I'm twenty-one years old, and 15 days ago I found out that I had a malignant melanoma.

It was removed through the process of a wide excision, which hurt like a bastard but I'm sure is better than dying.

After the second excision to make sure the entire thing was gone, I got a clean bill of health from the oncologist who saved my mother's life and my dermatologist. They both said "We're gonna take more of these moles off, but you have nothing to worry about."

Despite the fact that 100% of my doctors tell me not to worry, I worry.

See, I've had to spend the last three years with my life on hold. I was placed on the earth to write music, to compose. Hard core symphonies and whatnot. When I was eighteen, I premiered my first symphony, conducted it, and became addicted to this thing I found myself able to do with great ease and proficiency.

I went to music school on a scholarship, top of my class, top of my major, etc, etc. Rocking ass, writing a string quartet, studying with an old master.

Then I got a bunch of fun muscle problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve damage which prevented me from drumming. Since I couldn't drum, I got the boot from the school and moved back to Texas.

Because of my hands, I haven't been able to return to school yet. I finally got my shit together, started re-educating myself about music in preparation to clep out of as much as possible, and decided that I would return to college in the fall of 2001 or someone was gonna die trying to stop me. I was done with computer jobs that made me cry and being dead on the inside because I wasn't pursuing what I'm supposed to do with my life.

Then, I find out I have cancer.

Even though I'm fine, I'm scared all the time now. It's different than before, where I would be scared about money or losing my job or getting evicted or not having enough cash to buy the scores or music textbooks I needed to have. Now it's this frantic all-encompassing fear interlaced with a deep melancholy I feel for the people around me and how bad I'll feel if I die and leave them alone, especially my fiance.

I wouldn't worry, but I have more moles. Lots more. And my dermatologist thought he was just being proactive in removing the ones he did; he wasn't worried.

I don't even know if I'm fucked yet. I very well could be, considering I have (what we call in the biz) a metric fuckload of moles, all angry looking. I remember when this mole on my stomach changed from a mole to a melanomic poster boy, but I didn't know what danger looked like then.

I'm probably fine. The surgeries all over my trunk for the next four months will incapacitate me, making me unable to earn money. My fiance and family are helping with the bills and I have all the time I want to study music (and subject my fellow noders to the finer things in life, like counterpoint).

But this fear, this horrible seizing terror that I'll die before I accomplish anything I had set out to...

I realize this must sound horribly trivial to anyone with "real cancer", like those poor bastards who have cancer of the everything and fight it out on chemo for 11 years. To you, I give my most humble sympathies and wishes for a speedy recovery.

But cancer is scary. I'm afraid. And my life, which I hopefully have most of in front of me, is changed for good.

PS. Finding out you have cancer in any form is also a fantastic impetus to quit smoking, and to stay off them for good. No shit. You think I'm kidding?

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