Thank you to so many who’ve written asking if I am okay. I am okay. It does seem like I fell off the Earth and there’s a bit of a reason.
My friends know I got the flu, then I got bronchitis and nearly got over that and got a cold and then another bout of bronchitis. I hadn’t had a cold in more than 5 years so it seemed like I was never going to breathe without coughing again. I finally felt well enough to get my hair cut. I was looking a bit like with wicked witch of the west (I DO have black hair peppered with a bit of gray) but I also *felt* witchy.
I love getting my hair done. I sat in the chair and the cutting began. Then she said those words you don’t ever want to hear.
“Did you know you have a nasty mole on the top of your head? You really need to get this checked out because it wasn’t there before an it’s more than tiny.”
Who can see the top of their head? Not me!
Panic set in as cancer is the one big fear I have. I can put up with spiders and even cockroaches but cancer – often just the word – increases my stress level. I went home and called my GP and thankfully, there was an appointment the following day. I love my GP. She doesn’t pull any punches and scolds me from the time I walk into her office but I know where I stand.
“Maureen, this looks nasty and it needs to come out urgently,” wasn’t great news. “I could take it out but the head bleeds like a stuck pig and I’d prefer you to see a dermatologist. It will be expensive but it’s important,” she said.
Sort of full-on panic. In ten minutes I had myself imagining a sink-hole size owie in my head and then chemotherapy and radiation and nobody would love me any more because I looked so funny. (Yes, my middle name can often be drama queen).
I took my referral papers and waited the long weekend to find out when I could get this thing taken off. Now my husband is the polar opposite of me where things like this are concerned. His motto is and always has been, “She’ll be right.” Everything will always come out just the way it should and there’s never anything to worry about. Complaining to him about a mole on my head was a complete waste of time.
“Why are you worrying, it might be nothing at all,” he said about a million times. He could have fed my fear with things like, “Have you written your will?” or “Where do you want to be buried?” No, everything would be fine and he wouldn’t hear any other scenario. What a waste of time when I needed him to join in my hysteria.
Monday morning finally arrived and by 9:30am the dermatologist’s office called and said Wednesday morning at 9:10am was the time but they doubted they’d have time to do the minor surgery. John’s family was arriving in a few minutes to see the olds and I had a lot to do to prepare for their arrival so thankfully, the time passed quickly.
The radiologist was wonderful. He checked me over for moles and asked where I grew up because other than my forearms and face, I had no sun damage at all. Thank you, state of Maine.
He then said the magic words, “This needs to come off and be analyzed, Maureen, can I do it now?” Yes! I didn’t care what it cost at that moment, those words were music to this old girl’s ears. The family would just have to wait for me for the big picnic.
Apparently the trick is to inject the anesthetic and then wait. and wait. That limits the amount of bleeding. Finally 2 hours after arriving, the slicing began.
I’m still wearing a bandage for a hat but the good news is, John was right. Nothing to worry about at all. It was a blue naevus mole and completely benign. Yes, I have had to listen to I told you so until I want to put my fist in his mouth. I have kept both my mouth and my fists quiet but it’s tough, man, it’s tough.
So I’m back to normal. I cooked Massaman lamb curry for the family that I learned about at The Golden Pig Thai curry paste class. I’ll post the curry paste recipe here and the curry next. Trust me, this looks like a lot of work and honestly, it probably is but my goodness, it’s SO worth it. This doesn’t taste anything like what you get in a jar.
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 star anise
- 2 cm piece of cassia bark (can use cinnamon)
- 4 cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh is best but jarred is okay)
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- 8-12 dried red chillies, deseeded and soaked in water until soft.
- 1 Tablespoon rice bran oil (or whatever you have)
- 4 golden shallots sliced thinly
- 6 cloves garlic sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons galangal, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons lemongrass finely chopped (bash lemongrass with the pestle and remove the hard stem and outer leaves, then chop finely)
- 3 coriander roots (cilantro), washed, scraped and chopped
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Remove the seeds from the chillies and soak in boiling water until soft. Then finely chop.
- Toast all the spices, one at a time in a fry pan until fragrant and then grind in a mortar and
- In a medium sized frying pan, fry the shallots in the oil until they start to take on some colour.
- Add the garlic, galangal, lemongrass and coriander roots and continue to cook until the garlic turns golden brown. Add a little water if things brown too quickly. You will need to stir it more or less continuously. It took me 10 minutes.
- Combine the chillies, spices, cooked mixture and salt in the mortar and pestle and pound to
- make a finely textured brownish red paste.
- Place in a container and use to make Massaman curry.
Sorry for such a long post.