Categories: Canada, Planning
I finished work on May 3, a month before our scheduled departure date, lots of time to get everything ready, right? Wrong!
My “retirement” started off with a 10 day cold (a baby gave it to me, it was lethal), that was followed by Dan having the flu, then me. And not some wussy 24hr bug, the 72hr one that brings you to your knees bug. Somewhere in between there I helped move my grandparents into a home, and spent time cleaning/de cluttering their house to go up for sale. To add to all of that I found a mark on my leg, I get little marks (actinic keratosis) on my legs, my Dr burns them off so I wasn’t worried, but when I saw her she felt this one looked different and gave me a steroid cream thinking it was something fungal (that sounds gross but is not life threatening). Ten days into my treatment I felt the mark looked no different so I went back to the Dr and she agreed, no change and sent me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist assured me that it was an inflamed seborrheic keratosis (which I’m also prone to-my skin is aging much faster than I am) but decided to take a biopsy since I have a relatively strong history of skin cancer. This is where our scheduled departure date went out the window, results would take up to 2 weeks and this was 10 days before we were to leave.
We put our heads down and plugged away to still be ready for June 1 even though my first follow-up (to remove the stitch from the biopsy) wasn’t until June 2. Despite our best efforts we got close but not quite ready to go, my parents despaired as they watched more stuff arrive from Toronto for them to store and pile up around their home (thanks guys!) but still threw us a lovely sending off BBQ even though we weren’t sure exactly when that would be. We got a new mattress and spent a long time organizing piles of stuff.
On June 1 instead of hitting the road we had a family day, watching the Blue Jays win, and spent our last night in our condo for a while. June 2 we made a point to go and vote (advanced polls are great) and then off to the dermatologists. Lucky for me I was seeing one of the top dermatologists in the city, once he heard how I was supposed to have left yesterday on my “once in a lifetime” trip, he personally phoned the lab to see if he could get my results ASAP. It worked, he returned 20 mins later to let me know the results were being faxed. Half hour after that he walked in and told me I had skin cancer. Not going to lie here, I thought he was kidding, I started to laugh. He looked at me and said “this is not what I expected”. Huh!?!? Dr was serious. I started to freak out a little but thankfully my medical professional brain took over while he explained it was a Basal Cell Carcinoma-relief, that’s quite literally the best cancer to get (if you have to get cancer). BCC does not metastasize, and it won’t kill you (unless you leave for 50+ years), slowly it dawned on me that I was gonna just fine. Of course, I then had to have an excision that left 5 stitches in my leg, but the Dr was happy for us to leave (he will phone me with the excision results just so I know it’s all gone). The worst part was having to tell Dan (who had been in the waiting room the whole time probably wondering what was going on). It took a few minutes for him to process the news, but he understood as he had been googling about skin cancer after I hadn’t returned in 10 minutes.
The only thing left was to go to the pub and decompress. We talked about leaving the next day but we still had a long list of items to do and decided that we should take the next day to get as much sorted as we could and then leave.
This little experience of mine has really reinforced for my why I’m so happy (and lucky) that we are doing this now. Life is short and you will only get out of it what you put in, so get out there and start living, I know I am.