I met with the doctor on Friday afternoon, last week. She was held up in the operating room at the hospital so she was late getting back to her office. There were two patients for her to see before me so it was close to 3:30 when I finally got to meet with her.
The melanoma in my right arm has spread beyond the 5 mm perimeter on one side. Therefore, I require more surgery. My doctor wanted me to come in on Sunday. I told her I was leaving in the morning for March break. I was leaving with a girlfriend and her two daughters along with my daughter for a road trip. We had reservations at the Running Y Ranch Resort in Klamath Falls, Oregon for Saturday. We booked to stay for the week (an amazing deal of only $150/week for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo) but we planned on leaving Thursday to go to Portland as our girls are in a dance competition. It would be a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride from Victoria to Port Angeles and then another 10 hour drive to our destination so I really couldn’t delay the trip for 2 days without disappointing 4 other people.
We discussed the risks of waiting. My doctor said if it was a basal cell carcinoma she would say it was okay to wait but she reminded me we are dealing with melanoma and “ideally” it should come out today. She said there were two benefits of waiting. Firstly, the scar on my arm is very tight. The longer it has to heal the more chance there is skin for her to pull back over my wound. She also said waiting until I get back would give her time to try and see if she could order a small batch of skin bond glue. It is very expensive and I will have to pay for it. She said she would see if she could order just enough for my procedure. It will cost about $50.
So I made the decision to carry on with my trip. I booked my surgery for the first available appointment my doctor had after Easter which is the end of March break.
I do not regret my decision, at this point anyway. We are having an amazing time. The resort was beautiful. We made a lot of use out of the huge pool that we had to ourselves a lot of the time. We enjoyed the Shriner circus, shopped, explored the lava beds in California, the Wildlife Refuge, climbed mountains, descended into caves, went on self-guided nature walks, visited Petroglyphs and learned a lot about the Madoc and Klamath Indian battles with the white settlers.
The highlight was being able to experience the awe of Crater Lake. We had wanted to go early in the week but due to snow storms there was no visibility even if we could make the drive up there. We were able to view the webcams around the lake from our resort lobby. There was no visibility. It was fogged in. The road was completely snow packed. The road had been closed the entire time we were in Klamath Falls but we heard that you could snow shoe from the Visitor Station to the rim in about 30 minutes. We decided to chance it on our way back towards Portland. It was a clear, sunny and warm day. It turns out that the road reopened just two hours before we arrived so we were able to drive up to the rim.
It was a very spiritual experience for me. The half million years it took for Mount Mazama to form. Then the battle that was brewing inside it until it’s final eruption 7,700 years ago. So violent was that eruption that the foundation cracked in a complete circle and the entire mountain collapsed in destruction. When all that was left was the empty, scarred caldera it became filled with melted snow to form the deepest lake in the United States and possibly the purest source of water in the world. It was a real reminder to me of how the most difficult and traumatic experiences in our life that completely leave us depleted can be filled with everything good and pure and turn our lives into the most beautiful, unimaginable creations.