While home in Louisiana for the holidays, the family was gathered around a bottle of Jack Daniels and a case of beer (ah, tradition), when mama looked at my face and said, “What’s that thing?”
That thing was a bump on my nose that’s been sitting there for close to two years. Don’t know why she just noticed it then. I’d even shown it to a fancy dermatologist in New York who said it was nothing, gave me a prescription for my scalp itchies (what I’d made the visit for in the first place) and sent me on my way.
My mother’s a nurse, so she gives exactly two shits about the opinions of most doctors. “Looks like something to me. You better get that checked out.”
“Fine,” said I. “I’ll do it when I get back to New York.”
“I mean like immediately,” she said.
At which point the family began singing the praises of Dr. Michael Doucet, the only dermatologist in Opelousas, La. Apparently, he’s quick with the slash and burn, so if nothing else, he’d remove the wee bump from the bridge of my nose. Strings were pulled and an appointment was made two days before Christmas.
Dr. Doucet didn’t waste any time before declaring that it was likely a basal cell carinoma and that while he would remove it from my nose, he’d also have to send it off to the lab for a biopsy. He explained that basal cell carcinoma may rhyme with melanoma, but it’s in essence the 90-pound-weakling of the cancer world. My initial reaction was “Fuck me. I caught the cancer.”
So he shot it up with juice, sliced the thing off and sent me on my way with a Band-Aid on my nose. Of course, at about this time I was rocking a pretty serious zit just off my lower lip and hadn’t shaved in a couple days so I looked like a fever-blistered hobo.
Yesterday, I finally got the results from the biopsy and it was positive. I did, indeed, catch the cancer. Before anyone breaks down into tears and runs off to buy a case of Livestrong bracelets, I’d ask you to chill the hell out. Far as I can tell, it’s not serious. Indeed, you’d be embarrassed to tell a person with “real” cancer that you have basal cell. It’d be like telling the guy going through a nasty divorce that the woman you went on the blind date with didn’t return your call.
Besides, I’ve got insurance, and the wheels are turning to get me an appointment with the good folks at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Hopefully, I’ll have it all scraped away and said scraping won’t require the purchase of a new shnoz. (If it does, I’m totally getting a much bigger, more bublous nose, calling myself a Kennedy and calling up David Patterson.)
Not only did Web 2.0 not cure my cancer, I think it got pissed off at all my mockery and gave me cancer!
7 thoughts on “I Got Cancer for Christmas”
Glad your mom got you to check it out. Skin cancer is on top on the list of most prominant cancers. Let us know if you have questions about screenings, insurance, etc. Glad to help!
Eh, here in Arizona, you’re not considered old enough to rent a car if you haven’t had a little basal cell yet.
Hope you’re feeling better soon.
Ken, you are one of the only writers I know who could make me laugh at a post about a positive cancer diagnosis! Yeesh! Here’s to a healthy New Year. And jobs with good health insurance.