Mindfulness and a skin biopsy

Have you noticed how your own emotional reality creates ease or obstacles when a health concern comes up for you?

I am learning about this topic first hand, again, even and in spite of years of mindfulness practice and a thorough knowledge of "the benefits" of early intervention.   I am riding a learning edge related to how the emotions of vulnerability and surrender can help healing.  Here's the story:

In late November I spotted a reddish dot on the side of my nose.  It was ugly but painless and flat. It concerned me only when I noticed it growing gradually.  At first I attributed this red dot to wearing glasses all day long.   As my concern upticked -- and I felt that I should call for an appointment -- I noticed how easy it was for me to keep NOT calling.

Selfie with skin spots and biopsy, February 2015

Somehow, I felt safer protecting my not-knowing than opening up to a new-knowing; the newness of illness.

This internal process carried on mostly sub-consciously for six weeks or so.  Whenever concern about the dot showed up, I drew on thoughts and stories (or actual cover-up!), telling myself:
  • I have a ruddy complexion full of freckles, flushing and other fun stuff so there was nothing to worry about (FALSE);
  • That indoor-outdoor temperature changes of the cold winter were causing capillaries to expand and contract and making the dot more pronounced (FALSE); and
  • That as I aged and hormones shifted, it was natural to expect skin changes like a growing red dot (FALSE).
Finally, I called the dermatologist.  She is popular so I expected a 3-week wait for the appointment.  Instead, as a sign of Divine Right Timing, the receptionist said she had just received a cancellation for the same week.  My heart sank right then, however; I was so scared to learn more about the red dot that I secretly planned to have the whole three weeks to build up my courage!  I joked then shared my fear about coming in with the receptionist who said she understood.  She hurried to confirm I would take the appointment, blessed woman.  I've since thanked her for that push...

I showed up for the appointment feeling nervous.  Just fifteen minutes later, reassured that the spot on my face was not a concern to the doctor, she was lazering my red dot ("hemangioma") with my eyes protected tightly.  Now the growing red dot is a much larger dark spot (visible in the selfie below) but it is not an energized problem for me. The spot will fade.

Next came the stinging-cool sensation of Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen),  freezing off seven other spots on my sailor's face.  

These spots are now blistering or peeling in relation to how heavy the treatment was.
(You can see one spot on the selfie above, the others are hidden.) 
Lastly, I showed the doctor another mark I had noticed on my upper right chest (where the band-aid now is).  No sooner did she glance at the spot than she had injected a numbing agent into the area and got right to work biopsying.  What was of no concern to me really, is now the subject of a biopsy.  My self-care flipped; I thought it was dermatitis or eczema from a new favorite scent.

A few days of perspective have allowed me to start healing these spots and prepare myself for whatever comes next.

Would it be corny to report that I am already comforted to have received a great teaching: that fear is mastered by surrender, not courage?  I have seen this unfold for me and I feel lucky for that.

Had I waited for courage to come -- to will it up using the unskilled mind -- prior to advancing into the real walk inside of the fear of skin cancer, I could still be stuck preparing ... perhaps hosting a cancer to boot.


I am aware that I have experienced some fresh healing, even while waiting to receive the results of the biopsy.  

I have learned how healing energy is the gift of humility and surrender, the gift of Beginner's Mind and Non Striving.  I have known this through work with friends I love, but to know and understand it in myself is a great gift of health.  I feel good, even with the uncertainty and the spotted face.  I have received some help already and I am grateful.