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Choice not Chance: Rules For Building a Fierce Competitor by Joanne P. McCallie

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Chapter 15

You Have to Seek Out the Changes—and See How You Need to React to Them—to Make the Team (and Your World) Better

I was back in Maine on vacation in August 2008 when both my mother and sister mentioned that they had noticed a change in a spot on my forehead as they watched one of our games on television. It was a little circle that I had always joked was my birthmark. But my family members weren’t joking; they begged me to get it checked out by a doctor when I got back to Duke.

I delayed the visit for a while, but finally went. As soon as the doctor examined me, he said, “We need to get that off right away.”

I thought he was kidding about the “right away” statement, but he was serious: He wanted me to undergo surgery the next day. After Dr. Zen cut out the mole (a most uncomfortable process), I thought everything was going to be okay. Yet the longer he looked at it, I could tell something wasn’t right.

When I asked the doctor what was wrong, he said he couldn’t say, that they had to wait for the lab tests. When he called me back (after what felt like years), he let me know that he hadn’t been able to get all of it, and then gave me the frightening news without mincing words that it was a malignant growth—melanoma. He told me that he would have to operate again and that I might have to undergo chemotherapy, because they were worried about the nodes.

They wasted no time performing the second surgery. Though they eliminated all of the cancer this time, it left an ugly scar ...

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