It all started with a pearly white spot,
that looked like a simple episode
of comedonal acne,
except it kept growing.
I had studied enough books
and transcribed enough dermatopathology reports
to know I had a basal cell carcinoma
before I even made a dermatology appointment.
The high altitude sunshine of Colorado
exacerbated the growth of the carcinoma
and I knew I needed to undergo a MOH’s procedure
to remove it and stop the growth.
The dermatologist did an entire body skin check
and then did a biopsy, which of course was
basal cell carcinoma.
I went to the best dermatological surgeon
in Colorado Springs, trained by my former boss
at the Texas Tech Medical School.
MOH’s surgery is a process where one thin
layer of skin cells are removed at a time,
with the dermatopathologist testing each layer,
until finally a layer is clear of all cancer cells.
Knowing how everything works doesn’t
mean the same thing as having it done.
My face was numbed and I was happy
as could be, joking with the doctor and nurses,
recalling how our dermatology residents practiced
their z-plasty stitches on pig skin.
I was a bit taken aback when my doctor
said he was going to blend in my z-plasty
with the wrinkles on my upper lip, but I still laughed.
I drove home and was fine,
until the anesthetic wore off.
Then the entire right side of my face
hurt like hell and looked worse!
It has been almost five years now
since all that happened and most
people never even notice my scar,
until I point it out.
© Elaine Wood-Lane
So, the point of my poem is this,
MAY 2016 is Skin Cancer Awareness Month,
and it behooves everyone to to learn more
and get your skin checked out if you think
you have any suspicious lesions!
Go to https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer to learn more!
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge you to find, either on your shelves or online, a specialized dictionary. This could be, for example, a dictionary of nautical terms, or woodworking terms, or geology terms. Anything, really, so long as it’s not a standard dictionary! Now write a poem that incorporates at least ten words from your specialized source. I still have my medical dictionary, but didn’t really have to even get it off the shelf as I’m so familiar with terminology.