Monday, November 19, 2007

Scary and Scarier

Thursday was a full day. In the morning I went over to QPTV (Queens Public TV) to be part of a panel discussion on artists who knit sponsored by the Queens Council on the Arts. Somewhat mistitled as "Hooked," the panel included myself, a woman named Nancy Rakoczy, Domenick Di Pietrantonio and his grandmother, whose name we never actually learned beyond Nona (she is Italian and speaks only Italian, so her grandson translated). That was a bit weird--she knits and crochets his ideas as a kind of collaboration--but somehow she never was given full person status. It seemed a little ironic considering that at least two of us were using knitting as a way of elevating invisible women's work to a level of fine art. As it did not seem appropriate for me to raise the issue on the air, I tried not to get too upset about what was happening. In any case, the scary thing was that QCA had hired a make-up artist for the day (they were shooting four different shows on different topics). Alfredo was a lovely man but his make-up style leaned a bit towards c.1984 with heavy lip liner and blue eye shadow. The last time I wore make-up was probably around 1984 so it is a look (and perhaps the only one) I am familiar with. In any case, I ended up looking like a transvestite visitor to "Desperate Housewives."

"Never again!" joked the old man as he stepped from the coffin....

And speaking of coffins. In the afternoon, as I herded my children in to the New Victory Theatre for a performance of TapEire, along with 6,000 other school age children, I received a phone call from my dermatologist that the sample he sent off last week came back abnormal as a very rare kind of melanoma, actually an "amelanoma" meaning without pigment (so pale even my skin cancer has no pigment!). Naturally this kind of took the thrill out of watching the world's fastest tap dancer. As our friends chatted and clapped, I stood at the edge of the abyss, looking in. My mind competed with "everything will be fine no matter what happens" and "YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!!!! SOOON!!!!!" Guess which one had won out by the end of the day?

Friday morning I was back at the dermatologist having more tissue taken for a more in-depth sample to be examined. To say I was something of a wreck does not really describe the way I had not slept or eaten nor really thought of anything besides how I was going to die!!!!!! soon!!!!!!! for the past 18 hours.

The "good" news is that, in this case, "rare" does not mean "more dangerous" and, according to the comments made at the time, the tissue sample looked almost totally normal, which means, IF the original diagnosis is correct, it is probably early enough that I won't die (soon). And there is the possibility that the original diagnosis is not correct, in which case I will have taken several years off my life through worry and self-inflicted mental trauma.

In the meantime, I wear my Frankenstein scar and hope for the best.


Patti Blaine said...

Yikes Robyn! They could have defined rare for you on the phone and spared you the anxiety!

Here's hoping they get it all, and quickly and that it all has neat clearly-defined edges and leaves no detectable-over-the-long-term scar.

Good on you for not poking the Italian with the pointy sticks whilst on TV. No one's looking now though, so have at him!

Patti Blaine said...

p.s. I'm passing on to you a tip from our friend, nurse Michelle: Apply sunblock spf 1000 (ok, as high an spf as they make... or a hat) on any surgical scars for at least a year to keep the scar from being darker than the rest of you for the rest of your life. It works!

island sweet said...

oh robyn - lately you're having such a tough time physically. i know that years from now you'll hardly remember this. for now you just have to be still. xxx