I am scraping the asbestos off my ceiling yesterday when I get a phone call from the Dermatologist's office. I am wondering why they are calling me for the second time in as many days. I answer and listen to a girl who can't be more that 19 try and talk to me in a language she doesn't understand and seems excited to be using in front of another grown-up. She tells me about the kind of mole the lab said was on my left arm and then she tells me about the mole on my thigh.
I ask confused, "My thigh?" She says yes. I tell her that the mole on my thigh was removed a few months ago, does she mean for certain the one on my thigh or the one on my knee? She mouth breathes for a second and says, "Uhm...the one on your knee..." I explain that indeed, that one was removed during my last visit. She is surprised by this. She says that if it's already removed not to worry about it. We hang up.
She calls me back three minutes later. She says again, it needs to be removed. I say, "Why am I removing something that isn't there anymore?" I continue, "My knee had a questionable mole recently removed, it was being sent out for a second opinion, it was on my left leg. Your doctor removed it last visit. IS this the mole we are talking about?" She sits for a second and sort of goes, "Yeeeahh the one on your knee." She's not sounding too sure. They need to have it excised and I need to come in and have it removed. I slap my hand to my forehead. "I did have it removed." "You did?" "Yes." "When?" "When I was there last." "On the 24th?" "Yes, exactly, on the 24th." Inhale. Exhale. "Oh. Mkaaay. Uhm, hang on a second." She puts me on hold. I'm sort of enjoying this now. She gets back on the line. "Uhm you need to come back and they need to do it again because of the cells. Because it's (Insert type of cell here) and they need to take them all out and make sure they are all out." I tell her I am totally lost. I ask if I am supposed to come in and do it now while my stitches are still in there or wait until it heals up and come back in to be re-opened or what. And she goes, "Uhm, hang on." I can tell she's getting someone else to help me this time. Sure enough another older voice comes on the line and begins with a slightly impatient and condescending tone, but not terribly so. "Hi, you aren't understanding something..?" I bluntly say, "Yes, actually, your girl there didn't understand what she was saying to me and so I didn't understand what she was saying to me." She sort of laughs and then explains it to me. They did what is called a "punch". What I gather is that when you do one of these punches, you are hoping that some cells are the bad changing into cancer cells and that the ones at the bottom of this core sample of cells will be clean so you know you got it all. Mine were all bad. They didn't get enough skin. So they have to go back in. So I ask when. They can't take me until the 13th. I am now shooting this day so I have to push it some more, which means I unfortunately will be all healed up just in time to be cut open all over again. Hooray. Also, I have to go in after they see their regular day time clients because I guess what I am doing is considered "surgery" and their surgery clients come at the end of the day. So they thoughtfully go about their day getting all nice and exhausted for their surgery patients who come in somewhere after what I am hoping is their 3:00 Starbucks run. Thankfully there was no mention about my butt mole. She hangs up. I go on scraping my ceiling.
She calls back. Do I take any blood thinners? No. We hang up. I scrape. She calls back. Did the last girl explain about the mole on my arm? Yes. Hang up. I stared at the phone for a good two hours before relaxing, realizing there would be no more phone calls. And then it hit me.
Do I have cancer?
I call her. Do I have cancer? No. I have cells that are in the process of making bad "changes". Sometimes these changes can become cancer and sometimes they go in for surgery and find the cancer in the skin beneath the changing mole cells, so it's good to be sure and get it all out just in case. Got it. I don't have cancer. As far as she knows.
What a relief.