The Spots of Life


In Writer’s Group today the first prompt was to finish this sentence:” X marked the spot where….”. This week on facebook there was a link floating around titled “Dear 16 Year Old Me” that reminded me of this true story, which is responded to in our writer’s group as if it’s fiction.

Writer’s Group June 25, 2011

“The Spots of Life”

            X marked the spot where he rubbed the alcohol before the tiny injection that numbed the area. I waited on my back trying to breathe slowly to calm myself. The nurse moved instruments around on the side table, the Dr. waited also. Then he picked the metal object I’m sure was a scalpel but I never look at those sort of things.

I stared at the ceiling and chattered nervously as I often do when I’m afraid or nervous. The Dr. leaned over my mid-section and started to push against my skin with a firm touch. I could feel the pressure but not the cold of the metal or the pain of skin being removed.

I don’t remember if he got it all in one motion or went back to cut more but the scar is almost perfectly circular so I’m assuming he got it all in one swipe.

He said he would call with the results of the pathology report in less than a week. Two days later he asked me to come back in as soon as possible so they could remove some of the surrounding skin.  I tried not to worry, he said it wasn’t cancer.

When I got in the office he explained that the wording of the report concerned him. “Severely abnormal tissue” was his common language explanation. The brochure and his own words explained that the best guess right now is that these moles might become cancerous but they can’t say for sure.

I’m glad I showed my family Dr. the bright red ring around this dark colored spot on my belly and I’m glad he referred me to a Dermatologist. I had a few months of nervous checking and more moles removed, none were as ‘abnormal’ as that first one, thankfully.

Later that year my brother had a large incision in his back as they removed the melanoma mole his Dr. friend noticed in the locker room one day. We are now all considered ‘High Risk’ and get checked regularly. My fair skinned father has passed down our sensitivity to the sun and our love of the outdoors. Finding the balance between protection and life giving sunlight (along with it’s vitamin D) is now a part of my routine.


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