My mother was listening to a radio show on the prevalence of skin cancer one afternoon in my 17th year. I, being a teenager, found the program to be irrelevant. After all, I was 17. Old people got skin cancer. 17 year olds got mono and sprained ankles. 17 year olds have no time for any such nonsense as skin cancer.
So, imagine how I reacted when my mom found a mole on my back when I got out of the shower later that week.
“Girzle!” (Girzle is her pet name for me and my sister. I have no idea where it is from) my mom yelled at me, “Don’t run out of the bathroom naked! Get your robe…wait a second. Come here!”.
Now I was really confused. My sister and I regularly ran around the upstairs in just underwear when we were getting ready for school. The more it embarrassed my dad, the more we were encouraged. My mom usually yelled half-heartedly and ran around in her own underwear. She usually yelled, then I’d go get dressed. But this time she didn’t let me get to my room and started looking at the spots on my back. Being fair skinned and light eyed, I had a lot of them. What was so special about the one on my back?
“Remember that program I listened to on WJR? JP McCarthy had a radio show all about skin cancer. I think the dermatologist should see this.” I had an appointment later in the week for my teenage acne, so why fight over this one, I thought.
It was a good thing I didn’t. Quite literally, the DJ saved my life. If my mom never heard the show, who knows when the melanoma would have been detected?
More recently, the DJ saved my life again. Not the same DJ, nor the same city, or even the same type of program. This time it was a morning show on my favorite local radio station, WPXY. He didn’t even really talk about cancer at all. So how did he save my life? He mentioned his wife had just passed her boards in dermatology. I was in the market for a good dermatologist. I looked her up and made an appointment. She removed two suspicious moles from my back and sent them off for biopsy. Then she asked me about my lymph nodes, checked those, called my medical oncologist, and told me if I didn’t hear from her it was good news.
Guess who I heard from earlier this week? Yep, those moles turned out to be pre-cancerous. Had I waited the year that the previous skin doc wanted me to wait, who knows what would have happened? So again, the DJ saved my life.
I spent Saturday night at a fancy shmancy event with my husband. My favorite part of these events are the requisite raffle tickets one feels obligated to purchase. Why is this my favorite part? Because the last two or three events, I have won! Saturday night’s was no exception. Earlier this week I was notified, in addition to the pre-cancerous moles, that I had won a Jay Strongwater frame, with a retail value of (I think) $895! What scares me about this win, though, is that the last time I won a “big” prize at an event, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the same week. Are the Guys In The White Van going to be waiting for me outside my oncologist’s office like they were in April? Tomorrow will tell–I have the oncology appointment my dermatologist, the one whose husband saved my life, made for me. I am praying the dysplastic moles were enough to satisfy The Guys In The White Van’s insatiable lust for my flesh. Because this time, the only DJ around will be the one running the thoughts and fears in my head.