“If you’re going to have cancer, this is the one to have – and it is great that we caught it early”.
Somehow, the nurse’s words were not making me feel better.
I hung up the phone on December 28 and just sat for a few minutes to let those words sink it.
Cancer. Skin cancer. And on my face, no less.
This is the same face I so lovingly slather creams and potions on each night to stave off all those inevitable signs of aging (we all lose that race eventually). The face that my husband tells me is his favorite body part of mine.
My face – the one I use to present a calm and collected appearance to the world, even when everything is burning down around me. I do not leave the house – not even to go to yoga or for a run – without a bit of face cream, some tinted lip balm and some mascara. I have a lot of body parts I’m not too crazy about, but I’ve gotten a little attached to my face.
Crap. Double crap. And a bunch of other words that are bubbling up inside.
First, I was pissed off over all the money I spent on products with sunscreen that have obviously failed me. Then I started kicking myself over spending all that time in the sun, riding horses, going to the car races and just hanging out outdoors in my youth. It took a while to remember that we didn’t even have sunscreen around back then. The best we had was that sunblock – that sticky, white stuff you smeared on your nose. We actually spent money on products to attract the sun. I’m looking at you, Hawaiian Tropic and Coppertone! Not that it did any good to this fair skin. The only way you could tell if I had a tan was to also see me where I wasn’t tan.
In all fairness, this current dilemma is probably due to the fact I always seemed to have a job that required driving south to Dallas from Denton, Lewisville or Carrollton (catching the eastern sun in the morning and the western sun in the evening).
Then I got a case of the “guilts”, since I know so many others who are going through terrible health issues. I have dear friends going through tribulations so heartbreaking that I feel guilty even mentioning my small troubles. In perspective, this health setback is scary (to me) but relatively minor. Maybe I’ve placed too much value on this old mug.
So I find myself today, staring in the mirror at a three-inch Frankenstein-esque line of stitches traveling from my nose to my lip. The doctor said the actual cancer was only the size of a kernel of corn, but this angry red line is a bit more than I expected. The face I’ve grown accustomed to is going to look a bit different from now on. Do I have the courage and humility to adapt?
So, I can have a little pity party (oh, I still plan to do that in the bathtub tonight) or I can suck it up, buttercup, and try to find what God’s plan is for me in this new challenge. I do believe some roadblocks are put in front of us for a reason, even if we never understand them fully.
In the past two years, I’ve had to do plenty of soul-searching and self-help. It has led me on a weird reinvention path (truth be told, I fought this path, kicking and screaming, for most of the way). I felt like I was just getting my act together, but maybe He wants me to step back just a bit and re-evaluate one more time. My voice was just starting to return (yes, I’ve been absent from my blog for a long time).
I’ll find it again. It is hidden behind the stitches for now, but I’m sure the selfie moments will return again soon.
I’ll have a fresh outlook.
A thankful attitude.
And a slightly different face.