On the Natch

Baby Boomer, Grrrrandma, Urban Goddess
MAY 20, 2009 3:13PM

Not Normal, Not Cancer. WTF?!?

Rate: 8 Flag

I am a real redhead, and should probably never have moved to the Mohave Desert, but there, it's done.

My dermatologist has frozen many keratoses and quick-before-they-metamorphose nevi off my nose, arms, neck and shoulders in the last few years; it hurts like fuck for a few minutes, but it's always been quick and they've always been non-cancerous.

About 18 months ago, I started developing something I laughingly referred to as Satan's Love Bite. On the upper, outer quadrant of my left breast, a mole started to grow. And grow.

Meantime, I left my erstwhile job in March of 2008, and from then until April of 2009, my Devil's Mark grew. And grew. I had no health insurance between March of '08 and April of '09, so I just had to watch it grow.

I couldn't wear a t-shirt braless in the Las Vegas summer, because I was starting to look like I had three nipples. And even by Vegas standards, three nipples are not a draw.

At its max, the "thing" was a half-an-inch across, dark brown and shaped kind of like Madagascar. It had its own zip code. When my insurance from my new job kicked in, I finally persuaded my dermatologist to shave it off; she did, though she told me "It's not cancerous. I can tell you that just from looking at it. And it probably won't be covered by insurance if it's not cancerous; they'll consider this a cosmetic procedure." But I insisted. She got out the electric scalpel.

Her assistant, a nice young man, did a great job numbing my breast; I hardly felt the needle slide in. Or out. Four times. (Very little bruising afterwards, either.) Dr. T. got to work, and in about five minutes, my third nip was gone; all that remained was the smell of burning flesh.

That was May 9. I've practiced good wound care since then, but otherwise haven't thought much about the sample Dr. T. sent to be biopsied. She said she could tell it wasn't cancerous, right?

Got a voicemail last night. "Hi, this is Dr. T's. office. We got your lab results. They're fine. The sample wasn't normal, but it wasn't cancer. We'll discuss it when you come back in."

Hhhm. Not cancer? Good. Not normal? We'll discuss it? Don't know if I like the sound of that.

I'll let you know what I find out.

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nothing like an ambiguous message to may you worry.
oops, make that 'make' you worry.
My god - PUH-lease take care of those babies!


you wear T-shirts bra less? oh...
You'll be okay. Promise.
First of all, when a doctor says they can tell it's not cancer by looking at it - run! We had a plastic surgeon/derm. who said that too, except he was always wrong. Secondly, pre-cancer is what she is talking about, your body might be practicing on how to make cancer cells better - good time to do research and see what you can do to stave it off - speaking from years of working with doctors. :)
It's most likely a "basal cell" mass which isn't deadly, but needs to be watched. I'm guessing, but based on my dad's history I would say that's why she didn't seem worried. If it were "squamous cell", then she would have used the "C" word.
"Basal cell carcinoma is the most common of all types of skin cancer. Statistically speaking, approximately 3 out of 10 caucasians develop a basal cell cancer within their lifetime."

I'm pretty sure it's just a benign growth she will want to keep an eye on and have you keep an eye on. Not "abnormal" either, just not normal for your skin.
Cap'n, if I were German, I would say something with the verb at the end, like, "the nail you have on the head hit!" Bingo!

Duaneart, yes, and yes. And thanks.

Deborah, thank you; I will heed your advice.

And Kind of Blue, I'm putting my money on you. Both my parents developed really deadly cancers and were dead by 66 in each case; my pop had multiple myeloma from age 55 to his death -- he was a tough little bastard-- most people lived 3-5 years post diagnosis at his time. My mother got pancreatic cancer and was dead within three months of diagnosis. So while I'm thinking/hoping you are right, I've got to be mindful that these things bear watching. Not that I want to go nuts over it.

(I'm pretty sure I could get Duaneart to volunteer to watch it.)

Many thanks to you all.

I'm a red-head too and just went to the dermatologist to have what I thought was some sort of mole removed from my nose. Turns out is was blood-vessels or something weird. But all I can remember is the doc kept saying "Where'd you get all this radiation!? You have red hair, you have to stay away from radiation!" He was a total spazz. Dude, I was born with freckles.
Julie, he sounds like an idiot! He may be a good doctor, but PR-wise, an idiot.

Wear a hat, and 30 or better sunblock, my sistah!

I don't know what "not cancer/not normal" means, but Deborah Young's idea seems reasonable. That damn pre-cancer.

I hope you hear soon and it's something that needs just a quick, low-level intervention. Keep the hat on, doll.
I hear ya talkin, wakingupslowly! Thanks!
I, too, have had lots of skin cancers removed. I hate that call! Usually it is not as bad as we imagine so I know you aren't freaking out.
We're with you though, girl. Keep us posted and we'll hope for the best.
This whole risking death because you don't have insurance thing sucks more than I can express. I'm glad it's not cancer and the pre-cancer theory seems likely. My husband is a redhead prone to odd freckles, so I have the utmost sympathy for your worries.
I've trained myself not to worry until there is something to worry about. In the meantime, enjoy your life and keep us posted.

Lifehalflived, you're right; I'm not too freaked. Writing about these things helps, don't you find?

Allie, Yes, make sure hubby checks, even between his toes, believe it or not! That's one of the bad things about living alone; I have no one handy to help me look at those "hard to reach" places!

Michael, I will follow both your good bits of advice.

Thanks again.

My OS friends are the shiznit!
Please take care of yourself,
we need you:)
I hereby volunteer to watch ANYTHING you're involved in.

don't forget.