I have melanoma.

I suppose this blog is going to go in a different direction for a while. I was needing inspiration for posting, but this is not really what I had in mind. Go with what you’re given, I guess. So here we go…

Four or five months ago, I starting noticing a pinkish-red raised bump on my upper front thigh. At first I didn’t think a whole lot of it, maybe just a big bite or something since it kinda itched. It never went away, however. I would forget about it and then it would start itching again and I would pay attention more and then forget again. After about two months or so, my conscience got the best of me and I made up my mind to call the dermatologist and get an appointment to have it looked at. Life got busy and it took about a month for me to get around to calling. It was the first week of August that I called. I was able to schedule an appointment for September 22nd.

I don’t know what I was thinking would happen when I went to the doctor, but it was a better experience in my brain. Don’t get me wrong, they were professional and orderly and adequately friendly, but I got the quick impression that they weren’t very impressed with my little spot. After a quick look and a poke or two, she said it was probably just a blahblahblah (i am horrible at medical terms, get used to it) and it was probably nothing but she would scrape it out and send it on for testing, just in case.

I quickly left. I’m not going to lie, I was kinda embarrassed about the whole thing. I thought to myself “Stupid Juli! You are just turning into an old hag lady now and have old hag lady spots on your leg and those professionals probably rolled their eyes and cackled at your ignorance after you left!”

I’m not kidding. That’s what I thought.

So I had a band-aid and a bruised ego and I went on with my life. Not thinking too much more about the little scab on my leg that was slowly healing. My little spot that meant nothing. My 32nd birthday came and went. I embraced the new age like I always have. I’ve never been afraid of getting older (but maybe just a little afraid of any old hag lady spots). I hosted a wonderful family birthday party for my grandfather. We visited and laughed and enjoyed the cool, autumn days.

And then today came.

I’ve been exceptionally tired the last few days. I’m blaming it on doing the more strict Eat-Clean diet that calls for mostly lean proteins and veggies and not many carbs. I was lethargic today. Not functional. I was sitting in a daze. Then my phone rang. A message, “Call Dr. Lewis’ office.” Hmmmm. Doctor’s don’t ask you to call them unless they really have something to say. I was a little concerned.

Called the office. “Juli, Dr. Lewis wants you to come in today if you can and discuss the pathology results from your biopsy”.   MMmkay. I’ll be right there.

Hang up.

Think to myself, “oh shit”.

Frantically start googling everything possible about skin cancer.

Tell myself over and over again that it is probably nothing. Maybe basal cell carcinoma? That’s the one that’s less of a big deal. That’s probably it. That has to be it.

I leave school as soon as I can, go check Abby out of school, and drive as quickly as I can to the office. People are in the waiting room. Last time it took a good 20 minute wait. The receptionist tells me the doctor will see me as soon as she is done with the current patient. Only 5 minutes go by before they call me back. Worried, yes I am.

The nurse looks at me seriously and tells me it’ll only be a minute. She’s right. There’s Dr. Lewis. There’s Dr. Lewis’ serious face. That’s when things become a little surreal.

I hear her say “melanoma”.

I hear her say “blahblahblah” – the specific name for my weird melanoma that has no pigment, which caused her to not consider it as such to begin with.

I hear us both laugh when we both use the world “special” to describe me and my cancer.

I hear her say “MD Anderson”.

It’s at this point that I slightly start to freak out. I’m fighting breaking down and sobbing in front of her as hard as I can. People with little cancer spots don’t go to MD Anderson. People with SERIOUS cancer battles go there. She tells me she wants to be safe from the start and let the pro’s get it from the start. I agree. Let’s knock this thing out ASAP.

She talks more but at this point it is taking all I can do to focus on what she is saying. I want to cry. I want her to leave so I can cry.

She leaves to get the nurse. I cry. I search frantically for tissue before nurse gets back.

Nurse gives me papers.

I make sure my contact information is current. They will call MD Anderson and then MD will call me to set an appointment. I guess this is for real. I’m expecting the call tomorrow or the next day. I called my husband. I called my momma. I didn’t want to call anybody else. I wanted to cry. So that’s what I did.

I’m kinda in shock. I knew that spot didn’t seem right. I knew I needed to get it checked. Hopefully we found it early and it’s not going to be that big of a deal. I guess I will find out soon enough. I’m not letting myself fester on thoughts about this being a big deal, which it potentially can be. I am praying that my intuition to get the spot checked out was really a Higher intervention and blessing before it became something bigger.

Like I said, I will find out soon enough.

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them all.

Love —

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7 Responses to I have melanoma.

  1. Liz Michel says:

    Juli, you are a very strong woman. God made you strong. He has given you strength all your life and maybe all leading up to this very moment in time when you need it most. I will be praying for you on this journey ahead as I’m sure many will! Stay positive! 🙂

  2. Jeanette Johnson says:

    Ugh! I love you Juli….so sorry you are going through this. You are a strong, healthy, young women who is going to kick this littles cancers ass. PLEASE let me know if I can do anything for you! love you love you love you

  3. Hi Juli. I searched for “MD Anderson” and I found your post. My friend, Justin Parker, who my blog is about, was treated for late-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma at MD for two years. Although he didn’t make it, you should know that the doctors there are excellent and you will be in very good hands. We found out through visiting him and staying with him in the hospital for quite a while that some of the nurses can be a bit brusque at times, so my advice is to be pushy until you get someone who will listen to you. His family had great things to say about the doctors, though.

    I wish you the best of luck in your treatment, and my prayers are with you!


  4. Lisa and Jon says:

    Okay, I just asked you for details on Facebook. Now I have them. Information is important when dealing with cancer. Tried to read the photographed papers around the brochure——MD Anderson is the best. I would like to know more details about the diagnosis. Know right now you are feeling like you’re just hanging on. A lot coming at you. We’ll talk later. You are a VERY strong person and greatly loved. Draw on that love in the days ahead. If you need to talk, call. If you need somebody to go with you to the hospital, call. If you need somebody there to talk you through treatments or just sit with you, call. Don’t hesitate. We love you.

  5. Marilyn says:

    Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry. If ever anyone needed hugs, you do, right now. You are so strong. You will beat this. This is not more than you can handle.
    I am praying for you and for your family. If there is anything you need, please let me know.


  6. Haven Womack says:

    Still reading forward. Oh my God. How horrifying and yet seeing your dedication up to this point, I have no doubt that you will persevere. I hate feeling so voyeuristic reading about such a personal issue. I am rooting for you and your family.

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