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Thursday, January 23, 2014

When Your Reality is Shattered Part Two

Here is more on the story from Brenda Perlin.

I thought about all the weekends I spent on the beach to keep that perfect “sun-kissed” tan all year round. I would also regularly escape to my favorite tanning salon for a quick session in the tanning booth. It was very popular, mostly frequented by people in their late teens and early twenties, just like me. It was not something I talked about with my friends or family because it was not something I wanted to brag about. At that time, I wasn’t worried about wrinkles—I laughed at the thought of them—or the skin damage I always heard about. I was young, optimistic and carefree. As it turned out, I was also ignorant; I was about to receive a sobering awakening.
A few days later, I received the doctor’s call. I had a melanoma, a potentially deadly skin cancer. To make sure there was no cancer remaining, the dermatologist wanted to do a second, more extensive biopsy. He told me how dangerous a melanoma was and that if it had spread, he would have to do a major surgery and remove the lymph nodes close to that area.

Later at home, I found all kinds of information on the Internet about melanoma. I discovered that it can metastasize. At that point, there was little that could be done to stop the cancer. I was a “glass half empty” kind of a girl.
My dad would say, “Don't be such a downer.”
Like I have said, I was a realist! I could not believe that this was happening to me. After the phone call, I repeated that sound bite in my head. It was all so surreal and confusing.
I guess you could say I was thinking, “Why me? Haven’t I been through enough?”
Four days passed before I heard back from the doctor that the lab results were available for the second biopsy. Those four days were the longest, most tedious days that I can remember. It was hard to sleep and difficult to think about anything else. Nothing seemed as important. By the grace of God (I like using that phrase for the drama and nothing more), my report said that the melanoma had not spread and I would not need to have my beloved lymph nodes removed. This cancer would not kill me.
Even though the cancer had not spread, I still had to return to the dermatologist for removal of the margins around the affected area of my butt. The three-inch scar I now have was the result of that procedure. It hurt like hell, but it was better than the alternative.

The procedure went well. It wasn’t until the knife like pain started about six hours after the procedure that I started to realize that this was not going to be an easy deal. Even if I had gotten lucky this time (as Tom Petty once sang), I would always have to think like a survivor. I would be living at my dermatologist’s office and my days of roasting like a chicken in the California sun or under a tanning booth were over. Gone were the days on my chaise lounge baking in the summer sun while chatting mindlessly on the telephone. I would have to be very diligent about the use of sunscreen and always remember to reapply. If I were to pick my God or savior, it would be my doctor.
Thanks Brenda for sharing that story of a difficult time in your life. Hopefully others can learn from it. I am happy that you are better and with us today. 
To find Brenda and her writings online, consult the following links.

Her wonderful books:
Shattered Reality
Burnt Promises

Youtube Book Trailers
Shattered Reality Brooklyn and Bo chronicles (Book One)
Burnt Promises Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles (Book Two)


I got these photos from Morguefile free photos.

See ya next time.


  1. Thank you Karen. This story is an important that it's not always best to look good rather than feel good. As nice as a sun kissed tan looks, the risks are great and not nearly as pretty.

    1. You are so right Brenda. Thanks for supplying the story