Today is the first day out of the house since I found out cancer had been living on my leg. The cancer had been there for months, uninvited, slowly growing and spreading on the back of my left calf, hidden in a brown mole.
Today, I feel like a person walking in a life size ziploc bag. A specimen stuck in a plastic bag, with a typewritten piece of paper in front of my face, that reads. SHE HAS SKIN CANCER.
Today reminded me of the first time I went out two days after my first child was born in 1995. I had driven alone to the video store. I felt like I was apart from all the people, like I was in a ziploc bag. The note in my ziplock bag said, SHE JUST HAD A BABY. I felt separate from the rest of the people in the store. I wanted to walk up to everyone in the store then, and tell each of them, ” I just had a baby. Did you know, I just had a baby. Having a baby is wonderful. Do you have children? You should have children. I just had a daughter, and I am her mother.”
I didn’t say anything to anyone. I handed the cashier money and walked out with my video.
Today I wanted to walk up to everyone and say to them, ” I have skin cancer. Did you know I have skin cancer? I just had a mole cut off and it was malignant melanoma. Do you check your skin? Did you know skin cancer is deadly.” My brain was filled with the word, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer. Like a tape player that was playing two tracks at the same time.
I didn’t say anything about my skin. I politely talked about the weather, and asked, “How was your trip to Florida”, as the cancer medley sound track looped in my mind.