I had my SNB and wide area excision done on 7/19/10. The excision was just above my right knee, (a though spot with knee movement).
I was sent home with a "straight leg brace". I have kept the brace on, (except for showers) and this morning I saw some blood on the gauze under the Tagamet dressing. I checked a few hours later and saw more blood. Not bright red, and covering about 1 -2 inches of the 5 inch gauze.
I called the doctor and will be going tomorrow to get it checked. My apt. to get the SNB results is on 7/27/10.
The pathology on my melanoma came back T1b, (.40 thick but clerks level 4, causing the b).
I guess I am frustrated by the leg brace holding me back and scared about getting the SNB results.
My wife is very supportive but I am trying not to "over-burden" her with some of my anxiety.
So, I guess my question is, bleeding from WAE site is not that un-common, correct?
I have not been on this forum long, (only being a few weeks diagnosed) but I have been appreciative and even comforted by your posts, even though not directed to me.
Yes, I was having somewhat of a panic attack yesterday. Having been healthy all my life, I am still struggling with the fact that I have cancer, and will have it, (and the threat of re-occurance) for the rest of my life.
When I was 14, I lost my closest Uncle, (and the first close person to me) to Melanoma. I saw him just hours before he passed in the hospital. It effected me then and of course those memories are brought back by my diagnosis.
I do realize that I am fortunate to be where I am at with this disease. If the source that was removed was / is my only source, than I know the statistics are with me. And from reading other peoples stories, having my excision where I did, (while not being good based on movement) certainly could be in a worse position.
I appreciate your sharing on waiting for the SNB results. Stats are stats but this waiting is tough. I may even get the results today as I go to get the dressing / wound looked at, (although it has only been 4 days). Let me know what I am up against and I will figure it out and [mostly] do fine. Tell me to wait for what could be life changing results and it is just hard.
I shared some of your response with my wife,. Again she has been very supported but I can see the apprehension and fear in her eyes. She lost her last husband too soon to illness and it would be very hard for her to loose another sooner than anyone would expect, (I am 15 years her junior).
I have followed what you and others have said about clarks level. My pathology report shows "No mitoses identified" for Mitotic index.
In my short visit to this forum I want to thank all that have posted, even those that like me did so with just questions / venting emotions. It is helpful to us all.
I am active in several other forums on line, (not health related) and never thought I would find myself here.
Thank you all that have posted, especially with help and especially you HaoleBoy, I cannot begin to tell you how much it has helped me and is appreciated.
Well All, (and especially HaoleBoy) I just got back from my surgeon and no issues with the WAE. He took off the Tagamet and all looked good. Although I will say, (seeing the incision area for the first time) that quite a chunk was taken out of me!
My Primary referred me to a great surgeon in the central Connecticut area.
More importantly, the results came back from my WAE & SNB as negative for any signs of cancer, (NED?)!
So yesterday I was sad, today I am happy. And I guess that is the way it is going to go.
I have made an appointment with an Oncologist as that will be my next step.
I already have an appointment with the dermatologist.
Thanks all and I wish everyone the best in their fight against this disease, (knowing my fight will never be over)!
Oh wow I just had a similar procedure....above my left knee, a tad to the left of my knee actually so towards the outer thigh. However but mine was about a 1/2 an inch higher than the knee so not sure if that makes a difference.. They did not give me a leg brace but I have been trying to keep my leg straight as I am scared to tear the stiches. So far all looks good with mine, just had it done 7/23 so its been 4 days. Also yours sounds to be much deeper than mine and more advanced, I am not familiar with all the lingo. Mine was stage 0 or 1 and I know they had to remove .5cm around my previous mole and just do some fat underneath.
I did a straight line of stitches, 22 to be exact, is this similar to what you have?
Oh and I have had a little bleeding as well - nothing heavy, just some spots here and there. I have to clean and change the dressing twice a day. What about you?
Do you let it get wet in the shower? I havent yet but again its only the 3rd day.
My incision starts at the right knee and goes up about 6 inches. The depth the surgeon goes down is based on the path. report of the biopsy. While mine was early on and only .4 thick, I had a level IV Clarks, (which is being discontinued as a measure). I believe the surgeon uses these as a guide and the their own experience / discretion. I also don't know if it matters but I weigh in at 295, so there is plenty of me to cut. I can tell you I have a pretty deep depression from what he took from me. But I prefer that then to risk leaving some cancer behind.
I think I only have 12 stitches but again, I think that number is based on how the surgeon does them. I "popped" my [much smaller] biopsy incision the day I got the stitches out getting into my Corvette. Vette's are great because they have enough room for someone my size, but getting in and out is a challenge and they only sit a few inches off the ground. Popping an incision that you just had stitches removed will make you keep your leg brace on, (at least me) but I do curse it almost every day.
I think I had a very skilled surgeon because I have had very little pain and bleeding from this, (and I am somewhat a bleeder being on aspirin therapy). As I indicated above, I had no problem until I went back to work on day three. I had trouble getting into the car and did some tugging and pulling, (but kept the brace on). Really the Dr. did not want me to drive, but I have such a short distance and was very careful.
So I had my WLE on Monday and went to the Doctor on Friday because of the "bleeding" I saw. I had that clear Tagamet film and was told not to touch it or the dressing under it. The Tagamet is nice because on day 2 I could shower and it kept everything dry. The issue with them is if you bleed under them, they have to remove them to see what is going on. Anyways, the Dr. took off the Tagamet, (kind of freaked me out how easily it pulled off) and everything looked great under the dressing. I keep an ace bandage to hold the gauze in place and keep my brace on. Which I found I can do taking some fast Parade laps around a Le Mans series track!
So the Tagamet let me shower on the day after surgery. That was very nice!
Being my first surgery, (other than wisdom done under general at the hospital / back in the day). I opted for general for the WLE and the SNB. I did great in recovery and was sipping coffee after about 30 minutes and up and walking within 60. I don't know what the surgeon put on the SNB incision but I have had no issues with it, (and their is no stitches). Thats good because of where it is.
Did you have a Sentinel Node Biopsy done as well? Having 22 stitches seems like your incision may be longer that mine, (mine is about 6 inches).
Hang in there and don't be afraid to ask questions. I am new to this disease but have learned a lot since diagnosed about a month ago.
Next for me is stitch removal, the Oncologist and the a dermatologist. I have never been to any of these types of Dr's and actually do kind of hate going to Doctors.
Melanoma is not something to play with. If you suspect it, get it checked and get it treated aggressively.
Ok so mine was much much smaller than yours. My actual mole was only .3x.2x.1cm and then they went around it .5cm in circumfrence. My scar is 1 1/2 inch long and like I said 22 stitches (small stitches). I am not sure why I have so many and you don't but I mine seems to be very tight and I am hoping for a "pretty" scar. (Sorry folks I am vain.)
Anyway since mine was stage 0 or stage 1 (that is not 100% confirmed) - as the labs came back as it may or may not be but to treat AS melanoma. Very confusing...I can post the labs results if you'd like to see. But I saw two doctors and had two different labs look at the slides and both offices said to go ahead and treat as melanoma and to remove more area. They said that is all I need done and I need to keep an eye on my body and get checked 4x over the next year and then 2x a year thereafter.
Ok so what is a tagamet dressing and are you not allowed to remove it? Is it just a waterproof dressing? I had to keep my initial dressings on 48 hours and now I have a non-stick telfa pad and I am supposed to clean and change it 2x a day (with hydrogen peroxide and bacitracin.) What are your wound care instructions or don't you have any? I am on another melanoma "chat" board and am learning doctors have so many different instructions!
I took a closer look at my 6" incision this morning and the Dr. must have used some glue as some of the stitches are 1/2" apart! Anyways it looks really good to me. I think I will have more of a scar and luckily, I don't think I am as vain as others. My incision for my SNB is about as long as your WLE incision.
Lot's of web sites out there to help you stage your mel. The initial part is the pathology report from the mole biopsy. Sounds like your was borderline mel. Better to ensure clean margins around a suspected tumor. As I understand it, some of the cancer is too small to be seen by todays technology, so better safe than sorry.
Tagamet is a clear dressing that breaths from the inside but keeps a waterproof / contamination proof barrier from the outside. My first time having it and it worked good for me as I could shower the next day. I like several showers a day, (they always make me feel good). Also, as I saw that Tagamet comes off very easily, NICE!
No special wound care instructions. Gently wash it in the shower, keep it covered with gauze and wrap it with an ace bandage. After a week, it looks pretty darn good for a 6" cut and a big depression.
Bottom line folks, treat mel aggressively! Based on my report from my WLE margins and SNB, I have no signs of cancer, (NED - No Evidence of Disease). When I go to the oncologist, if a suggestion of further treatment comes up I would consider it, (even though I don't believe their will be).
Hope you are doing well. Keep comfortable, stay positive and keep yourself informed. I am a firm believer in being a large part in your own medical care.