenever I get bad news I always seem to share it with whoever is around. I can't help it. And then I regret it later!
Hope you get good news and don't have to wait too long.

Jen said...

I hope that the wait is not too long for the results. I think that your reaction was totally justified. Completely get this post (((hugs))) and lots of good news flying your way from here xo

ty said...

I've had the un-scary kind, and I'm always so afraid that the scary kind will rear its ugly head. I think your reaction was not out of the ordinary. In fact, I think you'd be less personable and real if you had been able to cover it up. Anyone else would have probably been in a worse place.

Came over from SITS. My thoughts are with you :)

Jennifer Haas said...

I have had these scarey things come up in my life. Sometimes they are about me and other times about my son who has NF, and we have to go do another MRI, not fun! Keeping you in my prayers. Thanks for the sweet comment!

The Empress said...

What makes me mad is the reaction of those around you. Hearing you have ANY type of cancer is never "no big deal."

It is a big deal.

I had 2 basal cells 2 summers ago under my eye. I heard "no big deal" from so many, I wanted to smack them.

It IS a big deal. As a mother with 3 boys, it IS a big deal.

How about, "I'm sorry. how can I help you? Do you need a ride?"

I hope for the best for you. Jut like me, I am now the hat queen.
xo

Justine said...

that is exactly how i would respond.

i hope things go well!

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