“Of all the bad classes of cancer you have the worst.” The surgeon said. “You have the dreaded squamous cell carcinoma.This type of cancer releases hundreds of “cancer seeds”.
These seeds float around in the blood veins and the lymphatic system. They will find a new place to set up another cancer tumor.”
This comment has been ringing in my ears ever since that terrible day.
Cancer has always been a word I dreaded.
My parents told me, “You should only talk about cancer in a whisper. Do not talk about it lightly. Don’t make jokes about cancer or you will get it”.
I found this spot on my cheek. It was a light brown color. It had an elevated point in the middle of the circle. My medical doctor said it was just a mosquito bite. The lesion continued to grow bigger.
So my wife and I went to check with our skin doctor.
He agreed that it appeared to be an insect bite. “But to be sure, let’s do a biopsy,” he declared.
He cut a small piece of the skin from the elevated area. The skin sample went into a glass receptacle and went to the cancer laboratory.
Dr. Hernandez told my wife, “Return next Friday”.
I was calm, cool and collected. I had a certain lucky streak. The analysis always came back negative.
The next Friday I was confident. It could not be cancer. Doctor Hernandez motioned for us to sit down when we entered his office. He did not ask about the kids. He did not even complain about the hot weather.
He went right to the point, “You have cancer”!
I froze in my tracks. The first thing I thought of, “I have not made my Last Will and Testament”. I was in shock. This cannot be true. There must be a mistake. I want a second opinion.
We made an appointment with the cancer surgeon, Dr Sanchez, for the next Friday.
The surgeon, with his long white jacket, entered the room and said, “Hi.”
The doctor went right to work. He cleansed the area with some liquid that smelled like a hospital operating room. It burned my skin mildly. He made a circle around the area with a black crayon.
Then he injected anesthesia some twenty-five times around the circle area. Next, he grabbed his scalpel and started to cut my cheek. He removed the first layer of tissue and sent it off to the laboratory for biopsy.
I felt no pain, and there was little bleeding. Finally, the technician came back with the “all clear” sign.
I could not imagine how he was going to fill that hole left by the surgery. This doctor just kept sewing around the hole, pulling the skin together until the hole was all covered. My Mom did the same procedure when she patched a hole in my britches.
Dr. Sanchez gave my wife a solution to apply twice a day. “I will see you next Friday to cut the stitches,” he added.
There were no antibiotics, no white bandage for the kids to put their auto gram, no prescription to be filled.
“Just wash the area with soap and water daily,” was the surgeon’s parting comment.