Me – On Being Thankful and Cancer Scares

It is Canadian Thanksgiving and this year I have even more than usual to be thankful for, especially after my experience on Friday. This past year has been challenging – even more so than usual. My mother was ill over the summer and in and out of hospital. We moved her closer to us and have been directing her health care from here. That is both a challenge and a blessing. Some of you readers know we have a child with special needs and that means each and every day carries with it more challenges. There are also more grace notes too.
Moments when this summer my mother would call out of the blue from the hospital and say: “I appreciate everything you are doing for me. God really knew what he was doing when he gave me you.”
Never in 40 years has she said such lovely things.
Moments when my little one, seven, is so charming and awesome and fantastic at school or just in life that I am blown away. My heart is lifted when she says on the way to SARI therapeutic riding program: “Mommy I thought I would be terrified of this and I didn’t know I would love it so much. Sometimes you pick things for me and I think I don’t know about this and then I love it and I am so happy you do that for me. Thank you.”
Anyways all of this is by way of saying that life got even busier than usual for us over the past few months and so when I spotted weird white spots on my back I let them slide for longer than I would have normally. Then my kids started pointing them out and they seemed to spread to my legs. My husband noticed. My mother noticed. They began to itch and be really uncomfortable. As a Mom I am the chief cook and bottlewasher – as they say. I am the schedule keeper and the advocate 24/7 for both kids and now my Mom and that means my days are a lot of appointments. So much so that I get sick of appointments. A lot of my days lately have been health care triage. Who’s health care issue takes priority today? My Mom’s? My daughter’s? Will anyone be going to ER? Any new school related triage issues? I write and I also help run a non profit that supports other adoptive families. Sometimes they are in crisis, unable to parent a child they felt able to just months ago. We try to catch and support families before they are disrupting. Sometimes they need more help than we can give. For the most part, my husband takes care of his own health related issues and he is good about that. Both of his parents passed away of cancer in the last decade, so he needs to be vigilant.
Anyways, the itchiness was getting really awful and my back was getting spottier. I have always been a sun worshipper so I began to worry about the possibility of melanoma, skin cancer. I have loads of moles, or nevis as they call them and truly, I am a July baby so the summer is the season I treasure most. So finally I picked up the phone and called my family doctor. He was perplexed. He proclaimed them weird lesions and he booked me an appointment with a dermatologist. On Friday after a lengthy wait I finally got in to see the dermatologist and it struck me while I was there that I was more concerned than I thought I had been. If I had a skin cancer or melanoma how would that fit into our life? Not that cancer cares about that. My melodramatic side had visions of a Lifetime movie moment in which the mother (me) is diagnosed with melanoma.
The dermatologist, a lovely doctor, took one look and proclaimed it strange. Wow. Perhaps one for the books. I have never, well maybe once in 31 years, seen this in adults, he said. What you have is a Halo Nevis. Multiple Halo Nevii actually. It is what happens when the immune system attacks the moles on your body and simply removes them biologically. No melanoma. Just a strange thing that will eventually disappear. My immune system has decided to remove about a dozen of my moles. It is very odd, he said. The big white spots around my moles are depigmentation. It is a natural thing the body does before the mole simply disappears. Eventually the pigment returns. The itching is most likely because of the immune response. He joked that if we could bottle that process and sell it on the Dragon’s Den we might be rich. It is, apparently the only way moles can be removed without physical scarring. The dermatologist checked all of the remaining moles over thoroughly and advised me what to look for in the future. There were no raised areas, or asymmetrical shapes or different colours. Those kinds of changes can be cause for alarm and they can be skin cancer. If you have any of those types of changes to moles, get to the doctor quickly to have them looked at.

I thanked him, breathed a big sigh of relief and tweeted my friends. “Whew, no cancer. Happy Clapping.”

A dozen or so wrote me back with their own cancer scares. Several clapped happily with me and, in that way that some of my best friends, savvy social media entrepreneurs and businesswomen have, they boosted me up onto their amazing strong shoulders. Heather of reminded me to write about it.

So this is me, being grateful, being thankful on Thanksgiving Day weekend.

What do you give thanks for?

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Skees

    Glad to hear you don’t have anything to worry about in this instance and that what you have is just “weird.”

    As for what am I thankful for, the list is long:
    1) loving husband
    2) Miss R.
    3) supportive family on all sides
    4) great friends like YOU

  • Mara

    What your mom said to you was so special. It sounds like you’re life never has a dull moment. I’m so glad you had halo nevis or whatever it was called. Cancer scares are just that. Scary. You DO have lots to be Thankful for.

  • Christy @ Insanity Is Not An Option

    I’m so happy you see the beauty in things and try to relish in those rather than the negatives. I strive to do the same in my own life! I’m am elated that your fears have been laid to rest! What’s a little itching right? And I am thankful for my wonderful husband and my 6 happy, healthy children!

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