The Intensity Of Being Me

I started this essay several years back, before I started blogging and before Boy started school, when we were up to our eyeballs in working with him and the challenges he was facing at that time. I dug it out of the vault recently – it was really only in outline form – and I’m proud to say I finally finished it to share here. I also added a little background info because it was the inspiration for the original working title of this blog, which I changed at the last minute, obviously. Anyway, you’ll definitely recognize a theme if you’ve been following along here for awhile.

I’ve mentioned Girl was one of several people who encouraged me to start my own blog. This went on for 5 or 6 years, I think? At one point, she even went so far as to put together a couple of drafts of a header in an effort to push me along. She took the photos, edited them, brainstormed with me about titles, did the design work, the whole thing.

Here they are for your free entertainment at my expense:

Is the first one friendlier, happier, younger, more attractive, kinder, gentler? Is the first one better all around because the second one is bordering on America’s Most Wanted? Which one is the real me? I don’t know, but when I shared them both on FB, a little bit of hell broke loose and I had to reassure my people that I wasn’t having some kind of mid-life crisis or something. It was pretty hilarious.

Whatever, I wasn’t ready back then anyway.

As I said, I nearly called this blog The Intensity Of Being Me. I’m happier with the title I chose in the end because, in essence, my daughter chose it via her Mother’s Day gift to me and it was primarily her encouragement which led me to be brave enough – or dumb enough – to publish here in the first place. I’d say it all worked out as it should have. Still, I haven’t been able to shake the thought that TIOBM is a great title for *something*, and so, here it is as the title of this blog POST…


I’ve been working on making peace with how deeply I feel things, how much time I spend turning things over in my head, thinking and wondering and considering and imagining and figuring out, wishing at times I were more optimistic, trusting, breezy, serene, maybe even a little OBLIVIOUS. There are so many completely oblivious, thoughtless people, man, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Well, yes there is, but what I mean is I don’t automatically view oblivious people as bad people. Just clueless. A few pages short of a chapter. I admit sometimes I think it would be a relief to be that way. But usually not. Anyway, I’ve definitely mellowed a little over the years and I’m certainly calmer, less anxious, less hard on myself than I’ve ever been, but it’s been pretty much my entire adult life’s work and a helluva lot of it too. And I’m far from done. Finally settling into my own skin a little bit is such a relief, even with the whole menopause thing, even with the unfinished work, which is an entirely different post, trust me.

Recently, I remembered a conversation I had with my first therapist 30ish years ago when he said, “you are a very intense young woman”. I remember at the time feeling so awful about that comment – like it was a judgment, a diagnosis, something deeply wrong with me that set me apart, something that needed fixing, AS IF I needed a longer list. It felt as if there was something better, more likeable, less abnormal about the oblivious, less sensitive, and easy going people who seamlessly roll with all the punches, and who look good and act appropriately while doing it too.


My intensity “problem” was something I tried to “fix” for many years – along with my introversion and high sensitivity – way before there were people coming out of the woodwork writing books about such things. And finally, after years of self-loathing, I decided it was time to view the whole thing differently. Because what if it’s not something that’s fixable? What if it’s part of my God-given personality and temperament? Not bad, not wrong, just different from yours? What if my gifts are rooted in it? What if fighting it amounts to nothing more than turning my back on myself? Not that I will ever stop working on trying to be the best version of myself I can be, but after all is said and done, whether its because of childhood experiences or some of the assholes I’ve encountered or the way I’m wired or a combination of all of the above, I’M INTENSE.

So what?

And just so you know, I’ve recently come to detest the outrageously high value our culture places not only on extroversion, but also on constant positive thinking and the annoying as all hell glass-half-full schtick, as if there is no other “right way” to be. Having said that, I think I understand it, I really do. It’s easier, more pleasant to be around all of the outgoing, smiley, happy people. Even when it’s bullshit. We believe our vibe attracts our tribe and our outcomes are linked to our attitudes blahblahblah. And maybe it’s true, to a point. I try to find a balance because I definitely don’t want to be a recluse or stuck in negativity all the time and I’m not. Practicing gratitude is important and I do. But the truth is, sometimes, the glass is NOT half full. If people are always focused on validating – especially publicly – their positive thoughts, feelings and experiences to the exclusion of their negative ones, well, I call bullshit on that because I’ve tried it. And it was bullshit. And not so deep or real either. What about space for beautifully painful feeling or thought? What about disappointment, worry, sadness, confusion, fear, outrage? What about experiences that are simply raw and ugly? What about empathy? What about the change, productivity, creativity and healing that can flow from acknowledging, processing and moving through the full spectrum of human realities? What about honestly calling a shitpile a shitpile? How does one know real joy without pain? How does one see beauty without also seeing the hideous? Yes, being aware of the energy one is spreading around matters. Yes, balance matters. Yes, being able to process and move through negative thought and emotion is imperative. Yes, having the skills to set aside certain feelings at times is critical. But there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging both the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows of life. It’s real, and in my opinion, necessary. Does my focus on both make me more intense? Ok. Am I a bad or lesser person because I need so much time alone, or because I cringe at too much superficial, perky small talk, or because I have to keep my distance sometimes from people low on emotional intelligence, or because my eyes roll up in my head when the self-absorbed, meaningless monologues begin? I don’t think so. But really, just because my brow is often furrowed and I’m not always smiling with sunshine and rainbows beaming from my face and my FB page isn’t a stream of constant positivity and perfection (sorry, but BULLSHIT) and just because I’m not always talking doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me. I’m just not you. And you’re not listening when I DO talk anyway.

Looking back, I SO wish I had acquired the necessary tools I needed to better understand and manage my intensity instead of feeling like it was an undesirable personality trait, something I needed to hide or something that needed to be removed like a black hairy mole. Because viewing it as if it was something not good made it bad. And it didn’t have to be that way. But who knew from intensity and the like back then? And who cared anyway? Did my intensity shape the way I perceived my experiences or am I intense because of my experiences or both? Who knows. Doesn’t matter.

I slowly came to realize I needed to try to accept this about myself so I could just BE myself and breathe. And if one more person suggests that I “let it go”, “lighten up”, “stop thinking that way”, “smile”, etc, AS IF you think you know what I need, well, my head might just spin off my freaking neck. And no, I will not read Love Languages so you can try to figure me out in 3 easy steps. It’s so negating. By all means, please call me out if you think I’m being an asshole in some manner, but otherwise, please stop trying to mold me into a mirror image of YOU. I have my own intense and highly sensitive strain of happy, ok? Or maybe content is a better word. Or maybe a mixture of contentment and surviving. Maybe the action up in my head isn’t my enemy. Maybe I finally find the company to be quite good some of the time and I don’t slam the door in its face anymore, I manage it. It’s ok to have my especially intense brand of thoughts and feelings, but what am I going to DO with them? Because in the end, they are just thoughts and feelings, nothing more. But they’re mine. They can be catalysts, they don’t have to be quick sand anymore. They can actually be a significant strength because I often see things under the surface that other people might not see. Or I can put the things we all see but can’t or won’t talk about into words, on my schedule, not yours, after I’ve had the time I need to process whatever it is. Examining and expressing these things can lead to great discomfort, which can lead to action, which can be good or bad, depending. And while these intense thoughts and feelings can be a source of great pain, anger and anxiety, all of which are difficult, they can also be a source of great joy, meaning, beauty, passion, inspiration, and creativity, which I love. The big picture question is what am I going to DO with it all? I acknowledge that anxiety and intensity often seem inextricably intertwined. How do I manage the anxiety and celebrate or at least productively channel the intensity?

Maybe try blogging. Ha.

I really do believe getting to peaceful as an intense person CAN BE DONE (I hope) because I’ve experienced brief moments of it, but I want more. I need more. Self-acceptance is key, I know that, as is acquiring the ability to better cope with the uncertainties of life too, because the world we live in can be a pretty rugged place to be. Especially for people like me. I’ll never give up working on those things. This little blogging gig certainly helps, as well and practicing meaningful self-care – which often includes pressing the metaphorical mute button, saying no, discerning what, how much and with whom to share, adjusting or reducing expectations and creating some distance, or even saying GOODBYE – is a MUST so I don’t crash and burn, something I did repeatedly until I knew better. I know better now.

Sort of.

This post wouldn’t be complete without reminding you that I have two very sensitive children who feel everything very deeply and who are also up in their heads a lot, both of whom are quite INTENSE in their own ways. One seems to have fully inherited her father’s optimism gene and the other received some of it, not all. The optimism – even in small doses – seems to tone down the intensity a little and I admit I’m glad for that – even while I insist they be true to their FULL selves – because it most certainly does make their lives a little easier. I think. I hope. Interestingly, one kid is an extrovert like Husband and one is an introvert like me. Both kids are way smarter than I am. The whole thing fascinates me, I read about it constantly, and just so you know, the-most-intense-person-in-this-house-award goes to….ME. Shocker.

My Dad likes to tell me that Boy, in particular, and I are lucky to have each other. I think that’s true. If hadn’t been for the journey we’ve been on with him, coming to understand and respect how he is wired, how he processes information and his environment and emotions, what he needs to be his best self, I might never have fully acknowledged this part of myself as being integral to my own inner workings, as opposed to something needing to be exorcised or changed.

Better late than never, right?



Disclaimer: After redacting a huge portion of this essay, I received final approval from Girl to publish it tonight. Just kidding. Sort of. 

I can’t believe Girl is home for the summer after completing her first year of college. Can you? I so clearly remember last summer, shopping for her college dorm crap, breaking into a cold sweat and having a semi-nervous breakdown right smack in the middle of Bed Bath and Beyond, unable to wrap my brain around our impending goodbye. But just look at us now. We did it. SHE DID IT. She spent the year in Massachusetts doing her own thing, discovering new passions, reaching beyond her comfort zone, making new friends, getting her work done and doing it well, taking care of herself in ways she never had. And she loved every minute of it, which made things significantly easier for me. I really appreciated that so much. Ha.

Don’t misunderstand, I missed her like crazy around here this year, but the joy and fulfillment she clearly experienced while living her life at school made waiting to have her home again bearable. In some ways, we talked more while she was gone than we did before she left because she texted me regularly, usually late at night, about her goings-ons. Some of our best conversations happened that way, long and winding epics, and I SAVED THEM ALL. I’m not kidding.

Interestingly enough, I quickly adjusted to NOT having to stay on top of her bazillion details. It freed up a good bit of my mental energy. I didn’t worry about her safety 24/7 like I thought I would either – ok, I did, but only for the first month or so – maybe because she was on a small campus without a car, maybe because she didn’t block me on social media and so I stalked her a little, but still. It’s true I was plenty busy with Boy, but mostly I think I came to accept that it was Girl’s turn to take the wheel and my turn to let go a little. And she did. I did. Except for the time she traveled via public transportation from downtown Boston back to school at night. Alone. I went batshit crazy about that one and made her promise never to do it again. I won’t bore you with the details of the *debate* we had about it, but just know I won. Is that wrong? I have no idea, but if its wrong, I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT.

And now she’s home. For the whole summer. Back under our roof. Which leads me to ask this very important question: can someone please explain to me why an “adult” child returning to her parents’ home instantly reverts back to the developmental stage formerly known as high school AND still insists on being considered an adult? And what exactly are we supposed to DO about it so our relationship is preserved in the process? Is she still a kid? Is she an adult? Or is she a hybrid of some sort and if so, how does she work? Where is the instruction manual? Perspiring minds want to know.

Our first few days all back together under the same roof were a tangled mess of happy reunion and WHO ARE YOU and how do we fit together? Family meals, our trademark intense conversations and a few spirited games of UNO helped us get our groove back, mostly.

Of course, the piles of crap Girl had at school came back into our house to be stored for the summer. She kept an immaculate dorm room at school, everything in its place. She got home and that sense of order she’d created for herself went right out the window. We successfully negotiated one pile of crap going up to her room and the other pile – crap she wouldn’t need until the fall – going to the guest room, but negotiations fell apart when I tried to get her to unpack the crap pile in her room. And so there it sat like a big fat screw you until I set a deadline for it to get done about two weeks later. I have no idea if I was justified in drawing that line in the sand but it was messing with my psychology, and closing her door so I couldn’t see the mess had ceased working for me.

She brought home a bunch of dirty laundry too and I told her I’d do it for her as a welcome home bonus, but after that she’d be on her own. I washed, dried, folded her clothes just like I did in the old days and then it sat there in the laundry room for a week until I made her take what was left of it upstairs, after she’d clearly been rummaging through it to take what she needed one item at a time. And now the clothes are in piles on her bedroom floor. Maybe that’s where her migraine PREVENTION medication was hiding, the one she didn’t take for a few days because she couldn’t find it. Who needs prevention anyway, because, like she said, her headaches are CURED.

After she caught up on some sleep, Girl was thrilled to begin catching up with her high school friends. Obviously, this involved driving her car. Actually it’s OUR car and we’re generous enough to provide it for her use. We’re very supportive of her social life, we want her to thoroughly enjoy this time in her life and we tell her so constantly. She’s a really responsible kid for the most part, we’re lucky. But she was pissed to learn we were imposing a 1am driving curfew, with some latitude in certain circumstances. We’re doing it because NO ONE needs to be driving later than that, am I right? It’s not because we don’t trust her, its because we don’t trust the increasing number of drunken crazies out on the road as the hour grows later and later and later. Is that too controlling? I have no idea.

Last week she stayed out until well past midnight most nights and on the others, she ended up staying over at friends’ houses to bypass the 1am driving guideline , I guess. I was delirious from exhaustion, waiting up for her to come in for the night or waiting to hear if she was coming home at all. Or if she was stranded OR WORSE on the side of the road. I hate when I don’t know the rules and even though we tried to set some reasonable rules – are they reasonable? – it feels like there are NO RULES. It’s fine for there to be no rules while she’s doing her own thing at school where she’s on campus without a car and when I don’t expect her to come home at night, but I need rules when she’s here. Is that wrong? I have no freaking idea.

She went into this whole spiel about kids not thinking the way I do, plans are fluid, she needs the freedom to go with the flow and don’t forget, SHE IS 18, she knows how to take care of herself. The mere suggestion of a curfew is offensive. And so limiting. Nobody else’s parents are giving out driving curfews to their college kids. Ah, and there it is. Ok, fine, well nobody else’s kid lets her cell phone die repeatedly, including during a severe thunderstorm and flash flood warning while she’s out on the road, her mother frantically trying to reach her to tell her of road closures.

Girl has obviously savored her first taste of real independence and she wants more, not less, freedom. I don’t blame her at all for being annoyed with us as we figure out how to parent a college hybrid, and for having us back in her business now that she’s home. But too bad. I found myself having to explain a few things to her about sharing a home as opposed to, you know, A FLOP HOUSE. I explained that when people live together, they inform one another of their plans, they keep in touch, it’s just common courtesy. Helps with dinner planning and knowing when to call the police too. Additionally, they clean the egg drippings off of the stove after they make their breakfast. She may be a legal adult, but she’s still our dependent child. Things will be different when she’s a little older and out on her own with a full time J-O-B, but for now, when she’s home with her family, this is just the way it is until we decide otherwise or until we get a grip, whichever comes first.

When it appeared she was not hearing my requests to keep us informed on a very basic level, I pulled THE CAR CARD. Is that wrong? I have no idea, I’ve never had an 18 year old college hybrid before, but I reminded her that the car and the insurance are MINE and so oh-yes-you-will let me know your plans and when to expect your return. And you will keep your phone on and charged. She finally heard me, she apologized and also asked to be extended some grace as she adjusts to her new summer reality. Fair enough.

And then she does stuff like sets her alarm for 7am so she can play Club Penguin with her brother before he goes to school and makes spending time with her grandparents a priority and I’m sitting here dazed and confused and grateful.

Anyway, I’m hoping some of this late night terror will ease up next week once she starts her summer job as a day camp counselor. She’ll be too tired to run the streets all hours of the night, right? God, I hope so because I’m exhausted.

When Girl was in high school, I became increasingly weary from yelling for her when she was locked away in her room. It represented the feelings I frequently have as a mother, so eloquently captured in the words of one of my Listen To Your Mother cast mates, “everybody talks to me and nobody listens.” So I finally did something about it this week as I continue to stumble my way through mothering a college girl home for the summer. I went out and purchased a righteous parenting tool called a BULL HORN that will put an end to all of this not listening bullshit once and for all. I took it out for a test run yesterday morning and used it to wake her up for her doctor’s appointment. Booyah.

Welcome home, kid. I’m thankful to be on this journey with you. Please be patient with me, ok? I’m still learning too.

Peddling My Notions

I started the day feeling kind of irritable. I went to bed the night before feeling that way too. Who knows why. It could just be me or maybe the menopause or the idiot DMV drivers or the dumb ass things people say and do sometimes. It matters not.

I returned from dropping Boy off at school, deeply breathed in the quiet while Girl slept all tangled up in her covers, just like when she was little, and as I finished my coffee, I quickly caught up on the news. Yeah. The news. That place where despair and hope crash into each other again and again and again. That place where I drop the F bomb under my breath and I drop to my knees to pray. BOTH.

Shortly after Girl woke up, we hit the road for a walk. We agreed we will try to squeeze these walks in as much as we possibly can this summer, which makes me exceedingly happy. It’s the perfect way for us to spend unhurried time together, talking and getting some exercise too. Two birds with one stone and all that. You’ll be glad to know I got a grip over my irritability as soon as we got outside. It was a stunningly gorgeous day, my favorite and my best kind of weather by far. Sunny, brilliant blue sky, high, puffy, white clouds floating by and a low-mid 70’s temp, no humidity. I wish we could count on big chunks of time with weather like that, but I’ll take what I can get. As we walked through our neighborhood, we talked about Girl’s last couple of weeks spent reuniting with her friends, I updated her on Boy’s goings-ons, we talked about the summer camp job she’ll start mid-month, I vented a little about the state of the world and some of the dumb ass stuff I vaguely referenced above, we talked more about her first year away at school, the things she’s looking forward to when she goes back, and adjusting to being back under our roof for the summer, the last of which might be covered in its very own blog post very, VERY soon. I actually received a request from a fellow parent for a post on the topic, so yeah.

The best part of our conversation was when we stumbled onto the subject of the high sensitivity we share and the ways we’ve respectively processed some of the experiences we’ve had. Very interesting to us and a topic we continue to revisit. For the 3 of you who might not know, both of us are highly sensitive introverts, but we’re quite different in many ways too. She wanted to know if I’d always been this way or if my intensity (or whatever you want to call it) is something that developed over time. She mentioned my blog and the way it seems to have opened me up. She shared memories of being a very young child wrapped up in her own deep thoughts and feelings and the journey to learn to manage them. She can’t remember any other way of being and she’s very comfortable with it all now, even when it’s hard. I told her, yes, I’ve always been this way but I viewed it as a weakness, something I needed to fix, so I spent a good portion of my life trying to fight it…until I became her mother. As I learned more about her, and then about Boy, I was committed to teaching them to honor their differences and I EXCRUCIATINGLY slowly learned about and accepted my own in the process. As our conversation continued, I shared with her one of the reasons I pushed her so hard to get out in the world – especially when she was making noises about wanting to stay close to home – and to explore all that life has to offer while she’s young, while she has the true freedom to do it. Starting with full immersion in a good fit college setting. Away from home. Because she’s in much, MUCH better shape than I was at her age and I want her to LIVE. When I was young, I was so locked up inside myself, often on the outside looking in, too preoccupied with trying to run away from my intense thoughts and feelings  to do much of anything of real substance with the brain and heart God gave me. It remains one of my biggest regrets. Late bloomer would be an understatement. And by the time I bloomed, I wasn’t young anymore. But that was then. This is now. I view encouraging her to discover, grow and use HER gifts, and to enjoy and share them, as one of my most important jobs. Pushing her in that way is one of the very few things she’s consistently told me I was right about and I even have the text messages to prove it. LOL. It gives me lots of hope about Boy too. She was kind enough to remind me of the ways in which I’m doing some of my own reaching and exploring and blooming right now and that’s true. It’s true because she pushed me outside of my middle-aged comfort zone, just as I pushed her.

When we were done with our talking walk, she went inside to get a few things done and I stayed outside to attack the greenery in our front yard with the electric hedge trimmer. God, I love that thing. It’s powerful. And weirdly meditative. For some reason, as I stood there going at our overgrown, gnarly bushes, a song my grandmother used to sing to me popped into my head. What do you think that means in this context? No idea. While I trimmed, I sang the song over and over again to myself in my head and then I began to sing it aloud. OUT LOUD. Neighbors? What neighbors? I was definitely in some kind of super freak meditative twilight zone by then, the buzz of the trimmer, the words of the song…

I have come from a distance

To peddle my notions

I will sing you a little ditty

While you buy a broom

Buy a big broom for the lady

And a little broom for the baby

I will sing you a little ditty

While you buy a broom

Anyone recognize the lyrics? Later that night, the words of the song still lingering, I searched for it on Google, but I couldn’t find any reference to it at all. I have no idea about the song’s origins or from where my grandmother picked it up, but her singing it to me and my sister remains one of the many treasured memories I have of her.

Anyway, this went on for quite awhile, wielding the electric hedge trimmer, singing my Yiayia’s song, thinking about Girl and how much she’s grown and changed this year, thinking about how well equipped she is to take on the world, sweating so much from my head that my sunglasses wouldn’t stay up on my nose, sneezing my brains out with all of the pollen flying around as I disturbed the bushes and plants, peeing a little with every sneeze, giggling like a fool. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have an audience. But truly, I wouldn’t have cared if I did because oh, how I enjoyed every minute of it. My heart felt light.

As I finished up the trimming and prepared to gather all of the prickly branches scattered in the mulch, Girl came out to leave for a lunch date with friends. I thanked her for our walk as she got settled in her car, and I told her to be careful, and to enjoy herself. As she drove off, I went inside to grab something cold to drink and I dissolved into a puddle of happy tears.

I’ve missed her.

And yeah, don’t worry, you’ll get that COLLEGE KID HOME FOR SUMMER post. Ha.


Remember a couple of days back when I told you guys about my declining vision and about how important it is to be able to see so you can, you know, SEE? And how in the process of seeing I’d found this weird blemish on the right side of my nose that clearly needed to be checked out by a dermatologist? Well, the weird blemish that wouldn’t go away was finally bobopsied and they didn’t find my twin, but they did find skin cancer. That’s the funky news. The good news is that it’s a basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer and the least risky kind. The good kind.

Still, it’s cancer and it has to go.

Let us pause for some comic relief, shall we? Yes, we shall…

I wasn’t at all surprised by the diagnosis, I expected it. Still, I admit I felt a little unnerved by it, but after I had a chance to fully process the information and talk with Husband about it, I got a grip. I just want it gone.

Unlike melanoma, basal cell carcinoma doesn’t metastasize or spread from the skin to other organs. It’s not going to kill me, but left untreated it can cause all sorts of problems because it keeps growing, and it can move into nearby tissue, nerves and bone, doing some pretty gross damage.

My dermatologist discussed treatment options with me and strongly suggested I have Mohs Micrographic Surgery because it provides the highest cure rate ( > 98%) and because of the cancer’s location on my face. And so, I had my consult with the Mohs surgeon today. He thoroughly reviewed the pathology report with me and gave me a head to toe check, just to make sure there are no other cancers. He knew I’d been a lifeguard for years just by seeing the pattern of freckles on my shoulders, chest and upper back. Isn’t that funny? Anyway, thankfully, it’s just that damn thing on my nose. The result of the sun worshipping idiocy of my youth. Scorching, blistering burns on my way to getting as tan as I could. It doesn’t matter how careful I’ve been the last 20 years, I’m paying for the burns I got in my teens and twenties. WEAR YOUR DAMN SUNSCREEN, KIDS.

My BCC is about 5mm x 6mm on the surface, still superficial, meaning it’s roots – if there are any – are not too deep. It’s irregularly shaped on the surface, margins are involved, meaning we don’t really know how far or wide it reaches under the top layer of skin yet and we won’t until the surgeon gets in there. It’s probably bigger than what’s on the surface, we know that. If the tumor was on my trunk or one of my limbs, the dermatologist could just cut a big hole, dig it out and sew me back up, with no real concern about the scar it would leave or how it would look. Things change when you start talking about cutting open someone’s face. That’s where the Mohs surgeon comes in, with the focus on both treatment and cosmesis.

During Mohs surgery, the visible portion of the tumor is excised, then layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed, mapped, processed and examined under a microscope. The entire process is repeated until no tumor is found. Because of this complete systematic microscopic search for the “tentacles” of the skin cancer, Mohs offers the highest chance for complete removal of the cancer while sparing as much normal tissue as possible to promote a good cosmetic outcome.

Because my BCC is on the side of my nose, bordering the bony bridge area where there is no excess tissue to work with, the surgeon told me he’s going to plan to do some reconstruction after the removal of the cancer. If it was elsewhere on my face, he could let the wound fill in and heal on its own or simply pull it together and sew it up. But no, unless I want to be left with a big crater in the middle of my nose or have my nostril pulled up towards my forehead, so he’ll do this flap reconstruction thing by borrowing some excess tissue from under my eye, kind of pulling it down and over a little to fill in the hole he’s going to make when he cuts the cancer out. He showed me the likely path of stitches, talked with me a little about what to expect like black eye, swelling, slightly longer healing time because of the reconstruction, wound and scar care, stuff like that. And yeah, at that point I kind of lost it because I did not sign up for this. I thought I’d be having a friendly little scrape or freeze or something, maybe a superficial stitch or two. Not THIS. But the surgeon and the nurse were very reassuring, it’s going to be fine, you caught it so early, it’s really important to treat this now while it’s still relatively small, we’re highly trained blahblahblah, I got it together, booked the surgery for July 16 and left.

Then I did what any rational person in my situation would have done. I sat in my car, Googled Mohs surgery and flap reconstruction and after I did some reading, I clicked on images. Because I have this completely fucked up need to KNOW. Trust me, don’t do it, DON’T GO THERE. Unless you think it’ll scare you straight into religiously applying your sunscreen and immediately getting any weird growths you find on your skin checked out by a doctor, and if that’s the case, then DO. And then I drove home, told Husband I’m going to be a hideous, disgusting beast but hey, I’ll be cancer free and that’s all that matters and then I poured myself a glass of wine +.

The end.