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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Gimme Stitches

One week ago, I couldn't use my right hand for twenty-four hours. As of this writing, I still don't have full control over my right hand. But I should be back to normal by next week. And I should be able to play drums again by then as well.

So, what happened? I got a mole removed from the back of my hand. Yes, one mole has sidelined me for almost two whole weeks.

I've gone through mole removal before, but I never had to get sutures for them to heal. Since this certain mole required a deep removal, these were needed to fully heal. Just thinking about stitches makes me squirm and makes me feel panicky about having to deal with them. But I wanted to address why I would agree to go through such a frustrating and slightly physically-painful, but incredibly mentally-painful procedure.

I've had moles all over my body for most of my life. There have been times that one will scab and fall off, but that's been the extent of things. I've thankfully never had one that grew out of control and turned all sorts of ugly colors. Yet this one on my right hand made me concerned for a few years. Seeing a dermatologist about this, he suggested removing this would be good, but not absolutely mandatory at this point in my life. Better to take care of this now rather than try to take care of this too late.

I was all onboard with getting some more moles removed (one on my back, as well as one on my left leg) until my doctor said "stitches" just for the one on the right hand. I panicked, and I still panic at the thought of stitches. Stitches leave life-long scars and I'm not one who likes to have scars anywhere on my body.

Probably the only way I talked myself into this was because I lost two great friends to cancer last year. One of them died a very, very tragic death at a relatively young age due to skin cancer. He was a wonderful man, and I was very upset to see him die that way. Since I want to stick around as long as possible, whatever I can do to help prolong my life, I'll do.

But I think this whole treatment has uncovered something I should work on: I don't really see beyond next week. I don't imagine myself dead at an early age, or anything like that. I just don't usually make many long-term plans or goals. Ever since I got laid off nearly five years ago, I've been hesitant to make such plans.

So when I tend to think only in the short term, of course the recovery period of a small procedure will seem like a big deal. Bigger than a possible, larger procedure.

As much as I hate the question of, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" it's good to at least imagine something in five years. I've imagined some things, but I don't want to feel let down if they don't come to fruition. That's just how I see things. And that's what getting stitches has done to my brain.

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