Monday, August 6, 2007

A worrisome situation.

I've never been a private person, but neither have I ever had news quite of this nature to share. I thought about whether or not I should blog it, but I can find no reason not too, but all sorts of therapeutic reasons to do it.

Though our weekend was truly amazing, it had a blemish of worry. For as long as I can remember I've had a mole on my left arm. A few days ago I noticed that it was slightly raised. Not a huge deal. Worthy of a doctor's trip, but it looks truly unalarming. However, I also noticed (or re-noticed, since it's been there a few weeks now) a little brown line in my right big toe. I first noticed it (I think) a little while after the camping trip I wrote about a few entries back.

I did some research online, concerned with this unfortunate double suspicion and found that the toe problem matches very closely some descriptions of the early stages of acral lentiginous melanoma (a word of caution to the squeamish: this link has no pictures, but if you google the term you'll find all sorts of gruesome late-stage pictures of the condition). This is, encouragingly, the rarest type of skin cancer for Caucasians and no more dangerous than the normal sort. What is scary is the coincidence of finding both of these things together. That is very scary to me, since everyone knows that it's bad news when this stuff spreads.

So I was pretty much worried sick yesterday and this morning. Last night, we went out for an emergency dinner at Longhorn outside of our budget and diet to lift my spirits a bit, which it did (how could I resist some spontaneous fun time with my lovely bride!) My benefit package for work just kicked in last week and I don't have an insurance card yet. So this morning I had to call and get an interim ID number and find a primary care doctor. I went with Harvard Vanguard in Burlington, and luckily, my new doctor got me in today.

So what did the doctor have to say about the situation? I think the news was mixed. She was very unconcerned with the mole on my arm. It, in her opinion, raises no trouble flags apart from the fact that I say it has changed over the past few days. The toe, around which most of our discussion centered, she also seemed to want to dismiss. She interrogated me about my activity level while camping, and offered the theory that it might be blood. This, of course, is all good news. She did, however, schedule me an appointment with a dermatologist for Wednesday morning.

I say that this is mixed news because I am pretty skeptical about the blood theory. It has been there a while and looks too solid after all this time. Luckily, I'll find out more on Wednesday. So I'm still pretty nerved up. The evidence is now pointing a little more strongly to an unfortunate coincidence, but uncertainty abounds. It goes without saying that your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated. As I said at the top, this is new territory for us. Even if it is all in my head, I have never in my life felt so personally close to the idea of mortality.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Hey Dan, we're thinking of you down here. I can sympathize, and I just want to encourage you not to let your doctor dismiss the things you have noticed until you are completely satisfied with their explanation. It probably is nothing to worry about, but it's still their responsibility to be thorough. Don't take any guff!