I’ve never been one of those people who thought, “That might be me one day,” when the topic of conversation is about cancer.
It’s just not something I thought I would ever face for some reason. Maybe a friend or family member, but not me.
Then a few months ago I noticed this stripe on my right thumb. I thought it looked strange but didn’t think much of it. I figured I’m just deficient in some vitamin or mineral, nothing serious.
Until a couple of weeks ago when I stumbled upon this article on my Facebook feed, which was posted on a friend’s timeline.
The Hidden Health Risks of Gel Manicures – this article talked about how people got cancer due to the exposure they got from UV light with shellac manicures.
The friend that the article was being directed to is the same friend who was with me at the salon the first — and last– time I tried a gel manicure.
I rarely bother to paint my nails or have a manicure but since I was on vacation I thought, why not?
When the lady asked me to place my hands under the UV light device they use to dry the gel nail polish, I even wondered whether this would be something that could cause skin cancer. But I brushed the thought aside and went back to feeling pampered.
When I saw the article and saw the pictures of the stripey thumb, it clicked.
Shit, could my thumb have melanoma?
I went to the GP this morning who specialises in skin cancer. He assured me that it’s most likely not melanoma and that it’s probably psoriasis since it’s rare for Asians to get melanoma. But he called the dermatologist anyway and made the earliest appointment for me.
Tomorrow at 9am I have a consult with a doctor who can hopefully give me the peace of mind that it’s not melanoma. If he can’t tell just from looking at my nail, he will do a biopsy.
So here I am sitting with the thought of possibly having cancer, no matter how small the probability is. I can’t help but sit here with my mortality totally exposed, thinking about my young children. I still can’t imagine not seeing them grow into adulthood.
And the weird thing is that last December, I had this thought come over me just quietly in the back of my consciousness that I may actually die young. I don’t know why, it was just a quiet thought that popped in my head randomly, but a feeling that didn’t really leave me.
I hope that was just a random thought that isn’t foreboding of any real truths of my future. And that tomorrow’s consult gives me peace of mind that the stripe on my thumb is harmless — nothing that a coat of traditional nail polish can’t hide.