Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nana's Changing Spots

I considered saving this little story to publish on October 23, known to chemists the world over as Mole Day.  I have to admit that I'm not exactly sure what a mole is in chem-speak, but ever since she took high school chemistry my daughter has called me on my birthday(10/23) to wish me Happy Mole Day.  So this is a story about moles, but not the chemical kind or the animal kind.

I spent the summers of my youth slathered in baby oil and iodine soaking up the sun in Southern California.  Trying to achieve the perfect California golden girl tan too often resulted in the red lobster look of sunburn.  Back then we didn't worry about UV rays and holes in the ozone.  My misspent youth as a sun goddess has come back to haunt me. 

Spots have spontaneously appeared on my skin.  Months ago I sat in a waiting room and read about the danger signs of skin cancer.  I made a mental note to make an appointment to get those suspicious moles checked...and I never made the phone call.   Finally in a flurry of activity earlier this summer I made appointments to get all body systems checked.  I had blood tests and saw my doctor.  I saw both the optometrist and ophthalmologist.  My eyes have "matured" so now I have new glasses.  One afternoon two weeks ago I made the trek to Pendleton to see the dermatologist.

Dr. Skin (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) has his office in a shabby Victorian house.  The exam rooms are on the second floor, up a narrow staircase with shag carpet.   From the exam table I could see dust bunnies around the edges of the well-worn wood floor.  Dr. Skin checked all my spots and found one on my back that he didn't like.  That one was removed, placed in a jar to be sent to the lab, and I was out the door in less than a half an hour.

I didn't lose any sleep worrying about my irregularly colored mole.  I think deep down that I just don't believe that anything really bad can happen to me.  I'd almost forgotten about the whole experience until the phone rang last week and I heard the assistant from Dr. Skin's office on the line. 

"Hell...ooo Yann" she crooned in her singsong accented voice.  "I have the lab results and it is anormal..."

I was frozen to the phone, focused only on the echo of what I heard.  Did she say abnormal?  Abnormal?  Not me!

"It's abnormal?" I finally managed to sputter.

"Yes, it is a normal mole" she says.  OH!  A normal mole, not an abnormal mole.

"Thank you for calling" I say and hang up.

See, nothing bad can happen to me.

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