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April 21, 2011

Hi friends,
Sorry I’m not calling to tell you personally about this news, but I don’t really feel like talking too much right now. The short story is that I had a biopsy of a mole last week and the doctor called today to tell me it came back as melanoma. Hence, the not-awesomeness. Right now, we don’t know much, but I’m waiting for a call from plastic surgery to schedule a more complete removal of the area to see how far it has spread in my skin, as well as a lymph node biopsy to see if it has spread that far. Please pray/send good vibes that we’ve already gotten most of it and that it has not spread.

From the very little bit of googling I’ve allowed myself to do, I’ve found that surgery/removal of the growth is by far the most effective way to treat it, which is a good thing for me because that’s way less dangerous to the babe obviously than any kind of other medical intervention (radiation, chemo). It sounds like survival rates were unaffected by pregnancy, which is also good, since we don’t want to delay treatment, but also don’t want any unnecessary risks.

I took the afternoon off today and am taking off tomorrow, as is Peter, so hopefully we can get this taken care of quickly. Luckily, my PCP is taking this very seriously (he called me 5 times within an hour until he got a hold of me), so I think I have a good advocate in him. If nothing else, my being pregnant probably puts a little more urgency to the matter, which is not a bad thing!

I don’t think we need anything at the moment, other than good thoughts and love, and I’ve reached a sort of precarious ok-ness with it for the time being. I did a LOT of thinking, worrying and going to the what-if place earlier today, but I think that’s done for the moment, since there so much we just don’t know yet.

In an excellent stroke of timing, tomorrow is the year anniversary of Alicia’s passing, so any good thoughts you can pass along would be appreciated.
Thank you all for your love and support, I love you dearly,


Rereading this, I can remember the fear and emptiness I felt that night. I went with Peter to sit in his classroom while he prepared plans for the sub for the next day. I just couldn’t be alone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, and yet I needed a connection. It was hard to know what to do. I think I called or texted one or two very close friends, and was a tiny bit grateful when they didn’t pick up. Then I was even more grateful when one of them called back (even though I thought I didn’t want to talk).

I wasn’t in a place for encouragement. We knew nothing yet. For all I knew, the cancer had already infiltrated my body and I would only have months to live. Scenarios that seem melodramatic now felt very real and possible in those hours. I feared my husband would be left to care for a newborn all alone. I feared for my family’s future. I feared I wouldn’t be there for much more than a few months of my unborn daughter’s life.

And yet, talking to close loved ones seemed to help a bit. If nothing else, it made me focus on the here-and-now and the reality of what we did know. It got me out of my head (a dangerous place to be).

I sat in an empty room and talked with my friend, battling terrible cell-phone reception. Peter watched me through the windows between his classroom and my conference room, making sure I was OK as I broke the terrible news. I cried, but stopped as I focused on The Plan, details, concrete things I could hang onto so I didn’t spin off back into the void.

That was a Thursday night. After the call, I went back into Peter’s room and just sat there with him. I looked out the dark windows. I knew the room must have had an incredible view of the mountains in the daylight, but all I could see was the dark, dark night.

Then, I heard alien-like sounds through the open windows. I peered into the darkness and saw neon lights rolling towards us. The Thursday Night Cruiser bike ride was headed towards the school, complete with speakers playing alien-like music. We watched them come down the dead-end road, circle around the cul-de-sac, and ride back out into the night. A few minutes later, rain began pouring down thunderously and the bikers took shelter in a nearby parking garage. We went home.