Its funny to think that 3 whole years have passed since I was first diagnosed with Skin Cancer. Its been a whirlwind of appointments with mixed emotions, and apparently I have reached quite a milestone. I was at my latest appointment this week and if you have read my previous post, you will know that these are stressful and leave me feeling so anxious. The consultant did her usual checks and she was happy that everything was looking good. I had a mole I was worried about but she said it was fine and we would just keep a check on it.
The initial Melanoma was taken out and cleaned up. If you have followed my story you will know I have had 5 more cut out over the three years. Thankfully they have all come back benign, with two coming back as “potential to change” This is pretty scary, and I am just thankful that I was being checked to get them whipped off quickly. There is always the worry that it will come back. There is always that voice in your head, what if.
When I was at the hospital this week It came to the discussion of the milestone. When your a cancer patient the years play a huge part. They become mini milestones and I reached my first one. I have reached three years. Three. Whole. Years. Living this nightmare. But as the consultant said, this is good news, the risk is ever so slightly lower of it actually coming back. I have not had a re-occurance. I should be ecstatic, but its very hard to actually be happy, when you know that this will hang over you for the rest of your life.
Up until now, I have been watched carefully by the skin cancer consultants and plastic surgeons. I have been returning to the hospital every 3 months to have in depth checkS, to make sure its all as it should. Because I have reached this mini milestones those three monthly checks are now being moved, to six monthly checks. This is where the panic set in. It was where, I literally sat opened mouthed staring blankly at the consultant. This is where I begin to loose control of that comfort blanket I have had for the past 3 years.
Dont get me wrong, I am so so happy I have got to this point, where they feel I am ok, to reduce the appointments. But my goodness, its put the frighteners on me just a little. I know that I see someone regularly and I am lucky that I have had that, but leaving it an extra 3 months to see a professional scares me just a little. It also means, that in 2 years, I wont be able to have that comfort of any appointment, I will be discharged fully from the skin cancer clinic. It worries me and makes me so anxious. The doubt kicks in and I start to over analyse my skin, my moles and my blemishes.
Unfortunately this is my life now, this is what I will be doing, for the next 50 or so years. Checking, measuring, noting any change. Its something I now have to live with. Its been a rollercoaster 3 years, you never ever think it will get you. I never thought It would get me. It did, but I am learning to deal with the effect its had on me. I am learning every single day about melanoma, still 3 years on.
But for now, I am trying to have a mini celebration for reaching the three year milestone. Its good news, but news that will take time adjusting too. Knowing the comfort blanket is slipping away. But also knowing the chances of it recurring are reducing as the years pass.