Home » Reluctant Mother Loses More Than A Small Chunk Of Self

Reluctant Mother Loses More Than A Small Chunk Of Self

So, I’m getting to be “that age.”

You know what I’m talking about, right?

That age where you shouldn’t really take your health for granted.  That age where you can’t guzzle wine until 1:30AM and still function the next day.  That age where you know people your own age who have serious health challenges.  That age where when you find a weird, small but kinda’ gross mole between your toes, you call a Doctor.

If you’re responsible. . .

So, as you might expect, given my aversion to Doctors and generally irresponsible behavior, it took me about ten months to get to a dermatologist.

But at least I got there.  And when I did, I very responsibly asked her to check me out head to toe – terror be damned.

Have you ever had this done before?  You should.  Skin cancer is no joke.  And just so you’re prepared, here’s how it goes down:

I arrived early to fill out some paperwork – which included a release allowing them to videotape any procedures they preformed.  I asked if I could score some free Botox if I allowed them to film it but my attempt at humor was lost on the wrinkle-free, perfectly porcelain-skinned receptionist.

Then I waited for nearly 45 minutes past my appointment time before being ushered into an exam room.

The nurse asked the reason for my visit.  So I just blurted out I had a small but gross thing between my toes and who knows what else going on because I try to look at myself naked as little as possible.

“You’re funny.” She laughed.

This pleased me greatly for some reason.  Or perhaps I was just elated no one tried to check my blood pressure because I was becoming completely freaked out by all the literature in the exam room for “fillers” and lasers and procedures to remove unwanted hair and eliminate excessive sweating?

Anyway, the nurse instructed me to leave on my foundation garments but remove the rest of my clothes and put the gown on with the opening in the back.  Then she left me to my own devices.

Heh.  This isn’t so bad I thought.  I actually have on decent foundation garments.  I’m showered.  I know for sure how to wear this gown.  I’ll have peace of mind knowing my skin is in good order.  I take good care of my skin.  I always have.  No worries.

But my confidence was quickly shot down by my excessive hypochondria.  What if they take one look at that thing and freak out?  What if I need an MRI?  I’m terrified of MRIs.  CAT scans too.  What if it IS cancer?  Did I wait too long?  Am I having a heart palpitation?  Oh gawd, it’s skin cancer and heart disease.  Maybe A-Fib.  You don’t even know what A-Fib is.  Well it’s serious, they say so on TV. . .Can you get toe cancer?  Is that a thing?  What if they need to remove my toe?  My kids will have a 9-toed freaky Mother!  My heart is going to explode!  I just know it!  Stupid A-fib.  YOU DON’T HAVE A-FIB, YOU IDIOT!  Well, it’s not been diagnosed anyway. . .yet. . .

Fortunately, before I could pass out, there was a knock at the door.  And in waltzed a stunning woman.  “I’m Dr. Stunning Perfect Skin and I’m a RESIDENT.”

Whamp. . .whamp. . .whamp. . .

ANOTHER RESIDENT!  Is there something in my chart that states I’m to be tortured by Residents as often as possible?

“So if it’s ok, I’m just going to look at the suspect mole and then check you head to toe and then the Doctor will be in.”

“Sure.  It’s ok.”  It’s not like I can make a break for it in this gown.

I flexed my left foot so she could see the little spot between my toes.

“Well, it doesn’t look too bad.  You say you can’t recall if it’s always been there?”

“Right.  I feel like I just noticed it for the first time late last summer.”

“Ok.  Well, if it bothers you, we’ll remove it.”

“I’m not exactly looking to have something removed.  I was just concerned.  So um, yeah concern over it was bothering me but not IT itself per se.”  Oh mah gawd, I sound like an idiot.  “It’s not uncomfortable and I’m not worried about cosmetic stuff. . .well not between my toes.  I mean obviously, look at my poor unpolished toes. . .”  DENI!  SHUT UP!

“Ok, then. . .Let’s um just have a look at the rest of you.”

She began picking through my hair like a primate.  “Do you burn or tan? “You wear sunscreen.  I can tell.”

I’m so smart.  I win.  Sunscreen for the win!  The Doctor is proud of me!  Go Deni.

“Has a doctor seen your vulva recently?”


That’s part of this exam?!  

Oh man, if I were going to Med School to specialize in Dermatology and then learned I had to look at lady bits, I’d be pissed.

“Um.  Yes.”


“Well, I wouldn’t say it was great but. . .”

“Was there a problem?”

“Oh No.  Just you know, it’s not a great experience in general.”


Where’s that nurse?  She GETS me.

“Well, you don’t have many moles at all and everything looks good so we’ll see what the Doctor says.”

And she left.

And a few minutes later she returned with another very attractive woman.

“Hi, I’m Dr. Real Pretty but Perhaps I Over Applied My Eye Make Up.” She said extending her hand.

“So there’s something on your foot?”

“Yes.”  I said once again flexing my foot to expose the little bump.

She squinted at it and then looked at it very closely, nose inches from my foot.

Again, I don’t know why anyone would want to be a Doctor.

“Yeah.  It’s a little irregular.  We should biopsy that today.”


“Let’s look at the rest of you.”

“Hmmmm. . .your scalp is dry.  Do you use dandruff shampoo sometimes?”

“Yes.  In the winter I do use it sometimes.”

“Are you leaving it on for a full five minutes?”

“Ha!” I blurted out, “I don’t even have time to regularly shower for five minutes.”


“Well, you know, when you shave and stuff you could leave it on.”

“Right. . .when I shave. . .I could try that.”

The next time I’ve scheduled a shave is the summer solstice.

You have a little sun damage to your upper chest.  Make sure you’re liberally applying sunscreen there.  Everything else looks. . .Oh can you please pull your bra completely up?  Would you mind?”

“Not if you don’t mind looking.”  I gave the bra a yank and watched my pathetic breasts flop towards my belly button.  UGH.

“Yep.  Everything looks good so let’s biopsy that mole.”


The Doctor left me with the Resident.

“So is this going to be painful?  Because I have two small children and I need to make arrangements if I’m going to be laid up for a day or two.”  I asked.

“Oh no.  It’s just a superficial scrape.  You shouldn’t need stitches or have any downtime.”  She answered.

Then she shot me full of lidocaine.

“Can you feel that?”


“Great.  I’ll get the Doctor.”

The Doc returned and grabbed a vial and some sort of tool.

“So do you have kids?” she asked.

“Yes.  Two kids.  Nearly three years and a four-month old.”

“It sounded to me like you might have kids.”

I’m pretty sure what she really meant was after seeing the state of my breasts and stomach, she KNEW I had kids.

“How’s the four-month old doing?”

“Great.  He’s teething.  Makes for some long nights but we’re happy he’s developing right on track.”

“Right.” she said.

Her back was to me so I couldn’t quite see what was going on but she was working rapidly and before I knew it, she turned to me and said, “Results in 7 to 14 days.  For the next week, at night elevate your leg to help the area heal.”

And at that moment, I was 100% sure she didn’t have kids.  I didn’t even need to see her breasts to figure that one out.  BECAUSE if she had kids, she would understand, there’s no WAY IN HELL I have time to elevate my foot for one night. . .let alone seven.

I slid my bandaged foot into my sock and boot.  Tossed on my puffy vest and limped slightly to my station wagon. . .


And as I started the car, I thought about those beautiful, smart, younger than me childless women.  I imagined them having cocktails after work.  I imagined them going to yoga.  I imagined their grooming routine involved exfoliation. . .

I used to be like them.

And I realized at that moment, I had lost more than a small chunk of my toe.

I had lost a whole lot of myself. . .

Fortunately, what I found was a billion times better. . .












4 Responses to “Reluctant Mother Loses More Than A Small Chunk Of Self”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Amen! I closed my sewing business of 11 years last fall to take care of my daughter. I have currently been wearing yoga pants and sweatshirts for going on 4 weeks while she is recovering from hip surgery. The number of days that I have worn the SAME yoga pants and sweatshirt is really irrelevant to her.
    Jennifer recently posted…In Other NewsMy Profile

  2. richardmax22 says:

    I had a melonoma removed about five years ago. It was on my back and was spotted by my family doctor during my annual physical. And my back hasn’t seen the sun in thirty years. But we are still the victims of our past indiscrections with the sun. Hope the best for you. Please keep us posted.

  3. sarcasmica says:

    i’ve had three biopsies. i grew up in So Cal and lived in AZ for five years, Texas for one.
    I think they just like testing things, personally. Just be glad it wasn’t your NOSE that was forever altered. 🙁
    Hope it all turns out fine.
    sarcasmica recently posted…Mom SchoolMy Profile

    • admin says:

      I’m ALWAYS checking my nose! It seems to be a prime location for these sorts of things. Thanks for the well wishes!