I don't know when I first noticed it, but I think my concern for the red spot on my arm came to light after one of those afternoon talk shows that old biddies like I watch. A woman on the program had a similar spot and a dermatologist told her to get herself a derma, because that right there was cancer.
So, I asked my PCP about the spot. She said it looked like a mosquito bite. I like my PCP, but sometimes I think she underdelivers on the furrowed doctor brow of concern.
Months passed and Little Man would occasionally scratch my arm and that spot would gush. And gush. And sometimes I'd forget and scratch my arm and...gushbuckets.
Then I consulted Dr. Internet and was convinced that I could herbally remedy this spot with a magical potion of things found right in my kitchen cabinet!!
(And let me tell you how highly I recommend wearing a poultice of apple cider vinegar and bandages around when you are trying to make new faculty friends. It's the glue that binds!)
After several weeks of herbal remedy fail, a man at church asked me what was going on with my arm, since he worked in dermatology. I got all sorts of flummoxed and eventually he just took a look at that arm and said it really looked like cancer. He gave me his card, indicating that if I wanted an appointment with him, it would take 3 months, so he said, just come in and he'd take care of me.
You best believe I was filling out paperwork in that derma's waiting room bright and early Monday morning.
After a biopsy and an overall derma-check, the derma said he was concerned that I had bled so much when he removed the skin. He said it was possible that it was a tumor that had already formed its own blood supply.
I waited a week for my results.
The derma called and said, "Kendra. You're going to be fine."
The spot, it appears, was a surplus of red blood vessels, possibly from when I had multiple blood transfusions last year.
"But," he said, "It's good we removed it because you weren't going to heal it by yourself."
I am so relieved that I am going to be fine, that I am not carrying around some malignancy in my writing arm. Yet, I am moved by the dermatologist's words.
I was carrying around some unsightly patch on my skin. It wasn't going to go away without some help by a trained professional. It caused me to think how much of our lives are spent doing the same. Carrying around some excess baggage or some wound that won't heal, trying to will it to go away with little band-aid fixes. We all have them. We try to lose them or cover them; we try and deny that the wounds run deep. Lacking the tools to be rid of them, we soldier on hoping that if we ignore them, they will go away.
The derma recognized my skin problem, but he also ministered beyond the skin-deep, taking the time to explain my problem and allay my fears. I pray that we all would be a part of this same scene played out, working toward healing and wholeness in ourselves and our neighbors, from the inside out.
*** Speaking of medicine, I'm ecstatic to report that 27% of my goal in supporting ASH has been realized thanks to you. Just a few more weeks until this campaign ends. I hope you'll consider supporting their mission of sustainable healthcare for women and children in Nairobi, Kenya.