In case you missed it, part 1, “A Spider Bite?” discusses a new bump that arose.
The visit and the surgery
At this point, the “bite” was about one inch in diameter with the “blister” about half an inch in diameter, red, and inflamed. I was embarrassed to remove the bandage for the nurse and doctor. I had definitely waited too long. Their surprise scared me. They didn’t have to say anything; it was written all over their faces. This had to be removed and removed now. There was no time for a follow-up appointment; it was happening right then. I had expected an antibiotic but not immediate excision.
Numbing, removal, stitches and an 8” bandage left me sort of wobbly with my head spinning. Results will be back in about 5 days. Those were tough days! When I lowered my arm just to walk, it throbbed. My whole arm ached. Those were long days! I wasn’t sure what to expect and, of course, I was a “Debbie Downer” expecting the worst.
The call came. It wasn’t a bite; it was a lesion. It wasn’t infected; it was squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)! Skin cancer! Melanoma? No! Are you sure? Will it come back? Do I have further treatment? This was skin cancer! And I thought it was a spider bite! My head was spinning. This had been skin cancer all along, and I had no clue. My doctor assured me that the marginal surrounding tissue was clear of any additional cancer cells. No more surgery, just healing.
My, how a phone call can bring such relief…and tears, tears of joy this time! I was flooded with emotions…emotions, such as fear, happiness, pain, relief, thankfulness, vulnerability, lack of control, uncertainty of life… My eyes were a little brighter, my step a little lighter, my smile a little freer, for I realized how, in the blink of an eye, my whole world can flip upside down. I found myself much more thankful.
More insect bites
What about the mission trip to Honduras? Well, I was allowed to travel with regular cleanings and a huge bandage that was difficult to keep on in sweltering heat. It was a challenge but well worth it. I must say, I watched those additional “insect bites.” We had taken malaria pills but I had learned bites can be deceiving. God took care of me and the group as we served the people of Honduras. I definitely came back with more blessings than I was able to give.
And now I have a lovely white scar running up the side of my forearm that I can tell great tales about.