last wednesday i learned that a friend of mine had been diagnosed with melanoma. it really pisses me off when people i love and care about are diagnosed with cancer. i feel like my diagnosis was in part to take one for my collective team, and those that i love should never have a diagnosis themselves. so when they do it is hard for all of the obvious reasons, but for me, it is even more difficult because i know how it feels to hear those words. and when i know they have heard the words "melanoma" i can relate even more and the pieces of my heart begin to clink around all over again.
last friday morning i learned that shannon had finished her fight.
last week i was in kansas city for training for a few days. out of a class of 14, i was one of two women (that will be a post of its own some day). the other woman in the class sat directly across from me and she had a huge band aid on her chin. whenever i see anyone with a band aid on their face, arm, leg, etc - i immediately think that they have had a biopsy. of course, i did not ask her any questions and hoped for her sake that she had not had a biopsy.
randomly (or maybe not so much), i sat next to her at dinner on friday night. i heard her tell one of the other people at the table that she had gone in to her see her doctor earlier in the week. she had a spot on her chin that kept scabbing and healing for over a year, and so she finally went into her doctor. she said that since she lives in florida, she is out in the sun all the time, doesn't ever wear sunscreen, and never has her skin checked (i would think that if you lived in florida you might be doing the opposite but that is just me). she said that her doctor was concerned that she had the issue for so long and that he had taken a big chunk out of her chin so now she had to wear this "stupid band aid." she then said that he had mentioned concern that it might be skin cancer, and she said "so if it is skin cancer, then it is just blah blah blah."
blah. blah. blah.
hearing those three words come out of her mouth pretty much put me at my breaking point. i had felt all day like i could barely keep it together, it took everything i had to override wanting to sit in my hotel room and cry to get out and actually go to dinner in the first place. and then because the cancer fates really like to mess with me, melanoma comes up within the first ten minutes of dinner.
so to hear "blah blah blah" as if it was nothing, was of course super hard for me to hear - not only because of what i have been through, but for all of my friends with melanoma, those still fighting and those that have hung up their boxing gloves. especially painful since it was just hours after i had heard about shannon.
there were probably a million things that i wanted to say to her at that point. but i took a deep breath and realized that i didn't want to say those things to her, i wanted to say them to melanoma. because she doesn't know what she doesn't know, and i hope that she never knows. and she certainly didn't need to hear my story as she was waiting to hear her own test results. i am pretty sure a "it was stage iii when i was first diagnosed and then spread to my lung" story isn't what anyone wants to hear when they think it will be blah blah blah.
so instead i spent the evening talking to her about our lives, our kids, how we both like to craft, etc. it seemed like a much better way to send her my good thoughts than unleashing something on her that really wasn't about her to begin with.
i have been thinking about her this week and hoping that she hears or has already heard the words "benign".
that is the kind of blah blah blah i wish for her.
the world needs more of that kind.
that i know for sure.