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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Maddox

Oh you have skin cancer, still.

Life, it really never disappoints with the surprises, even with good and bad stuff. To be honest, since the beginning of the Covid "shut down," there really hadn't been a dull moment career wise until around November 2020 for me. In fact, I actually felt I was thriving under the circumstances until things sort of just came to a crashing halt. Or rather it was sort of a gentle impact, like one that slowly eased me into the realization that things would look different for me in 2021. I just didn't know what that looked like.

BOY was I was right.

I started 2021 almost with a blank slate, aside from a very small gig or two, I was stuck at a stand still, constantly auditioning but nothing quite stuck. And then February 14, Todd proposed to me, and it was (and is) the most glorious feeling. Sooooo I started busying myself with wedding research. YAY And Then...February 16 I received a phone call about my follow up biopsy. The basal cell carcinoma did not respond to the 2nd attempt at topical treatments and was no longer superficial but now nodular, basically the cancer cells goes deeper into the surrounding tissues. I was referred to a plastic surgeon that specializes in facial reconstruction. Today, March 3, 2021, I met with my surgeon for a consultation, and we talked about what the surgery will look like, etc. Now I wait for my insurance to approve and authorize the procedure. Waiting is neat.

I am over here trying to celebrate this incredible milestone in my life, and now I am faced with facial reconstructive surgery because of skin cancer that is alarming close to my eye. We all know that saying, "When it rains, it pours," and we all have had those moments we can relate it to, right? I guess that's often the story of my life, except for the rain, this time the rain is sort of like happy sprinkles of tears, followed by a downpour of hail, and topped off with a flood of anxiety. I've been burying myself in wedding research, just trying to find something to keep my spirits up, and yet I've been faced with the mounting weight of this upcoming uncertainty. The silver lining of it all, is that I have this beautiful man in my life, who is not only incredibly supportive, but is there for me. I know I couldn't do this alone, financially or emotionally. Thankfully I have a savings, and a side hustle that will help me maintain my income in the extended period of time I will have to take off from being on camera, but it does feel like a blow to my already fragile emotional state. But I feel lucky that it's only basal cell, and that it's something I can fix, and most importantly I am thankful for my extreme diligence with being on top of my doctors to do these biopsies....The truth is, if I just let this go any longer, and relied solely on the medical professionals opinion, I would have this slow growing cancer on my face, and been none the wiser. The thing about doctors is, I'd like to think most of them start out caring about their patients, and most of them probably even love what they do. Perhaps they spend enough time with patients who are hypochondriacs or exaggerate their ailments, and so they become aloof to when people raise concerns, that they don't believe themselves to be true. So we trust them, because they are the "experts." BUT In my experience, I have had 3 doctors since May 2019 tell me that the spot under my eye was nothing, or they didn't see anything at all. Back in 2017 when I originally did topical treatment, my dermatologist didn't even care to follow up or recommend a biopsy to be sure. I thought I was cured, I trusted his judgement, until it came back. SO It was because of my diligence, because I take care and really listen to my body. It was I that made the decision that I did not think they were right, and sure enough, they weren't. Even my dermatologist didn't think I needed to worry. Aside from my very short time as a fitness professional, and the extensive amount of time I spend researching all things holistic health and wellness, I have no medical background. So why does it take so much work to convince doctors to listen? Why does a 33 year old have to basically beg their doctor for a referral for something as serious as cancer? Ugh and don't get me started on the messed up HMO and general health care system. If I found out I had cancer 2 weeks ago, why am I not already in surgery? It's all just bonkers.

Soooo....I've truly gotten off topic and am all over the place here. But that's okay. Because that's the point. That's life. We juggle so many things, all at once. We have to live our lives. We have to work hard to stay afloat. Throw in some COVID unemployment woes and health concerns. Throw in the fact that you have to PAY for health insurance and ALWAYS make it a full time job staying on top of the health care professionals, so you can get the care you deserve. This is life in 2021. This is what we have to bend over and deal with. This is the norm. I don't accept it, but the only choice I have, is to live in the now. I can't control how quickly this gets done, or the fact that I do have (non life threatening) cancer. It doesn't make it any easier, but it sure is nice to feel loved, and supported, and most of all heard.

Life is so incredibly short. Listen to your body. Trust yourself. If you feel something is off, talk to your doctor. Just because someone is a medical professional, doesn't always mean they are right. And literally fuck the medical system in the USA.


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