09 Jun Shirley Mason
04.2012 Shirley Mason
My life is awesome!!! I have God, my husband, my children, my grandchildren and a great career… I have a very active lifestyle and play golf as often as possible. I’m fair skinned but I don’t recall any bad sunburns since I was 18 years old after a day at the beach. My skin tans easily so I rarely felt the need for sun screen when I golfed although I was careful to use it when I was around water, beaches, etc. I used tanning beds for a while in my 30′s when they assured us that they were safer than real sun.
On October 12th, 2011, like any other day, I woke slowly by asking my heavenly Father to go with me through my day. As I started towards my home office, I remembered that it had been seven days since my biopsy and today I was to receive the results.
I originally visited the dermatologist a month prior to have a couple of spots checked and I was concerned about all the ‘freckles’ that were popping up on my arms. While there, my doctor focused intently on a particular spot they had been calling a ‘sun freckle’ for years. It wasn’t raised, angry, red or any of the other common signs of skin cancer. She wanted to do a biopsy just in case. I scheduled the appointment for a full 5 weeks later. I had appointments set up already and I certainly couldn’t make sales call with a band aid on my face!
On the day of the results, I was sure the ‘sun freckle’ was nothing so I wasn’t overly concerned. By mid-morning I began to wonder why the Doctor hadn’t called yet so I called her office. “Shirley, your pathology results came back positive for Melanoma.” She continued to tell me how Melanoma was the most lethal form of skin cancer and how I would need to make an appointment with a surgeon. In shock, I was having a difficult time understanding her words, let alone respond.
I fought back tears and my head began to bounce thoughts like a pinball machine. What does this mean?? My lungs tightened from lack of air. What is this weight on my chest? Why was she so nonchalant with this information? Wasn’t she shocked too? Well, surely the scar on my face would be small because the ‘freckle’ was so small right?
I soon discovered that surgery couldn’t be scheduled for eight more days. I met with the surgeon only to find out that I would wait yet another week because the special pathologist wasn’t available. All I could think was, Don’t I need to get this awful disease out of my face now?
Wait, wait, wait….
After surgery the results showed that the cancer still existed which required another surgery. I began to wonder if my delay in scheduling the biopsy caused the cancer to spread. After the second surgery the hole left in the middle of my face was the size of a half dollar.
At first I didn’t share my experience with many people until I began to hear, “Shirley, because of your story I went to the Doctor and found….” Now, I tell anyone that will listen. Maybe God will use me to help others with early detection. I had so many people praying for me that I knew if anyone was going to get a modern day Jesus miracle it would surely be me! Sure enough, we found that the cancer had not spread and that the Doctors (My God) had rid all the cancer within me!
This experience left me with a scar from the middle of my eye to the middle of my lip, going down the middle of my face alongside my nose. It has been almost 6 months now and the scar is fading. However the memory of God’s answers to our prayers for peace and healing will NEVER fade. I believe God stretches us to make us stronger and this experience has drawn me nearer to Him. Now I continue to wake each morning asking my heavenly Father to stay with me all day.
Oh, and I go nowhere without sunscreen