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Navigating Life's Potholes

Skin cancer scares, job loss, an ailing parent -- WebMD Community member Barbara Pardoe relies on humor to get through the hard times.
By Barbara Pardoe
WebMD Magazine - Feature

On the big road of life, there isn't any bigger pothole than worrying about the little things. You get so little from it.

I was reminded of this recently when I noticed a little bump on my face. That was followed by a mole on my neck that just didn't look right to my mom. So off to the skin doctor I went for a biopsy - when they cut out part of your skin, leaving behind little potholes on your body that are stitched back up.

I learned I had basal cell cancer (a type of skin cancer, less serious than melanoma) on my face and abnormal cell growth in that suspicious mole on my neck.

I thought, well, what's going on with me is nothing in the big scheme of things. My father had been diagnosed the previous year with inoperable stomach and pancreatic cancer. But must I hear all this on a Monday morning?

Then, on Wednesday, another pothole. My job was cut from the company budget. Then back to the skin doctor for a closer look and a snip of a mole on my leg. This time, they called and said, "The section we removed is melanoma, but in the very early stages. Come back again so we can remove more tissue as a precautionary measure."

It started looking like someone played golf on the back of my leg and forgot to replace the sod. Talk about potholes!

But then my dad suddenly became the focus of everything. Instead of teasing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he sat silently, in pain. Three days later he was bedridden and quiet. He died in my arms on Saturday. "Oh, I feel so much better now" were the last words he spoke.

For the rest of the year, even though I had more dermatologist visits (and more abnormal cells removed),I concentrated on moving forward. I'm doing fine now, and what I got from all this is to remember to look at those potholes as opportunities to live life to its fullest, to keep humor at the steering wheel - and to keep on motoring down the road ahead.

Originally published in the November/December 2005 issue of WebMD the Magazine.

Reviewed on November 01, 2005

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