I May or May Not Be An Oncologist

And I may or may not have diagnosed a woman with cancer today. And I may or may not be the most awkward human being on the planet. Wow, just when I think I can’t possibly get more awkward I really go and surprise myself! Ok, here’s the story…

So today I had to go see an endocrinologist (making my tally of doctors of various specialties at Penn at 10 I think, if I’m not forgetting anyone. 11 if you count the neurologist I’ll see on Thursday). She was nice and all but she took forreevveerrr getting into the room, so I got to hang out with a new friend

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and some of my real friends through snapchat, and my mom, cuz she was there in the room with me. Anywho, I finally get to see her and she decides to start me on a medicine to bring my thyroid hormone up to par again with the hope that it will help with my brain fog, fatigue, and stop my weight gain. Yay! She also recommended diet and exercise. Ummm…I actually have a very healthy diet, but I gotta work on the other part I guess. She even suggested planks. Planks! Ugh.

So I finish up my appointment and go to the desk to check out and as the nice lady is scheduling my next appointment with Dr. ThinksImFat, I notice something, her nail on the middle finger of her left hand has a line on it! Not just any line, it looked like this

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I couldn’t stop staring.

You see, when you go through something like cancer, you learn very quickly way more than you ever wanted to know about it. Sometimes I feel like if I took the test to become a certified oncologist, that I could totally ace it at this point. Then I remember that I was actually pretty horrible at even being a secretary and that I clearly lack self awareness; it’s probably best not to have people’s lives in my hands. But still, you really do pick up a thing or two as you go along in this.

So I keep debating with myself, “Should I tell her? Does she know?” So finally, I blurt out, “Did you ever get that looked at?” Nice one, Kim.

Her face, not surprisingly, looked a little confused, so I clarified. “Your nail. Your nail on your finger.” Good save. *facepalm*

She glances down at her hands, “Which one?”

“The one with the line. That line on your finger. It could be cancer.”

By now, she thinks I’m totally nuts, so naturally, I continue…

“That’s what melanoma under the nail looks like. It’s how Bob Marley died. At least you work here! I have melanoma and my oncologist is just over on the other side of this floor, so that’s convenient. You should get that checked out.”

Real smooth, Kim. If there was an award for awkward conversations, I think this one would win a prize. She didn’t look too pleased, so I bolted. Like I said…smooth.

But it’s a melanoma fact that while it does mostly affect caucasians, it is absolutely possible to get it as a person of color. Not only that, but the prognosis is usually worse (maybe because it isn’t found as soon?) and the most likely places it’ll start are on the palms, soles of the feet, and nail beds.

So a part of me is completely mortified and hopes I never see her again, and the other part wants to call tomorrow to reinforce with her that she should get it checked out. Sharing (awareness) is caring, right??

Next step, neurologist Thursday morning. Lord, please help me not be an awkward creeper…

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12 thoughts on “I May or May Not Be An Oncologist

  1. sharing is caring, at least that’s what the Carebears motto is (or is it caring is sharing, I don’t know). But seriously dear, your heart was totally in the right place and who knows, you may have been that nudge she needs to get it looked at and possibly save her down the road. I’m so thankful for your bluntness (is that a word?) and your insight, as many of us have no clue about these things.

  2. I absolutely love this blog. I wish you would have gotten a picture of her face. Please know I continue to pray for God’s strength for every day.

  3. Maybe you should add “Psychologist” to the list of doctors that you see…Just kidding, sharing is caring, this story is hysterical. Thank you for sharing, it gave me a much needed laugh this morning.

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