What I had planned for March 2020: A big birthday celebration and a work trip to London.
What actually happened in March 2020: The world went into COVID lockdown, I lost half my salary and was diagnosed with cancer.
…I know that’s a heavy way to open a story, but to be frank, is there any way to drop a double C-bomb in a casual way?
Watch: Talk to your family about their health history. Post continues below.
It all started with a routine skin check. And I say routine in a rather cavalier way because I had never actually had a skin cancer check before. Being originally from the north of England and therefore starved of sunlight for a solid proportion of my childhood, skin checks weren’t really on my radar.
However, after a few friends having a few too many skin-scares, I decided to head to my GP to suss out if any of my many moles were looking dodgy.
Not all GPs are happy doing mole checks and most will encourage you to go straight to a dermatologist, but the one I saw gave my skin a gander and flagged two problematic moles – one on my boob and one near my bikini line. He packed me off with a referral to a dermatologist up the road and I made an appointment straight away.
Heading into the dermatologists, it all felt very routine. Everyone was smiling and the reception desk was laden with mints. Always a good sign in my book.
The dermatologist had me strip down to my underwear and came at my moles with a light-up magnifying glass. She started on one side of my face, worked her way down and then headed up the other side of my body. She was nearly done and optimistically stated, ‘It’s all looking pretty good to me” before halting at my left boob.
“This one will need to be biopsied.”
As someone who had received most of their medical education from Embarrassing Bodies, I had no idea what that meant. My brain automatically went to the rather dramatic conclusion that my whole boob was going to be chopped off right there in the chair.
Obviously, that was not the case and no boob-chopping occurred. Instead, she proceeded to move on up my body and stopped smack bang on my left cheek.