Friday, October 5, 2012

Smell the Manure!

I have been in a bit of a rut.  Over something relatively small in the grand scheme of things, I will admit, but a rut nonetheless.  Everyone is entitled to a rut. 

Welcome to my rut!

It started when I decided to finally do something about a tiny sore on the side of my nose that would come and go, come and go, come and go.  And bleed a little while it stayed.  

I knew deep down that it had to be another basal cell, of which I have had several removed from other parts of my body.  But this time, it was on my face and I don't know about you but having anything hacked off my face and sent to a lab for testing to determine if there would be future hacking just wasn't something I wanted to rush into taking care of.  Anyway, you can tell where I'm going with this. 

I finally found my big girl pants and the biopsy (read: the initial hack) was taken and my doctor called with the results Tuesday night at about 7:30 p.m. 

This is how it went down:

"Honey, honey!"

Jeff came rushing into our master bedroom closet with my phone in his hand.  At that moment, I was perched on a ladder to access our attic (word to track home builders of America: only attic access in master bedroom closet = super shitty design plan).  Our son Nick was actually up in the attic handing Halloween decorations down to me.  Yes, I birthed my very own day laborer.  Call CPS if you want.  He likes it up there.

"The doctor is calling!" Jeff exclaimed.  

In case you were thinking my husband rushed in with the phone because he is some kind of alarmist or maybe one of those husbands that I've heard tale of but never actually met who is ultra sensitive to his wife's every feeling, let me assure you that he is neither.  He had been dressed down during dinner about 45 minutes earlier when he called me out for having my Blackberry at the table:

"Seriously, honey, the phone is on the table during dinner?"

I stared him down for a full fifteen seconds before I responded.  Both to insure that he felt the gravity of my words when they finally came and to give him a chance to save himself, which he predictably did not do.

"I'm not even telling you why I have the phone at the table."  An idle threat was my initial response.

"Fine, don't tell me.  But it's a bit much.  I never have my Blackberry at the table."

"Why do you think I have the phone at the table?  What is today?" I began.  "Today is Tuesday.  I told you no less than three times that the doctor is calling today with my lab results."

"She's home now.  The doctor isn't calling you tonight."  He threw another fork-full of beef in his mouth and chewed away.

Don't you love how they know absolutely everything?

"She's not calling tonight, huh?  Every single time she calls with a pathology report, it's after hours.  She sits at her desk after seeing all of her patients for the day, reads the reports, and makes her calls."

Another bite of beef down the hatch, another minute or so of silence and we move on to how piano lessons went for the boys earlier that day.  

Congratulations were in order for our Vincie who graduated up to a new lesson book.  His two week hiatus from playing and teacher change seem to have reignited his passion for playing.  I think perhaps he just needed to feel that he had a little control over the situation…I can definitely relate to that.

Nicky proceeded to ask about Halloween decorations about a dozen times during dinner.  It was October 2 and the day's high was a balmy 98 degrees.  He could feel fall upon us and wanted to celebrate.  

"After dinner," I told him.  "We'll get the decorations out after dinner."

In truth, I love watching them place decorative spiders and skulls here and there around the house as much as they love doing it.  Quite possibly even more.  Every year, I wonder how much longer they will enjoy this annual, autumnal fun with mama.

"Honey, hurry up.  I don't want you to miss the call."  This was Jeff's way of saying he's sorry.

I simultaneously stepped down from the ladder and took the phone from Jeff's hand.

"Nick's up there."  I pointed up to the opening in the ceiling.

"I got him.  Go talk to her."

I pressed the answer button as I sat down at the desk in our master bedroom. 

"Hi, Doctor."

"Hello, Liz.  Is this a good time?"

"Yes, my husband is taking over seven year-old duties right now."

"Ooooh, you're a busy mama."  I'm sure she heard the chaos in the background plus she knows my sons.  She sometimes lets them drop liquid nitrogen on the tile floor in her exam room.  "Are you sure it's an ok time?"

I knew then that the results were not what I was hoping for.

Shit!  I turned to Jeff who had pulled Nick out of the attic and promptly laid down on the bed so he could be ring-side for the conversation.  I gave him a thumbs-down.

"It's fine."  I told her.  "Go ahead."

"Well, the area we took was a basal cell.  It goes down a little ways so it's not superficial.  I'm going to recommend that you do the Mohs procedure to remove the rest because it is on your face."  

At this point, Vince and Nick are running circles around the room, jumping on an off the bed yelling about the various decorations that are now spread out all over our bedroom.

"Do you know what Mohs is?"  The doctor asked me.

"Yes."  I half-lied.  I knew my father had had the procedure and figured I could only hear pieces of her detailed explanation, anyway.  I'll Google it later, I thought to myself.

"So, I'm going to refer you to another doctor here in my office for the procedure."

"Why can't you do the surgery?"

"I'm not trained in Mohs."  She told me.


I turned and mouthed the words "she can't do it" to Jeff, barely audible.

"Ok."  I told her.

"Now you know this is just basal cell.  It's totally treatable.  If it were a squamous or a melanoma, there could be a threat of it becoming more invasive."

I could feel the tears starting.  I choked them back.

"I know."  I finally managed.

"The doctor will clear the area on the skin and you'll have a cosmetic closure so there won't be a mark on your beautiful, young face."

"Ok.  I understand."

"Ok, well you make sure you call the office tomorrow morning to make an appointment.  The procedure typically takes all morning.  If they are having a hard time fitting you in, call me back and I'll pull some strings."

At this moment, in a display of deep sensitivity, Nick jumped next to me, shoved his dirty sock in my face, and yelled:


I grabbed the sock and threw it at him.  I couldn't help but giggle at the absurdity of the whole scene.  

"Ok.  Thank you, doctor." 

We hung up.

I laid down next to Jeff on the bed.

"So you're going to be ok?"  He asked in his reassuring voice.  

"I have to have more cut out of the side of my nose."

"But you're going to be ok?"

"Putting all vanity aside, yes.  Yes, I am going to be ok."

"That's all that matters."

"Easy for you to say."

"Honey, you'll be fine.  I know it sucks that it's on your face but you'll have a great surgeon and everything will heal fine."

"Mommy, come on!"  Nick had no time for this wallowing in self-pity nonsense.  "Let's put the decorations out!  We want to do these spiders on the light!  Come downstairs!"  He grabbed a box of sparkly, bendy spiders and headed downstairs to the chandelier over our dining table.  I rolled off the bed and followed behind with a few more items in-hand.

I sat down and watched both Vince and Nick stand on the table and busily bend spider's legs around the arms of the light fixture.  Debating over which were the best spots, were they spacing them out enough, were they secure enough.  Soon the light was over-run with spiders.

"Looks good guys!"

"Is it scary?" Vince asked.

"If I didn't know that they were harmless, I might be scared for a second."  I told him.

"Yeah, they're not very scary."  Nick stood back and marveled at he and his brother's creation.

"Now what?"  Vince asked.

"How about this?"  I handed him a ceramic skull.

And Halloween decorating, and life went on.