Monday, March 7, 2011

The C-Word

 Written on Feb 23rd...

Cancer.  It’s a scary word, especially when you’re being told you have it at almost 38 weeks pregnant.  That word has been echoing through my head for about 24 hours now, and the fear it instills hasn’t quite lost its bite yet.  Granted, it’s only skin cancer, and is easily treatable, but I wasn’t at all prepared to hear that word so soon in my life.

This all started back in January when I went to my dermatologist for my 6-month mole check up.  I’m very fair skinned, so I am always having spots removed, but none have been cancerous before.  There was one spot that was worrying me, and I pointed it out to my doc at the beginning of my appointment.  She said she wanted to look at it again in a few weeks, and in the meantime we checked with my OBGYN to make sure it would be OK to remove it if that was necessary.  We got the go, and when my dermatologist looked at the spot again, she decided to remove it.  That was last week.  I went on my way, forgetting about it really with everything else we have going on, and didn’t think about it much.

Then yesterday, I received a call from my dermatologist who told me that I have a malignant melanoma. I was shocked.  I gasped to swallow the sobs that were building up and I tried to process what she was telling me.  The bad news is that melanoma is the “bad” skin cancer that spreads rapidly, but the good news, or I should say the GREAT news, is that I get checked every 6 months, so mine was caught early enough that it hasn’t spread yet, and it will be easily taken care of with a minor procedure.

I just can’t help but think what would have happened if I skipped that appointment like I wanted to.  In the short 6 months since my last appointment, this cancer grew fairly quickly, so I can’t imagine if I had waited to go back until the next 6 month cycle.  Would I have been diagnosed with a later stage cancer and told I only had a year or so to live with my brand new baby and husband?  I just can’t comprehend that scenario, and I’m now a little paranoid that there could be other spots on me that we’ve missed.  It also feels strange to be walking around knowing there is cancer in my body.  I just want them to cut it out as soon as possible, which hopefully they’ll be doing next week.

Luckily, this won’t impact the baby at all.  The only real concern right now is that if I go into labor right after they do the surgery, I could rip out my stitches, but that’s not the end of the world.  So, for now, we’re just hoping the baby stays put long enough to get this taken care of before he or she arrives.  I’m probably the only woman who is 37.5 weeks pregnant and hoping the baby stays put!

I sincerely hope this is the last bit of excitement we have until the baby gets here.  I know things could be worse, but I’ve had enough of dealing with medical surprises for now—no matter how serious.

Update: I had the surgery to remove the spot this past Friday and still no baby so I’m so glad this is behind me!  Stitches will come out on Thursday (depending on when baby comes since I'm due THIS Sunday!!).  Now, I’m officially just sitting here waiting for Baby B to arrive!  Will update on the pregnancy soon, but overall, besides this little blip, I’m feeling wonderful.


  1. Annie! I was so scared to read that first paragraph....and so relieved by the end when you said that everything was fine. I hope that cancer is only a "blip" for the rest of your life!!! You've inspired me to thoroughly check out my similarly fair skin and make sure there aren't any suspicious moles!

    Don't know if we'll see you tomorrow at the meeting, but if we don't.....GOOD LUCK and keep us posted!

  2. Wow, Annie... I just checked in to see how the baby is and saw this. I am so sorry to hear about this scare. You are an incredible trooper to be so upbeat in all of this! So glad to hear it you got it what an ordeal to happen at this time. I'm glad you are okay and hope to see you tomorrow! I'll keep you in my thoughts either way. Take care of you both!!

  3. Annie, you are incredible and so strong. I was so shocked to read what you wrote but I'm so glad things seem to be okay. Can't wait for what the next few weeks will bring and can't wait to meet your little one! Continue to feel great and hope to see you soon!

  4. Wow! What a whirlwind. I'm glad everything is turning out okay and Baby B is doing well! Good luck with the delivery- you will do great and your mind will be on happy happy things!

  5. Oh, Annie! I'm so sorry to hear about everything you are going through. I just read about the pulmonary stenosis and your dad and now this! I'm so sorry.

    Personally I know that cardiac issues were my biggest fear so it breaks my heart to hear you are going through this. But I can tell you 2 things from my experience in neonatology that may help you feel better. First, the pulmonary stenosis is unrelated to the diabetes as far as we know and there was nothing that you could have done to prevent it. Second, it is a fairly mild congenital hart defect and the prognosis is good, ESPECIALLY since it has been caught so early. Now any repairs can be done before the baby develops any issues. And it makes me happy to hear that the doctors think it is a mild stenosis, that is also a good sign.

    Reading your most recent letter to your little one I loved that you asked the baby to be strong. Leading up to my delivery I did the same thing, I "spoke" with my little one and asked her to be strong and hang in there no matter what. A while has passed since this post and I'm assuming you've delivered. I pray that you and the baby are both very well. I'm very excited to hear if it was a boy or a girl and possibly to see pictures. Good luck with everything and stay strong!