Since I was first diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, one of my favorite sweatshirts to wear was from the Mukwonago High School musical “Beauty and the Beast,” which I had done production pictures for earlier this year. Not that I’m claiming to be a beauty – I guess we are all a beauty in our own way – but it seemed to describe what I was going through at the time. Along with being black, the color designated for melanoma, it pointed to the beast within me.
As I headed to surgery yesterday, the refrain, “Kill the beast,” from the musical rang in my head. I am thankful that Dr. Bartos and his surgical crew had better luck killing the beast than Gaston did in the Disney movie. I was still snoozing off the anesthesia when Dr. Bartos talked to my family, but from what he told them, it looked like only one lymph node was affected (strong work nodes!). We will find out more after the biopsy report comes back; however I continue to be reminded how blessed I am.
The husband of one of the ladies preparing me for surgery had melanoma 11 years ago and is doing well, “Praise the Lord,” she said. I learned the choir teacher at the high school had melanoma 20 years ago. One needs only go to a cancer fundraising event to see and hear survivor stories, yet cancer still heartbreakingly claims too many. How is it that I was chosen to be a survivor and tell this story?
One of the first thoughts that went through my head when I heard my diagnosis was “but God, I’m not done here yet;” however, I know all to well who is truly in charge and I knew I had to give myself up to that destiny, despite all my fears. Now I know for certain that I am not done here yet, not only for my family’s sake, which is my largest, most rewarding and honorable role, but for another purpose I have yet to discover.
As I continue to say, I am blessed, not only by a supportive, wonderful family and a large network of friends, but mostly by God who showed me my mortality and then said, go forth for I have killed the beast.