I had a feeling. I knew it was not going to be good news. We were driving down the road when I noticed a dark, new spot on my calf. I called my dermatologist the next morning. I was around eleven when I had my first scary spot taken off. Most of them are nothing…today it’s melanoma.
This is my second battle against the bad skin cancer. My last one was fifteen years ago. At least this time Brad was stateside. Last time he was in China, and it was the loneliest I've ever felt.
I’m not sure why, but both times I’ve been gently told by doctors it’s the big C word, I’ve been oddly calm. Ok. What is the next step? What do we do? How bad is it? I’m fine. Until they tell me “we caught it early enough that I don’t think this will require chemo or radiation”. That’s when silent tears sting my eyes. I’m not sure why. It’s the best of news. But somehow just the awareness that those options were even on the table rocked me.
It’s the best possible scenario where cancer is involved. I really am thankful that it is quickly and easily treated. Still…I hate the scars. I’m covered in them. My first melanoma was on the side of my rib cage. I never even saw the spot that latched on, attempting to kill me. I have been asked for years what it looked like so others can keep an eye on their own, but I had zero insight. It was one of three places the dermatologist took off that day. One came back basal cell, one was fine, and one was melanoma.
My doctor scheduled me to be the only patient in the office when he told me “in case I flipped out”. I didn’t. Even back then, I wondered why a child of God’s would be shocked that something evil was attacking her holy temple? I shared my faith with him instead—my why. How cool is it that he had an empty office and nothing but time? Over the next couple of years, we hung out every three months for skin checks and we talked Jesus and hard biblical questions. He had nothing but contempt for the church, but over our time, he finally conceded “I hear a lot of faith proclaiming from church people in the south, but you are one of the few who actually puts action to what you say you believe. I’ll give you that.”
He moved away, and I have often wondered if his heart overcame humans, and softened to a savior. I may never know until heaven. But one thing I learned the last time I fought melanoma is that I get to choose to make the battle count. I could be sad and freak out. I could turn inward and worry. Or I could use all that time sharing Jesus with the people who may not even recognize that their gift of healing comes from The Healer.
I don’t know why cancer and bad things happen. I don’t know why life leaves us covered in literal and metaphorical scars. When I looked in the mirror as a 29 year old girl, all I saw was slashes, dashed around my midsection. In a pitiful moment of insecurity, I told Brad my body looked like a passing lane. In a risky little decision, he said “I’ve been calling it the Tropic of Cancer”. 😂😂. We still laugh about that—laughter is relationship glue and I’ll forever pretend he looks at my tattered body with stars in his eyes.
After we told the family and the kids this weekend, I cried for a little while, then set my course towards shining Jesus like the star I am. 😉⭐️. I hope this new doctor is ready for what’s headed his way. The Lord is so creative in how He pursues people. A surrendered heart doesn’t get mad or stay sad when they face any sort of suffering. They make that suffering count.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16