My first biopsy shave.

@postaday 95; #postday2011

The alarm clock mystery is solved. It had been startlingly loud as of late, so I turned it down. But you  know how it goes with little clock radios? Your hand is on it and it’s louder, you take your hand away and it’s softer? I thought I had adjusted it just so, but apparently not. It happened again this morning. I got up before it would have gone off, it didn’t, but then I checked and found the sound was turned way down.

Got out the door on time, but forgot my lunch, which is weird because it was in the garage refrigerator and on my way out the gate. It’s noisier to make lunch in the morning, but at least I don’t forget it! Bonus? John will come to town to join me for lunch today.

Yesterday a spot on the top of my lip, right where the philtrum meets the cupid’s bow on the left side, spontaneously started bleeding, as it has been doing off and on for the last couple of years. Whenever I’d go for my dermatology appointment, it wouldn’t be bleeding. The doctors told me that if it’s bleeding to come in. So I did.

I waited a long time. My appointment was at 3 and I didn’t get out of there until after 5 p.m. The doctor came in, I told  him about it, pointed at it, and while talking to me he puts info in the computer, walks out the door, and I hear him going in to see some other patient in another room. His nurse came in and got the tools ready for the shaving for a biopsy. Meanwhile, I’m playing Words With Friends, the lights go out because I’m so still, and I’m thankful that John can get the girls and that I rearranged for my asthma meds to be ready at the pharmacy nearby.

I grew up in a middle-class family, and I never felt rich. I knew rich kids. I hung out with rich kids. But we belonged to a private swim club, spent a lot of time on the Jersey Shore, and we constantly worked on our tans. Recently in the news it was announced that wealthy white women suffer most from melanomas more than any other demographic. I’ve had sunburns that caused sun poison. My nose peeled all summer, every summer. I was on swim team, I was a lifeguard, I spent hours in the ocean, in the pool, on a towel, listening to the radio and watching cute guys. And when I came to Hawaii, I did more of the same. I wore sunscreen, but sometimes if I was going out for a dawn patrol surfing session, I wouldn’t bother. Good times. What were we thinking?

Finally he returns, I lie down and he tells me it’s going to “Pinch, sting and burn.” It does. As my upper lip is numbed and the procedure begins, I think to myself how it doesn’t feel like he’s in the right place. But when a doctor has a razor blade on your face it’s not easy to say anything. And he’s a doctor, right? How could he be wrong?I can feel the blood run down my face, a cool, thick teardrop of blood that lingers long enough to make me sad. He wipes it. He remarks at how still I am, how tough I am, how my eyes sparkle. It reminded me of the amniocentesis procedures for my daughters. Since I was pregnant and over 40, I had the procedure to determine whether they would be born with any disabilities. How could anyone move when there’s a needle the size of a chopstick being poked into her belly, precariously close to the baby to retrieve amniotic fluid? Some things must be endured. I know how to be still.

Had I looked into the mirror while I was still there, I would have said, “Hey, Doc, you missed the spot.” He sliced my mole instead of the part that was bleeding. The mole has never bled. So I’m perplexed.

My follow up is April 12. I’m still deciding if I want to bring this up sooner or later. Did his skill and experience lead him to decide where to cut? Did he not notice the tiny scab where I had been bleeding earlier? Is he overworked and worn out? I’ve got some thinking to do. Do I want another cut? Now? Sigh.

I trimmed down a bandage, but it’s there. I thought about drawing something on it, but, it’s not worth the effort. I forgot my lunch on a day when I would have preferred to stay in my cube without talking much to anyone, save some Internet interaction. Lunch with John is a bonus. No point in being upset about it. Life goes on.

Wear sunscreen.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Oh, girl, I’m thinking the doc made a mistake. You’re a tough cookie. You’re in my prayers.

  2. Yikes! Hope all works out well – sounds like you have a soul of steel! And I’d just like to confirm that the WordPress selection process appears to be entirely random. I’ve been blogging for over two years, and this is my first feature on anything….And hey, it lead me to your blog!

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