Back Attack!

I run a lot.  I eat well.  I generally take care of myself.  Sure, there are things I could do better (more sleep, less kettlecorn [damn you, kettlecorn!], more sunscreen), but overall I’d say I’m holding things together pretty well.  So when Ev mentioned implored that I should pay a visit to the dermatologist to check a questionable spot on my back, I didn’t think much of it [damn you, ego!].  Warning: some pictures not ideal for the very squeamish.

So after a recent vacation I made a visit to the dermatologist to get things checked out.  Just to feel better since, you know, I’m young, strong, awesome and modest.  Well things weren’t all puppies and gumdrops.  He wasn’t happy with a spot on my back–the same one Ev suggested I have looked at.  Short story: he did a biopsy, got the results, told me it was a “superficially invasive melanoma”, and referred me to a surgeon.

Fast forward past a consultation and some scheduling drama to bring us to Day 1 of Boston training.  Instead of a 9 mile tempo run, I got 18 milliliters of lidocaine to numb up my back.  Instead of sore legs from a tough workout, I got a sore back from a dozen stitches.  And instead of a great start to marathon training, I got doctor’s orders to take it easy for 10-14 days to let things heal.  Post-surgery here’s what my bandage looked like.


About three days later I removed the bandage, finally getting to see what I was dealing with.  Note: In the picture above, the small scar below the left side of the bandage is a scar from a very similar procedure done about 3 years ago.


Good lord that’s a nasty scar.  I was expecting something much less impressive.

I re-read what I’ve written so far and I get an undertone of whining.  Let me be clear: I’m frustrated to have to push back my training; but the fact that we Ev caught this skin cancer so early makes me incredibly grateful that I have the option to be frustrated instead of terrified.  To my wife, thank you.  So much.

What’s next?  A follow up with the surgeon to make sure all is healing well and then just a few more days until I can get running, minus one melanoma.  It’s a relief to have this behind me.  I’m ready to forget about it and focus on happier things like 5am alarm clocks, 14 milers on Tuesdays, and general self-inflicted punishment.

10 thoughts on “Back Attack!

  1. Lyndsay Lantz says:

    Mike! I am so glad Ev had your back (literally!) and encouraged you to go to the doctor. So glad they caught it early. You’ll do so awesome in the Boston, even with this tiny delay in training. 😉

  2. Lauren says:

    I knew it had to be serious to keep you off your feet and delay the start of your Boston countdown. Glad you’re ok and looking ahead!

    Happy Holidays to you and Eve!

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