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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I have apples on the brain. It was a good fruit year for us all round, except for the plums, which were apparently having a rest.

I blanched and froze as many bags of apples as I dared (ours being a shared freezer with negotiated project space). Beloved has been making applesauce (hers includes a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg). I cut up apples and make apple wraps, apple pies, apple bread and even apple soup. And I carry at least three with me every day to work.

They don't always get eaten right away, as there are a couple of freebie trees between the area where I park and the library where I work, so I pick from these as I go by. They provide outstanding flavor, so my own apples, with which I'm understandably a bit jaded, wind up in the "offering plate" -- intended to funnel chips and candies and such to my data entry student workers -- and usually the apple-orphans find a good home, like the summer zucchinis.

I have been noticing, in the last half year or maybe a little longer, that on the right side of my nose there is a discolored area that wasn't there before, and it sometimes cropped up like it was going to scab over, and then maybe bled a little, then more or less went away, then returned. This was unnerving behavior, unlike anything my body had done before, so I asked my doctor about it, and she sent me to a dermatologist.

By the time I got in to see him, of course, the spot was the least alarming it has been in months -- like the car that runs perfectly when threatened with an actual mechanic -- but he took it seriously.

"What you have there is not a melanoma -- yet -- but I'd characterize it as a precancerous growth. We could biopsy now, and find out that it either is or isn't, and if it is, we can freeze it. Or we we could just freeze it now, and if it ever returns, we could biopsy it then."

"Umm, I'd say, we could freeze it now. How long does that take? I have another appointment."

"About ten seconds." He grinned.

So we did that, and my nose has swollen up a bit, and where the blotch lived there is now a red circle, as if someone had placed a red-hot dime there for a few seconds. Having had a lot of practice working on that side of my nose with foundation, concealer, and powder, I was able to minimize, but not quite eliminate, the change in my appearance.

"What's with your nose?" asked one of the students.

"Cancer! Well, pre-cancer anyway."

"Ahhhhhhh!" she screamed.

"But we froze it off. That's why it shows up more today."


"Not to worry, It just means I'm getting ripe."

"Ripe?" she wheezed, catching her breath.

"You know, like an apple. First it ripens, then it falls from the tree."


Poor thing, I thought, as she ran back to her station. What do they teach them in these schools nowadays?

And I notice she didn't take any apples home with her this afternoon.


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