Friday, May 9, 2014

adventures with the mole patrol



getting older is not my favorite thing. i feel like i am still twenty-five on the inside and yet my body is not cooperating with my internal clock. combine that with the fact that doctors are repeatedly telling me "you're not as young as you used to be," and "well, at your age..." seriously, people. i get the picture. i know how old i am. no need to write my advancing years in the sky.

one of the joys of the late thirties is that medical procedures that once seemed far off are now imminent. words like mammogram, colonoscopy, and suspicious moles start to be recurrent. it's like a variation on a theme, chanting your age repeatedly from the medical profession.

well, one of those calls came this week as i went to my dermatologist for my annual full body scan. with fair skin, light eyes and a family history of melanoma, these scans take place on a yearly basis. i like to call this "the mole patrol." i thought this term was incredibly witty until i went into my first scan a couple of years ago. i did not realize at that time how true the phrase was. i figured the doctor would look at the basic areas of my skin, where moles already existed, and then i'd move on. oh no, that didn't even begin to describe the event. after telling me to strip completely naked and giving me the most attractive disposable gown, they came back into the room to perform the "scan." scan isn't exactly how i would describe it. frankly, i'm not sure why they bothered with a gown at all. 

the doctor came in wearing a lamp on his forehead. no joke. it looked like he was mining for gold. i should have told him then that there was no treasure to be found in them thar hills but my wit got lost somehow in the midst of my exposure. he asked me to stand and then proceeded to look over every inch of skin on the surface of my body. every. inch. i knew things were going to be bad when he pulled down the gown and looked at my boobs. he then told me he was going to lift up one boob at a time to look at the skin underneath it. if that doesn't tell you the state of your less-than-perky boobs, i don't know what will. he then proceeded to my back. when he told me he was going to separate my butt cheeks, i started looking around for a hidden camera. surely this cannot be normal procedure. but there was the nurse, chatting with me about the weather and what movies were out. seriously, he is looking in my butt crack and you want to know what i'm doing this weekend? crawling into the first available hole, that's what. mole patrol? i'm pretty sure the patrol had left the building and we were on to full scale excavation at this point. 

this fun was repeated this week. i know. crazy.  i went back. i do it every year. i swallow whatever pride i have left and get the job done. you see, i had a sweet friend die of melanoma a few years ago. you can read her store here. two more of my friends have had it in various stages. one has a large scar on her shoulder where it was removed. the other has a scar covering his entire abdomen as he lost an abdomen full of lymph nodes where the cancer had spread. one mole the doctor saw on my face this week was explained to be "probably nothing." probably nothing isn't quite good enough for me. i told him to cut that sucker out right then and there. 

the mole patrol may be miserably uncomfortable. having the doctor shoot my nose up to numb it so he could carve a chunk out of my right nostril...admittedly not so fun. still, i have had five babies. i have had so many people up in my business i couldn't remember them all if i tried. i've given birth in teaching hospitals. it was like a class reunion in my delivery rooms. really, if i can get over the number of people who have seen my push a baby out, what's the big deal with the butt crack? i have carried five babies and delivered them all. i am one tough cookie and really, what is there to be modest about? when it is all said and done, the fact that i have had five babies motivates me to do whatever it takes to be around for them as long as i can. if that means someone with a lamp on his forehead inspecting my nether regions then so be it. if that means i'll have a huge hole in my nose for mother's day this year, there's no better badge to wear. if this is the worst my late thirties can throw at me, bring it on. i can take it.