/The Gift of Transparency

The Gift of Transparency

My primary care physician performed a punch biopsy of a mole on the back in 2000. It was ruled “dysplastic”. I wasn’t sure what dysplastic meant. I thought it was paper or dysplastic. It caused me some anxiety so my wife strongly suggested that I see a dermatologist. Although he didn’t find anything, he gave me the card for a plastic surgeon. I went to him and he examined the mole that had been biopsied and immediately said, “That needs coming off.” The biopsy returned as a “melanoma-in-situ”. I was familiar with melanoma but not what it meant. It was a sign that the melanoma had “in place”, meaning it hadn’t punched the dermis or started the vertical phase (growing the tap root that causes the melanoma become malignant). It was something I didn’t know. I was not familiar with melanoma-in-situs and panicked. I assumed that “in-situ” meant “buy coffin.” It could be treated 100%. I was afraid for no reason. What I didn’t know was what was making me lose my mind. My anxiety was reduced by the fact that my plastic surgeon did not sugarcoat the situation. He didn’t panic. He looked me in my eyes and gave me all the information I needed. This kept my imagination in check, which was a very human thing to do. I learned to trust my doctor, and I felt far less anxious after he revealed that I had malignant melanoma. It was more serious than I thought. Unfortunately, it wasn’t 100% curable. Because I was well-informed about melanoma, and my doctor was straight-shooter, I knew that I had a good chance of long-term survival. He was right. I have been married for 19 years. My plastic surgeon was kind enough to see me in the eyes, be open and honest with me. This helped me to experience far less anxiety. The coronavirus can be very small and unnoticed. It can cause COVID-19 which can make us shiver. It is a real threat. It is extremely contagious and spreading rapidly around the globe. While 80% will have mild symptoms, 20% could be fatal. We don’t want this. The unknown is almost as frightening as the disease. It could kill many people. Is it likely to spread unchecked throughout the globe? How many people have died? What can I do to protect my family’s health? As with my melanoma, anxiety can be caused by what we don’t know. The unknown can be a fertile ground for conspiracy theories. It is not a hoax and it’s not the end of the universe. It is a new virus that can make certain people very, very sick. If it spreads as it is predicted, it will cause disruption in our lives and economy. It is up to us to stop it from happening. It is possible to act on information that is good. My plastic surgeon is the only thing that comes to mind as I search for “good information”. When I feel anxious, I need someone who understands what they are talking to me to look at me and tell me the truth. I don’t need to hear how great they are doing or how things will turn out. I’m able to chaste the person who just tells me the facts at the moment. As I did before my cancer surgery, my goal is to be able process the situation and understand how it will affect my family. After that, I will make my decision. I will wash my hands, and make sure to not touch my face. I will also do my best to keep my anxiety at bay and share any useful information that I find. Next, I will execute my plan. Transparency reduces anxiety. Marshall will be joining us Thursday, March 12, in Meridian, for an event at The MAX. Find out more at http://x000D.com.