Monday, March 5, 2012

So, it's not the best news...

...but it's not the worst news either. 

On Tuesday I went in to have a biopsy on a little bump of skin on my eyelid.  It's been there since I got pregnant with Addie and I figured it was one of those weird skin things that happens with pregnancy.  When I went to my first dermatologist appt for a full body check in mid February, she felt like we should take it off just as a precaution.  The procedure was no fun.  It wrecks me to have needles of Novocain in my mouth, so in my eyelid...ack, no good.   

Thursday I got a call from my doctor that it was skin cancer.  I have Basal Cell Carcinoma.  I went into shock and don't remember much more of the conversation with her.  Somehow I opened a Word document and started typing.  Then I hung up and dialed a number on that paper, made an appointment and kept typing.  No blood thinners, no ibuprofen, no drinking for one week after.  Once in a while I would whisper "how do you spell that?".  Later when I read my Word document, there was only one line of words that I even remember typing.

Basal Cell Skin Cancer.  

What I do know is that if you have to have skin cancer, this is the best one to get, it is slow growing and usually does not spread.  

I will have something called Mohs surgery done on March 14 at 7 am that will take all day, I am to expect quite a bit of bruising, and there will be a reconstructive surgeon there.  This wouldn't be as scary except that I have had this thing on my eyelid for 5 years.  The picture above shows the spot on my eye where the cancer is.  The Mohs procedure sounds dreadful, but at the end of that day, I should know one way or the other if all the cancer is gone, and the doctor believes it will be.  

A friend from High School got melanoma in the fall, she sent me an email at that time to urge me to make a dermatologist appt and get checked out, when I did, this thing on my eye was the last thing I was thinking about.  I only considered taking it off as a cosmetic thing, and I'm so jumpy around my eyes that I didn't hate it enough to go through that. I'm so thankful for her urging, I don't know when I would have gotten around to doing it if I didn't put it on my NY resolution list, for the sake of my 4th grade BFF.

Lawrence, who sometimes has a knack of reacting to medical things in an unsympathetic way, could not have been more amazing or more exactly what I needed Thursday night.  And every day since.  He sure does come through for me whenever it really matters.  He said and did all the right things.  He cried.  He loved on me.  I have so much support in him.

I was up most of the night Thursday and Friday, not being able to shut my brain off, praying, thinking about how to tell everybody.  I know a mass email or a blog is a shit way, but the energy that it takes to share all the info, especially over a phone call is almost so exhausting I can't bare it.

I got the call from the doctor (who wasn't worried A BIT when she removed the "thing") at work at 4:45.  Luckily I carpooled with my my good friend Shawna, so I didn't have to drive home and I got to weep next my friend while she sat there not knowing what to say, but listening and working through it with me.  And that was okay, perfect actually.  I am so grateful that I got the call, gathered my things and I was able to see the face of my friend within 10 minutes.  Then I told Lawrence when I got home, then I called my mom after I got the kids to bed.  Then I called my brother Friday morning.  

I had Lawrence tell his family because I just can't find the balance of dropping the news and then reassuring them that it will all be okay.  I am amazed at how much nerve and energy it takes to work up dialing the number to deliver this kind of news on a phone call.  

Written word is by far the easiest way for me.  Each time I have to tell another person, it feels really chest crushing.  My brother told me to stop worrying about others feeling bad, and I know he is right, but that's just how I am.  And cancer is a really scary word.  I hate to cause worry or sadness.  But I need to just let my care taking guard down and let myself be cared for.  Loved.  Worried about.

Dear friends, I know I will be okay, and even now I feel guilty dumping this on you and bringing any stress to your day.  At the same time, I also need your love, prayers, & encouragement.  I know I need to learn to feel entitled to my feelings, and allow myself to feel how much this sucks, and let those that love me carry some of the burden for me, with me.

This weekend I meditated on this verse:
Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4: 5-6

And also this verse:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all things acknowledge him and he shall direct your way.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

Please pray that I will have the peace of God which transcends all understanding these next few weeks. 

I also please ask that you take the time for yourself to get checked by a dermatologist, and put it on the list of yearly appointments that are a must for your own self care.  I hate to think how long I would have gone if it wouldn't have been for ShanRae, and I also know that I NEVER imagined that this thing I've looked at in the mirror for the past 1800 days was cancerous.  

In spite of all of this, and maybe because of all of this, I had an amazing wonderful weekend with my family, and an outpouring of love from those who love me.  Emails, texts, words of kindness and encouragement beyond my wildest imagination.  Words that tell me how much I matter to people.    I wonder if there could be a better medicine.  

I hope that you understand why I couldn't deliver the call to each of you individually, but I just couldn't do it.


  1. Oh Jen, I am so glad that you had that checked out!! You have my prayers and I have faith in God and Jesus that you will be fine. Thank you for sharing and spreading the word for others to get checked. I love you sis. Lori Greenway

  2. Jenny I love you and your family very much. Cancer is a very scary word that I have heard twice in my life and the worry and racing thoughts and the unknown is not good but life is good and friends and family are wonderful. we do what we have to do and wish hope and pray for the best. You shared your news so you will have many prayers and Love sent your way during this difficult time. Im glad its a cancer that sounds like its isolated and they can get rid of the area...that is good news. so much love is sent your way. I love you Jenny. Aunt Laurie

  3. Praying for Gods healing touch!!

    Take Care,

  4. sending all the love in the world. You should feel it wash over your home here shortly as it travels much faster than my car. You are quite loved. You are an amazing woman. Even in this, so generous.
    ~clover e

  5. You're awesome, Jenny! I'm glad you shared. I will be praying for you. I've heard the word cancer many times and have learned not to panic immediately. Sometimes it turns out to be huge with long, miserable treatments and, of course, it took my grandfather's life, which we knew our time was limited with him at that point anyway, not that the news was any less shocking when we found out how he would die, but we knew his health was failing. Others have turned out to be fairly simple and just removing it in surgery took care of the problem and they have lived long, healthy lives since, which it sounds like will most likely be the case with you. Praying! Love you!


  6. Jenny, thank you for having the courage to put not only your news but your reaction to it in words. I will indeed be praying for you. I read your blog immediately after completing my homework for Bible Study. The last section of that homework referred us to those exact same two verses you mentioned in your blog. The chapters we are working through are about dealing with the "thorns" in your life that cause you pain and trials. I know that you will work through this thorn with God's grace. May God bless you with comforting thoughts and transcending peace.