I'm sorry I wasn't around much this week. It was a strange week for me.
On Monday, I thought my husband might be about to die.
Yes, I AM always this overdramatic--why do you ask?
See, last week a spot under his arm swelled a little and got sore. We both felt a little concerned and said that he should probably go to a dermatologist and get it checked. (We've been saying that for a couple of years; he has a family history of skin cancer. Also, his father died of sarcoma, which is similar to skin cancer; it's a very rare cancer of the connective tissue and soft tissue. So we know firsthand how nasty these things can be.)
Then by Sunday the spot had turned black and was still sore. That alarmed us. I knew when a mole gets sore and changes color that it needs to be checked right away. Even my husband, who is normally the most optimistic person I know, was worried and he called the next day to get an appointment with a dermatologist. The appointment was Wednesday afternoon.
I was holding together pretty well, but I had the possibility of a nightmarish situation in the back of my mind all day. I wrote in my journal that the cold hand of dread held my heart. Finally, during my prayer time, I broke down and wrote about it and wept while I was writing. I asked God to help me face whatever was coming even while I was hoping the worst wasn't going to happen. I thought of the women I know who have lost husbands while their children were young. I wondered how we would survive if Justin couldn't work. I asked God to let us keep him even though I knew that prayer might not be answered. After all, bad things do happen to good people. I don't believe that I am protected from catastrophe because I am a Christian; I don't think I can say the right words or promise to do the right deeds to stay safe because I don't think faith works that way. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. I do think God can work everything out for good if you participate in the process, but you might not like everything that happens in that process.
Anne Lamott once said that the two best prayers she knows are "Help!" and "Thank you." I said the first and hoped I would be able to say the second. And then I wiped my eyes (well, really my whole face because I am an ugly crier) and went to pick Miss Pink up. I was hoping Wednesday would get there quickly so we could find out what was going on.
That night Justin went to choir practice. A nurse who works for the dermatologist he was going to see was at practice--that's why we chose that particular doctor--and Justin told her what was going on. She asked if she could take a look at the spot, and as soon as she saw it said, "That's not cancer; that's a skin tag that's been cut off from its blood supply." That's why it turned dark so suddenly. When Justin came home and told me I sighed in relief. Sure enough, when you looked at it more closely you could see it wasn't a mole, but a tiny flap of skin like one he had under his eyebrow. I slept so much better that night.
He went to the appointment and had that cut out and several more places burned off (sounds wonderful, doesn't it?) just to be sure, and from now on he will go once or twice a year to be checked. If something ever DOES come up, it will be dealt with properly. So that was good--and it only took a few years and a scare to get him set up with a dermatologist.
As for me--yes, I may have overreacted. (Story of my life.) However, in the past I would have freaked out, cried all day, scared my children, and made harder for my husband to deal with the situation. All while neglecting to pray or do something to manage my own feelings instead of wanting someone else to make me feel better. So this was progress.
After all that, you would think I would have a wonderful week, like a woman in an inspirational article. The thing which I feared had passed us by! And now I would cherish my dear husband EVEN MORE because I realized what a fleeting thing life is, and we should all live like we are dying, etc., etc.
In actuality, I didn't enjoy the rest of the week all that much but I'm glad we still have our normal life. Except I had to take Miss Pink to see High School Musical 3 for a birthday party, and the High School Musical world is definitely not normal.
But here's something Mr. Blue said which cracked us all up. At lunch with my parents, I asked him if he wanted chicken fingers. He said very plainly in a puzzled tone, "Chickens don't have fingers!" While we were laughing he continued, "Chickens have thumbs!"
Here's to next week. We're all still here and healthy, and that's plenty for me to be thankful for.