Where Have I Been? Life in General, Planning Holidays, Oh and Skin Cancer

Before we start…

The core of this post lies in the fact that I feel as though I’ve been distant from social media and I’m longing to reach out again. Although my specialty is usually reviews, today I want to take a more personal approach and let people know what I’ve been up to. It’s so easy to let the world go by and loose grip on those people who’ve helped shape you into becoming who you are. Because of this, I thought a blog post would be the best way to reconnect with people I’ve known for years or ones I’ve shared the odd conversation with on Twitter. Yes, we’re going to talk about everything in the title, including the things you might be curious about.

I’ve longed to take a holiday overseas for years but have put this on hold for obvious reasons: three years of study and two years of work. The less obvious and probably more significant reasons would be: no one to go with and fear. When you’ve lived in New Zealand your entire life with Australia being the furthest country for family holidays, the rest of the world seems like a huge place and a huge place that’s hard to get to because New Zealand is so far away. Sure there’s a lot of perks living in such a country as New Zealand but there are also a lot of disadvantages, money topping the list. It blows my mind to hear people from Britain, Europe and America etc who are able to travel from one country to the next for such a cheap price and instantly when it requires someone such as myself months and even years to plan.

So that’s what I’ve been doing; planning a trip to the country I’ve longed to see. Things aren’t 100% set yet so I’m not going to reveal what country that is but it’s going to happen. I’m going to make it happen even if it means taking the leap on my own because this is my life and I’m tired of waiting for others.

Deciding who you want to be. Boy that can be a pain. I’d love to talk to a bunch of school kids and tell them the realities of leaving school, the main one being, you can’t be expected to know who you want to be for the rest of your life. The other, accept who you are and embrace it. Heck I’m 23 and still struggle with that. I’m constantly comparing my life to others’, whether that be personally with a relationship or professionally as their perfect career falls into place. Even if we have the support of those around us, that stupid little voice in our heads tells us ‘you should be doing this by now’ or ‘look at that person over there with their wonderful life’. Why isn’t yours like that? We’re told that change and trying new things is good and yet when we want to pursue a new career path or let life choose its own course by trying new things, it’s a big no no. Life is a bunch of trials and errors. That’s what they never tell you. You’re told that life is linear, not a juxtaposition of multiple paths. Its hard because for a lot people, it is linear and that’s okay. The path is set and you follow it. But for others’ that’s not the case and we need to recognize that.

It’s taken me awhile to listen to this advice and I’m still trying to. I probably will be for many years to come. The way to get through it? Accept it. Also learn that patience is a virtue. Oh and social media can a lot the time, not be your friend. It’s a world of control and manipulation that does a heck of a good job at making us all believe that everyone else is perfect. Be careful with it. Recognize its perks and connections to the world but also drive your own car and clear the windows every once and awhile. (I was never going to leave this post without a metaphor was I? I am an English graduate after all.)

And now the part you’ve probably all been scrolling through to find, the skin cancer part. A month and a bit ago I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my face. Luckily basal cell is a minor skin cancer but it can grow, be a physical frustration and irritation, especially after the biopsy never allows the scab to heal itself.

Long story short, I went from a Nurse, to the GP and was referred to a general surgeon who took the biopsy and confirmed what it was. Then I was referred to a plastic surgeon in another city due to the location of it and my young age (this type of skin cancer is most common in people 60+). At the consultation with the plastic surgeon, he drew an eye shape drawing on my face (two curves on each side and a circle in the centre.) The nature of a basal cell means you have to cut large enough to reach good skin so you can get it all out and the long incision because you can’t cut a circle and expect it to fold without puckering. Luckily for me, I was referred to a plastic surgeon that has an amazing work history. The cancer sat on my temple and near the end of my brow so the incision would run along my temple and through my brow. I’d have to channel my inner Ellie from The Last of Us and embrace the scar. After the first and only consolation with the plastic surgeon I went into another room and got the cancer taken out. The plastic surgeon’s skills were obvious as soon as the stitches came out a week later and it already looked as though the incision was as wide as a pin or cat scratch even though a chunk of my skin had been taken out and pulled together again. Plus my brow looked normal even though it was being pulled down. Hallelujah.

And so that’s where I’ve been. Obviously a five day a week full time job also takes over a chunk of time but I still wanted to reconnect. If you’ve made it this far then you’re a gem.  I hope you’re having a lovely night/day.

Lauren