I went to see the surgeon who is going to operate on my hand today. It's an interesting procedure, called Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Apparently the old way to take off skin cancers was to just hack an overlarge circle around the obvious tumor, and then sew the whole thing up, or apply a skin graft if the hole was too big.
This way is more cautious. Basically she cuts out the obvious, and a little circle around it. Then she carefully examines the edges of the tissue removed to look for cancer. If she finds any, she makes another small cut in the direction of that evidence (she is both surgeon and pathologist). This is repeated several times until no more cancer can be observed.
The object is to do as little damage as possible and yet be sure they get every bit of the growth, which is sometimes asymmetric beneath the surface. Afterwards I have to keep my hand up on my shoulder in a sling for a couple of weeks so it will heal properly, and I'm all done. Maybe some therapy if the scar is too tight.
"Is there any medical reason to rush into surgery? I was on my way up to Colorado on a motorcycle trip."
"You should go! When will you get back?"
"I was thinking maybe October, after the aspens change..."
"Oh." She was taken back a bit.
"Do you have to be gone so long? A few weeks is okay, but I wouldn't wait months."
"How about A month? Sometime in September?"
"Well, there are no guarantees, of course. But that ought to be all right... Wear your helmet."
Beneath the startle I could see a little envy in her eyes. Here she is, making money hand over fist, a whole office catering to her every whim. But there was one thing she could not afford. She could not afford to take off for a month to see the aspens turn.
What the hell, I waited 30 years to get in that position myself.
I am set up for 9 am September 27th. It will be in office, under local anesthetic, and could take up to 8 hours, depending on how many times she has to cut. I plan to bring lunch and a couple of books, and drive my own self home.
My ex is giving me grief on this. Can't say I blame her. I know I am being ornery, and I do appreciate the concern.
"I can NOT understand why anyone would leave CANCER anywhere in their body for ANY length of time!"
"But, but, but... darlin'... that's my clutch hand she's cuttin' on.... I wouldn't be able to ride for weeks!"