The best gift I ever gave my husband was to nag him.
Last summer, I noticed that a mole on his back had changed. I knew that a change in a mole can be a sign of skin cancer, and since my husband is a pale-skinned redhead, his risk factor was already higher than for the general population. I told him to go to the doctor. He, being a typical guy :-), assured me that.nothing was wrong, he felt fine, and I was being paranoid.
But the mole bothered me. My gut said this wasn't something that required the usual "wait and see" approach. So I nagged. And researched. And nagged some more until, just to shut me up, he made an appointment.
You can guess the rest of the story. The doctor took one look at the mole, said, "I don't like the look of that," and removed it immediately. There were stitches and tests, multiple appointments and new doctors. The official diagnosis - melanoma - led to more procedures and more doctors and robbed me of the ability to breathe.
As one doctor removed his stitches, she told my husband that he owed me a big bouquet of flowers. (His classic response - "But those are expensive!" was met by the doc's ever-so-practical. "Not if you buy them at the grocery store." Which he did.) But as welcome as the flowers were - hey, I'm not going to turn down a pretty bouquet! - my best gift came this morning when my husband was pronounced cancer-free. Better yet, because this was caught so early
there is no need for any additional treatment. He will still need to be
watched for a possible recurrence, of course, but the odds are overwhelmingly in his favor.
I am one very happy nagger.
Dear readers, I am not usually one to race myself or my family to the doctor. (Witness my complaint to my doc last May that something was wrong with my elbow. She asked when it started hurting. My answer? February.) But there are times when haste is our very best friend. Skin cancer rates are rising rapidly. I urge you all to make yourselves aware of the signs, take precautions, and listen to your guts.
And never, ever hesitate to nag.