It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a GORE-Tex Philadelphia Marathon training update. I’m running the race with Team Gore, and training was going well. Gore helped me gear up for the race with Gore Running Wear and GORE-TEX Saucony shoes. The sky was blue and birds were singing. In other words, all was right in my world.
But on October 20, my GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon training came to a screeching halt.
During my bi-annual skin check in September, my dermatologist found a mole she didn’t like. She immediately pulled out her scalpel and sliced it off to be biopsied.
A week later, the results were in: it was precancerous, a term used for atypical moles that are more likely than regular moles to develop into melanoma. This particular mole was classified as “severely” atypical, the worst it gets before possibly becoming cancer.
Though my doc had already removed the entire mole, both she and the pathologist were in agreement: an entire patch of skin surrounding the mole should go too. It’s standard procedure when a mole comes back that abnormal.
So the day after the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19, I went under the knife. It was a simple procedure. My doctor used a local anesthesia to numb the area, remove the skin, and sew it all up with four sutures.
The skin was then sent back to the lab to check that all of the margins around the mole were clear of atypical cells, since it’s impossible to tell simply with a visual exam. Thankfully, all my margins were clear. After three weeks of bandages and healing cream, all I have to remember the incident by is an inch-long red scar.
Doctor Demanded Downtime
There was just one problem: my doctor didn’t want me to run for two full weeks, lest I inadvertently rip open the stitches. The mole was on the right side of my back, over my latissimus dorsi, a muscle that plays a large role in your running gait.
I never realized how much the muscles and skin on my back move when I do, well, everything—putting away dishes, reaching in my closet, walking my dog, turning over in bed, you name it—until I had stitches. Give your skin a pat on the back—it works really hard.
So my doc told me one week of no activity at all. During week two I could add in the elliptical with no arms, leaving them dangling at my side, or ride a recumbent bike. Marathon training would have to wait. Read the rest of this entry →