I developed a tiny black dot inside my left pointer finger. Then, a few days later, I developed a tiny black dot on the inside of my right middle finger. Because these dots appeared about a week after my gel manicure - where my hands baked in UV lights - I was concerned that it could be melanoma.
I took photos of each dot with my iPhone, blew them up, and compared them to photos on the internet (which gave me a new respect for dermatologists). I read studies on the connection between UV lights and skin cancer. I went to skin-cancer message boards and searched "tiny black dot" and scarily the words "stage" this and "stage" that appeared way too often for my comfort level.
I got myself so worked up that I had to take a Xanax to sleep. I had thick dreams and when I awoke a haze of foreboding rested over my head, though I couldn't remember exactly why until I went to brush my teeth and staring me in the face were the two dots.
I made an appointment with my internist. In the 24 hours that I had to wait for my appointment, I resigned myself to the fact that I would just cut off my fingers, if the cancer had not spread.
Inside the exam room, the GP looked at the dot on the inside of my left pointer finger and declared "that's definitely a blood blister." When he looked at the right one, he hesitated - which I'm sorry, no doctor should be allowed to hesitate - and said that he's pretty sure that it, too, was a blood blister.
As the doctor predicted, the dot on my left finger just fell off. The dot - the one that he's pretty sure is a blood blister- is still sitting tight (and, believe me, I've given it a little pick here and there to help nudge it along but to no avail). So this week, I will be off to the dermalogist. Because the remaining dot on my right middle finger looks so much like the dot that just up and disappeared, I'm not sick with worry, just pretty worried.
Cancer sucks. It not only sucks because it kills, it sucks because it's the worst kind of boogie man. It's a boogie man that actually exists. It's the monster under your bed that actually can come out and get you and really, really hurt you or at least kick your ass trying. It's the bump in the night that can turn into a cancerous mass, and it's the dark shadow that can turn into a melanoma. It's a devil that knows no mercy and taunts at every turn.
Well, Cancer, while all my digits are still intact, I'm raising both my middle fingers at you. I'm raising them high - not for me and what is most likely a blood blister - but for the people who've you've hurt and damaged and stolen. I'm raising them at you, because I hate bullies, and you are the worst kind of bully. You attack children, even babies. You cause suffering and fear and inconsolable loss. Cancer, this is for you: