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    Before Rachel got sick, I was never too concerned about those little aches and lumps/bumps I would get from time to time or nervous when it came time for a prostate check or colonoscopy.

    However, after she got sick and in particluar after she is now gone, I pay a LOT more attention to that stuff, sometimes with great anxiety. For example, I recently had my hair cut shorter and immediatly noticed a dark patch on my scalp above my left ear. It looked exactly like this:


    😮 😯

    Well I about lost it and immediatley went to my PCP who immediately declared it a seborrheic keratosis and said it would never, ever become cancer. Unconvinced despite his 30 + years of practice, I went to my derm. He said exactly the same thing and he froze it and a couple of others off. He gave me a good exam, said I looked great except he wanted me to watch one tiny, 1mm mole that I’ve had for years and come back next year for my annual.

    Then, while bathing, I noted a lump in my groin where I know there are lymp nodes. So off to the doctor again who carefully examined it, declared it a cyst and told me to watch it in case it got infected. Sure enough, it went away after a few weeks.

    So it seems that even though I did not and do not have the disease (or any other disease), Rachel’s melanoma is still having an effect on me. I’m still living in its shadow.

    I have a feeling this caregiver (who’s only job now is to take care of myself) is not alone in this.



    Hi Jeff,

    I’m glad you are taking such good care of yourself! I am with you on finding things to worry about when it comes to my own health. Sometimes it seems I get so caught up in my Dad’s diagnosis that I get confused about who is the sick one around here. It’s weird. But I take it as a positive that I am finally paying a little more attention to what is going on with me physically then I used to, and I am more aware of myself. Weird stuff.

    Always so nice and comforting to read you here.

    Thanks for sticking around!


    Catherine Poole

    This is all so normal and happens to all of us caregivers and former patients. I just survived my first colonoscopy and I’m quickly on the internet looking for answers to my questions about the results. Colon cancer like melanoma can be caught early and cured. But a skin exam is so much easier!! But of course I am paranoid this means cancer, finding polyps and my radar is up and going. PS only go to HONCode sites when you can, i.e. Mayo, NCI/NIH etc. and of course us!

    So Jeff, return to the mindful meditation which helps us in times like these to center ourselves and find that breath that keeps us going.


    Catherine – I just had my second colonoscopy (first one, 3 yrs ago – with 2 small polyps) and you are absolutely correct. The radar certainly goes up – first melanoma, now what’s next? Came out with 1 really small polyp this time; so I can wait 5 years before my next colonoscopy. But like you said, if found early, colon cancer can be cured.

    So as a reminder to us all (patients and caregivers), don’t put off any of your regularly scheduled checks, whether they be skin, colon, breast, prostate, etc. We all have too much life still left to live! Laurie


    Thanks for posting this , Jeff. I also find myself checking out every mole and lump with a new level of urgency. I have had 3 severely atypical and 2 moderately atypical moles removed. I sometimes feel strange about going to my derm over these tiny atypical moles when my husband is stage IIIC. Your post and the replies remind me to not freak out but to continue to be vigilant about my own health.


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