Cut It Out


And they did. The malignant melanoma on the back of my thigh was excised yesterday afternoon.


It was no bigger than a nickel. Discovered three weeks ago during my first-ever total body scan, I received a few shots of Lidocaine, then a shaved sample was removed for biopsy.

The results came back the following Friday – cancerous. The spot that never scabbed over and continued to weep had to come out. My appointment was scheduled for Wednesday the 23rd, just shy of three weeks from the initial assessment.

I don’t know why, but I always thought of skin cancer as a ‘lesser’ cancer. Breast cancer is bad. Colon, pancreatic, ovarian, liver, lung – all really bad. Very scary. Why did I think of skin cancer differently? Is it because I could see it? (Well, not this one, on the back of my thigh). Would a nickel-size spot on my mammogram have me as calm? On my lung? I know in my heart I’d have been panicked.

And that’s not to say I wasn’t worried. Two Valium an hour beforehand did little to allay my anxiety. The procedure was over in about an hour. The lidocaine lasted into the evening. I slept last night without any sleep aids.


Today it hurts. I’m taking Tylenol, extra-strength, and resting at home. I’m very much aware that there was trauma. And I am leaving the bandage on for now.

Is all of this TMI? I’m a relatively private person (and here I am, showing you a picture of my thigh!). I guess I just want you to get your checkups. I don’t think this is the last of my skin issues. But I plan to be diligent. Be like Martha, at least in this. ❤️❤️❤️

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Skin – Your Body’s Largest Organ


I’d put off the ‘body scan’ by a dermatologist for a while. But when someone my husband and I both knew died as a result of a malignant melanoma, we knew we needed to make the appointment. He’s 60, I’m 59, and like many people our age, we’ve had more than a couple of blistering sunburns.

I could never tan, but it didn’t stop me from trying. And the result for me was a melanoma on the back of my thigh, where I’d never see it. 


It will be removed in ten days, the earliest available date. Thankfully, it’s still in an early stage, and hasn’t affected my lymph nodes. Numb me up good and take the damned thing out, I say.

No one I know likes these preventive procedures. Colonoscopy prep is inconvenient. Mammograms hurt. And having someone inspect every inch of your skin, well, it just underscores the fact that loss of elasticity and gravity are cruel reminders of aging. But that’s how you find out. I’m glad I found out.

Where Hope Walks


I have a few options for getting home. I can drive over the Natick bridge, the one that was closed after the big flood in 2010. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, though, you’re forced to look at the big empty house, boarded up, gaping holes where windows once were, pieces of glass clinging to the frames. The house is ugly and should be razed. Everyone has moved out. But the house still stands, decrepit, faded, and gray.

Or I can go home the back way and drive up the hill from the fire station, past the golf course that straddles the road, mindful of golfers crossing the street to get to the next hole, careful to keep my speed down because there’s usually a police car hidden behind the trees near the elementary school. Yesterday there was a bad accident on the road, farther down. People drive too fast.

And now that part of Natick Road, washed out after the flood, has been repaired, I can get home that way, past the farm, the horses, the houses up in the hills, hidden behind so much green now, until I reach the little bridge. It took a long time to repair.  There’s just not much money anymore. Hope told me she likes to walk there because it’s quiet, but the road is narrow and people drive too fast. I know she’s careful, especially now, but still I worry about her. Her time is precious, and she won’t give up her walks.

These days I usually find a reason to take that winding back road. Maybe I’ll see Hope. It’s a good thing to see her out walking. She never accepts a ride home. “I’m fine!” she says, waving her hand and smiling under a wide-brimmed straw hat.  I wave too, and drive over the bridge, where small tributaries of the Pawtuxet River flow under the road, downhill, to the source. And in my rear-view mirror I see Hope, walking.