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UPDATED: 98% Sure It’s Not Cancer

by Alex Iwashyna

in Is It Just Me?, Resentments

A good news update and giant band aid at the bottom!

I have a skin thing on my face near my eye.

I first noticed it towards the end of my second pregnancy. Because getting weird pigmentation skin things during pregnancy is just one of the many havocs our hormones wreak, I only offhandedly mentioned it to my doctor. She told me it was a sun spot (also known as a liver spot. awesome.) and said that she wasn’t worried, but I could see a dermatologist if I want to remove it.

I wasn’t ready to admit to that level of vanity so I accept my old lady skin and moved on. I found a smaller one on the other side of my face, increased my sunscreen usage, and named them Dotty and Molly.  Of course.

A few months ago, Molly, the one by my eye, began to change. She hit puberty and grew one boob.

In medical school we are taught the ABCDs of moleage:

A. Asymmetry: when half of the growth is a different shape than the other half.
B. Border irregular: when the growth has uneven edges.
C. Color varied: when the growth is more than one color.
D. Diameter: when the growth is bigger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.

To which Molly and I answer yes, and then I repeatedly remind myself that most moles are nothing more that ugly.

But I had a patient. A patient who had a spot in the exact same spot as Molly. Except his Molly was malignant melanoma. Melanoma is not the skin cancer granddads have taken off once a year after too many golf games. It’s bad news skin cancer. It’s like Molly on crack with a gun. It’s like Molly on Charlie Sheen.

This particular patient caught the cancer early and did great.

But it’s hard to put him out of my mind.

So I tell myself it’s not cancer.

And 98% of my mind agrees.

I see the dermatologist at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. I’ll update the post after my appointment. And it’ll probably end the update: LOVE, A DRAMA QUEEN.

UPDATE: The derm doc said: My gut tells me it’s benign but we’ll biopsy it so we can both sleep better at night. So I’m glad I went. But I need someone to draw on my GIANT band aid so I can be the coolest kid in school. Any ideas?


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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Nano March 23, 2011 1

Funny, I’m going to the dermatologist today about a mole too! I’ve always had a mole in the crease between my neck & chest. It never bothered me until I had kids. Then, the kids were like, what’s this thing on mommy’s neck? And proceeded to pick at it (yes, I’m a picker and apparently the twins are too!). Then I started to realize that this mole has grown, a lot. Since I’m getting tired of saying “stop picking at my mole”, I’m going to get it removed. I, too am a little nervous, but mostly about my vanity as this spot is always visibile unless I’m wearing a turtleneck. Good luck with Molly!
Nano recently posted..Movie Widow


Late Enough March 23, 2011 2

How did your Molly go? Hope it was just a snip and band aid, too!


Nano March 23, 2011 3

I was told it was totally benign and because if it’s prominence on my neckline, if I didn’t want it to look weird, have a huge scar, or have it possibly grow back even grosser or speckled, I should see a plastic surgeon. I guess that’s my next phone call!
Nano recently posted..Movie Widow


Klz March 23, 2011 4

Molly told me both that you are a drama queen and that sheen is her idol. So I’m glad you’re getting it checked out


Late Enough March 23, 2011 5

Andygirl recommended I draw Charlie on my band aid. You know, so us three drama queens can hang out.


AKeo March 23, 2011 6

I need to get my moles checked, an probably most of them removed. Here’s hoping you’ve motivated me enough to call today.
Good luck!


Late Enough March 23, 2011 7

Do it! That’s an order. The only one I’ll ever give. Probably


TheKitchenWitch March 23, 2011 8

Aiee! Fuckity fuck! Drama queen or not, you are immediately updating us on this!

My mom just went through 11 weeks of daily radiation for a squamous cell carcinoma (her fifth) and a dear friend of mine died from melanoma, so you are wise not to mess around with that shiz!

And yeah, who names their moles? Yet another reason I love you.

As for oddities that pregnancy brings, I got skin tags. Under my arm and under my boob. GROSS.


Late Enough March 23, 2011 9

Your comment made me feel better about posting, worrying and the whole thing — before I even knew the outcome. So thanks. I needed it. Hope your mom’s ok.


Megan (Best of Fates) March 23, 2011 10

I have a mole on my upper thigh that I’ve been convinced is cancerous for over a decade. Yet, it hasn’t changed in that time, so clearly my massive procrastination is providing a diagnosis of its own!

(Yes, I am ashamed of that story.)

(Good luck!!!!)
Megan (Best of Fates) recently posted..Whiskey Cookies


Late Enough March 23, 2011 11

Procrastination at it’s finest! Proving you cancer-free!

(and thanks!)


Brittany March 23, 2011 12

I’m glad to hear that you’re getting it checked out! I hope that you’ll update us today instead of waiting until tomorrow. May Molly be nothing other than one of those many seriously-is-it-really-necessary-to-have-yet-another-less-than-dignified-thing-happen-to-my-body-during-pregnancy things.
Brittany recently posted..The Cast of Characters


Late Enough March 23, 2011 13

Thanks! The biopsy results wont be back for 1-2 lifetimes, I mean weeks, but she was very confident that it would come back normal. YAY!


Christy March 23, 2011 14

Don’t forget the last of the alphabet checks: E for evolving. Good for you for getting checked!


Late Enough March 23, 2011 15

F for F*#& I’m nervous ;)


K March 23, 2011 16

Pregnancy gave me two–one for each 9 month stint, I’m assuming–dark patches on my upper lip. In the dead of winter they are easily covered up with make-up. Once I’m outside for the three months the sun is out here in the Midwest, they darken and I start to look like Charlie Chaplin.

I hate funky skin business.

Please let us know the skinny after your appointment.
K recently posted..Fruit saladyummy- yummy


Late Enough March 23, 2011 17

In case you missed the update: The derm doc said: My gut tells me it’s benign but we’ll biopsy it so we can both sleep better at night.

And in a month when I go for my follow up and all-over skin check, I may discuss Dotty. For pure vanity that is.


Abby March 23, 2011 18

Bravo for not avoiding the doc. It’s best to face it head on. We’ll have a memorial service for Molly, soon. And then you can dance on her grave and be happy it’s not cancer.
Abby recently posted..Lets Pretend Were 8 Again


Abby March 23, 2011 19

As per your request…i.e. drawing on your band aid….I’m on it. Check your email.

I can’t help myself. I’m addicted to Photoshop.
Abby recently posted..Lets Pretend Were 8 Again


Late Enough March 23, 2011 20

You rock my house! I can’t wait to show them off tomorrow!


Erica March 23, 2011 21

I completely agree with you going to the dermatologist … I have been scared lately at the number of young people with cancer in and around my life … breast cancer striking girls that were freshmen in high school when I was a senior … and unfortunatley I did have a girl I graduated from high school with pass from melanoma at 32 … so I am overly cautious about these things now … and even with your medical training … being scared and cautious is normal … even if it is only 2% of you ;) lol … I also commend your ability to joke about all of it … as always … I love your sense of humor!
Erica recently posted..Maybe It Really Is Me


Late Enough March 23, 2011 22

Because of the increase in skin cancer my derm actually said they recommend an appointment once a year from age 30+
Thanks for appreciating the cancer jokes. You never know how they may come off. Of course, that’s my problem most of the time on any topic…


AbsolutelyKathy March 23, 2011 23

Better safe then sorry! Hoping Molly is just a ugly ( cute ) mole and nothing else.
AbsolutelyKathy recently posted..One Minute-What Can You Do


Late Enough March 23, 2011 24

My derm seemed pretty confident she was just ugly. YAY!!


LindsJo March 23, 2011 25

Glad you got it checked and they biopsied it. I’ve had more moles removed than I can count. Once, one came back with a possible cancer diagnosis and they had to go remove more. I cried for days until I could go back to the doctor because I just knew it was going to be cancer, and I was going to have to have chemo, and lose all my hair, and be really sick, and possibly not be able to have children because the chemo and radiation would kill my girl parts, and so on. Of course the second biopsy came back clear.

So, compared to that…you aren’t being a drama queen at all! Way to take it like a champ!


Late Enough March 23, 2011 26

Your drama queen-ness really DID make me feel better about my own. Thanks friend!


andygirl March 23, 2011 27

sending Molly some good energy….

and you should totally draw Charlie Sheen on the bandaid. can you draw that well? or have your kids do it?
andygirl recently posted..I missed her


Late Enough March 23, 2011 28

I was tempted but my grandma put in a band aid request and she trumps Sheen all the time. Except in her randomness. You’ll see in a few minutes when I post it.


Tara March 23, 2011 29

The Late Enough logo is clearly the perfect size for that band aid. Take it out of one your little button/pin things and glue that bad boy to your band aid. Easy advertising.


Late Enough March 23, 2011 30

Dude, I ended up with like four pictures of my logo on the band aid. Will be showing off my friends’ talents in tomorrows post!


Tara March 23, 2011 31



Mommyk8 March 23, 2011 32

I just went to the doctor for a mole patrol the other day! It must be the season for mole removal. I’m uber paranoid about any sort of mole looking thing, which I guess is a good thing. Nice work on being cancer free, Molly the Mole! I think you should bedazzle your band-aid some how. Perhaps a giant pink jewel?


Late Enough March 23, 2011 33

Ooh, I was very tempted by the bedazzling. But in the end my Nana strong-armed me. Or just suggested something and she’s 85 years old so WINS. Post going up in a few.

Did your mole turn out ok?


Mommyk8 March 24, 2011 34

Oh yes, everything is OK. I plan on dressing like a lady from the Victorian Era while at the beach this summer.


The Sweetest March 23, 2011 35

omg, i totally have a cancer on my face, too. it’s on my nose, up near my eyebrows. i seriously need to see the dermo. but, first, i have to get rid of my thrush.


Late Enough March 23, 2011 36

I love medical jokes. Seriously. You rock.


The Sweetest March 23, 2011 37

Ok, yeah I do, too. In fact, I’m having borborygmi right now, But the thrush is no joke.


Late Enough March 24, 2011 38

Really? I thought you were making a cancer-causing-thrush joke.
Hope it gets better soon. Yuck.


Sarah March 23, 2011 39

I’m glad you went! I had one on my back a few years back. I decided that it was male, and named it Ramone. Let’s just say that I’m glad I broke it off with Ramone. Not melanoma, but still not good!
Sarah recently posted..Fear


Late Enough March 23, 2011 40

I’m glad you broke up with Ramone, too. Molly might need a “friend” after our big break up today.


Skye March 23, 2011 41

I think it’s always better to get things checked out- then you can stop being paranoid!


Late Enough March 23, 2011 42

I have PLENTY of other things that I enjoy being paranoid about. Why add anything else in?


MFA Mama March 23, 2011 43

Draw a nipple on that puppy!


Late Enough March 23, 2011 44

I’m sad that I missed an opportunity to see your suggestion through. Not really. But it still made me laugh!


Christine @ Coffees and Commutes March 24, 2011 45

Oh man!!!! I’m glad I read this after the update. But do update us again okay.
Christine @ Coffees and Commutes recently posted..What it means to dream


Late Enough March 24, 2011 46

I will. Thank you, friend.


Wombat Central March 24, 2011 47

I’ll totally send you one of my daughter’s cupcake bandages. They are AWESOME.
Wombat Central recently posted..First Week of Spring


Late Enough March 24, 2011 48

Let me know when I need to check my PO Box!


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