Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: The worst phone tag partner to have

It has been awhile since I had the sense my body was about to take me in an unknown direction. I have had health issues a majority of my life, but had found respite these past few years. However, a recent doctor’s appointment sharpened my focus and made me question all I’ve done since my kidney transplant.

I got a voicemail message late in the day. By the time I was able to listen to it after work, the woman informed me of my upcoming dermatologist appointment and of the fee I would have to pay if I didn’t cancel the appointment within 24 hours. Realizing I would miss that deadline by calling the next morning, I decided to keep the appointment, despite being new to my job and feeling a little awkward about explaining a partial absence already.

In order to spend more time with my son, I took him with me. I explained to Mr. Carter all that would happen: Mom would take her clothes off and the doctor would look at all the moles. My sweet 3-year-old also told the doctor what exactly she would be doing as she came in, and took it upon himself to be her assistant during the examination.

Charmed, she and I talked about him throughout the examination which distracted me from seeing what her nurse was doing — handing my doctor two needles and a razor. My dermatologist then swiftly took a mole from my forearm as I tried to keep Mr. Carter from bumping into the equipment while seeing what she was doing. I had never had a mole removed before.

When the next call came from the doctor’s office over a week later, I was unavailable. When I tried back, they were unavailable to give me the results. This back-and-forth took all day, which gave me ample time to think the worst. Was I about to go through another illness? How would I explain to my son what was going on? And would I be the mother that doesn’t get to see her son grow up?

Regardless of what the answers were, I knew I could handle whatever came my way. I do admit though that icy nervousness coursed through my body until I was finally able to get a nurse on the phone after a few protests.

“It’s categorized benign,” she said. “But there were abnormal cells.”

Nothing to do but watch for further abnormalities and see them next year at my annual appointment.

Obviously relieved, I did hang on to the focus it had provided me that day. I have never known a completely healthy body and may never have that luxury, but I do know I must attempt all I can to give it the best shot at allowing me to reach my goal of having an adult son.
When the time does come for another closed-door meeting with a physician, and the news is the worst possible, I can tell Mr. Carter — at whatever age he may be — that this body hung on as long as it could and I am content with my efforts in helping it to the end.