Wherein I Laugh and even SING in the Face of a Skin Cancer Diagnosis…

I have a wonderful relationship with my son, Jake.  He’s my little buddy and nobody makes me laugh harder than him.   (Full Disclosure:  He’s a grown-up, hairy 28-year old man.)  So what would be more appropriate than to call him the morning I found out I had skin cancer and ‘SING’ the diagnosis to him over the phone.  Please Note:  I’m not encouraging this kind of behavior, it’s just ‘US’.

Phone:  Ring, Ring

Jake:   (Answers the phone)  ‘Is this important?  I’m at work.’

Me:     ‘Sort of…… Sings:  ‘la la la la, I have skin cancer,  la la la la la’

Jake:  ‘What did you say?’

Me:      Sings again:  ‘la la la la, I have skin cancer,  la la la la la’

Jake:    ‘How is that even possible?  I’ve never seen anyone wear more sunblock and hats than you in my entire life.’

And he’s right.  I’ve never been a sun worshipper.  I apply sunblock every single day of my life and have since I was 20.  And not just my face and neck, but my chest and arms too.  I keep roll-on sunblock in my purse 365 days a year so I can re-apply it during the day.  I wear sun visors constantly!  Anytime I know I’ll be in the sun for more than ten minutes, I’ve got a hat or visor and sunglasses on.  Cuz Spoiler alert:  I’m white, in fact, I’m very white.  There’s a chance God forgot to give me melanin when he was assembling me in heaven.  I’m pale with blue eyes, red hair, not a lot of freckles as they’ve faded with age….thank you baby Jesus!

Every evening before I shower, I go through a 5 to 10 minute facial routine.  I wash, mask, exfoliate and then moisturize the crap out of my face.  In the morning, I wash that off and re-apply the daytime moisturizer, sunblock, foundation and powder.  I draw the line at carrying a fancy, southern-belle parasol, although I am now reconsidering.

This just in from the news desk.  I’m old.  I’ll attach a photo and you may not think I’m old.  But really….drum roll…I’m in my 50s.  My husband asks me weekly if I’m planning to age anytime soon.  The answer is ‘Not if I can help it!’  I’m attaching an un-retouched photo of myself taken two weeks ago, a close-up on a sunny day while standing under a tree.  I told my friend (who I cropped out for this blog post) that I wouldn’t pose in the sun, we had to stand in the shade.  That’s how careful I always am.  And still over the years, I’ve gone to the dermatologist and had various ‘barnacles’ removed from my skin.  Some have been ‘pre-cancerous’ and some have been ‘nothing’.  But this one was ‘squamous cell carcinoma’.  That just sounds bad.  ‘Squamous’ sounds like something an ugly fish would have stuck on its hind quarters, not something I should have on my face.

So, the appointment’s been made.  It’ll be removed, there will be stitches on my face and I’m re-thinking my hair-do.  Gonna try a modified ”Veronica Lake.”  I always thought she was beautiful, so now I’m gonna copycat her!  (See below: it’s Veronica Lake y’all!)


After the surgery, I’ll find out the biopsy results and learn if I need further treatment.  My fingers are crossed, I’m being optimistic and I’m gonna use even MORE sunblock after this.  I’m also checking out parasols on-line.  Maybe I’ll start a new trend.

And about my son and my cancer song?  A few hours later that same day, I received a text from him.  “Hey Mom, I love you. Thanks for singing to me, you seem very happy….for someone with a skin cancer diagnosis!’  (NOTE:  I’m always happy when I talk to my kids and skin cancer won’t change that any time soon!)


  • Linda Bouley
    Posted 0Likes

    I just completed treatment for Uterine cancer & had breast cancer 10 years ago. I think it’s so important to support others in any way I can. I’m glad you’re speaking your truth & I love your spirit & courage. For each of these challenging times in my life, I used a mindfulness practice. This time it included daily tweets from @mindfulnesseveryday & I settled on a mantra to see me through. This time it was “What could be more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is?”…Eckhart Tolle Many Blessing, Linda Bouley (@LindaBouley)

    • Melissa B
      Posted 0Likes

      Linda, Uterine and breast cancer are so scary. I love to read positive affirmations, there are so many I’ve saved that I’ve seen on a Twitter that I’m afraid I might become Stuart Smalley. I hope you are on the mend…and thank you so much for writing! ❤️

  • Cathy Gravelle
    Posted 0Likes

    Here’s good vibes coming your way, Red. Your crazy family will get through anything. I know this to be true, as I also have a crazy family who irritated the doctors to the max, so I am sure they hastened recovery just to get them and the laughter the hell out of the hospital. Now there’s a run on sentence.

    • Melissa B
      Posted 0Likes

      Thank you Cathy! There’s nothing better than a funny family to support you in tough times and annoying the hospital staff is just a bonus! ?

  • Kathy Callianiotis
    Posted 0Likes

    Melissa, I really don’t know what to say to you except to say I admire your inner strength which I’m sure will keep you going until all is well again . My prayers and good wishes go with you and I look forward to you singing a happy song very soon. Being a newbie I look for your observations and memes every day so I hope the pleasure and laughs you have have given me, will return to you.

  • Melissa B
    Posted 0Likes

    Hi Kathy, Thank you so much for your kindness. If Outlander was on the air, you’d see lots of new memes and re-caps, I rack my brain daily to come up with new giggles from last year’s episodes. I’ve actually had to resort to watching other tv shows! Unfair I say, lol! ?

  • Carol
    Posted 0Likes

    Melissa, la, la, la…you hang in there, lady…la,la, la, la!
    I too am white, and I also mean, white, I have freckles, pale blue eyes, and red hair, but at my age sometimes the red is a wee bit hard to find. I have lived my life around sun screen, hats, sun glasses, and shade, of any kind. But, I’ve still been hit with burns no matter how hard I try. I have never had a skin cancer scare, but I imagine that could happen, to me, at any time. My mother, who was not fair of skin, or even a red head, adored the sun and she ended up with skin cancer. IT never got her down, so you don’t let this get you down…chin up and keep on singing. Good on your son, too, for being so supportive, as I’m sure the rest of your family, are!
    All the best!

    • Melissa B
      Posted 0Likes

      Hi Carol, La la la la, I always hated being pale….I wish I could tan, la la la la….it sounds like we’re twins….thank you for writing, cuz you made me laugh, la la la la. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Julie Pendleton
    Posted 0Likes

    Melissa, isn’t having a supportive team of people that love you just a wonderful thing?! I’m so glad that you do – it will make all the difference in the world on your journey through Cancer. I, too, am from Texas and have been a “Sunner” from way back – – but am now a sunscreen believer after my own run-in with those dratted Squamous Cells (I envision them much as Jamie’s description of the unknown germs…. with bitty wee teeth).
    I look forward to your posts, and appreciate the laughs – – Good Luck to You and Keep us posted on your progess!

    • Melissa B
      Posted 0Likes

      I’d forgotten about Jamie’s description of the wee germs, lol! You’re right, I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family, I don’t know what I’d do without them and good friends. I’ll definitely update everyone as soon as I know something…thank you for writing!

  • Nancy Lemon
    Posted 0Likes

    hey Melissa, I too am Casper the ghost even though my father was full blood Sicilian. The oldtimers said I was left at the doorstep..ole Sicilian saying. On a more serious note, just celebrated 4 years remission from breast cancer. I feel ya. It ain’t easy. can’t wait to meet u next month. btw, I left a comment on one of Sam’s sites yest. and said he was an “enema” when I meant “enigma”…hehe

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