Melanoma on the Bottom of My Toe -- Are you kidding me ?
Gang, this is my story with melanoma (which is a short story thus far)....I had never heard of anyone getting melanoma on the bottom of a toe, before I was diagnosed....
My fight with melanoma has just begun.... and I'm still trying to come to grips with it emotionally..... I was the paragon of health for a 49 year old ex-Army officer when the biopsy of a "wart" on the bottom of my left foot's 2nd toe came back as melanoma .... Talk about being scared out of my wits..-- and I came close to packing it in about 3 times while I was in service but cancer is far worse...this is insidious and without the almost immediate closure I experienced when a tank almost ran over me (it missed me, wow, cool, carry on !).
...But with this thing, I keep thinking well, I now know what is likely to eventually kill me given mel's nasty penchant for late recurrences beyond 10 years NED, even for Stage IA folks (though they have VERY good odds)....
I left Hawaii to come back to my original home town in St Louis where my entire family/support network is located and was treated at an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, which doesn't exist in my resident state of Hawaii..... The surgeon amputated my toe and a wedge of my foot's front ball and I'm still recovering as I write this.... For the past 4 days, I've been able to hobble around without the crutches as long as I wear this boot contraption.
.... Thankfully, my sentinel lymph node biopsy was negative and there was no evidence of residual mel cells in the "specimen" that they amputated (clean margins)..... so I am now Stage IIA and NED for almost 40 days now.... but the spectre of a recurrence ticking time bomb is keeping me up at night; hopefully I can stop taking ambien to fall asleep once I put some distance between myself and my melanoma DX.....
I hope getting back on my feet and back to work helps too... I was always more of a "gym guy" than a "beach guy" in Hawaii but did go to the beach when I was younger, but was always pretty "haole looking" (white) as my local friends say .... The docs don't believe my mel is UVA exposure related ..... they also say I'm 'lucky" to have caught it when I did since most people with foot/toe mel tend to present with really thick lesions and regional/systemic metastasis ..... but I still kick myself bigtime for not picking up on my lesion earlier, but it didnt' grow out of a mole nor did it fit the ABCD criteria... Oh well, I've had plenty of time during the past 5 weeks + to read a ton of melanoma medical studies...
Sorry for an ultra-long post and thanks for giving me an outlet to vent......
Just read your posting. I was disgnosed with "superficial spreading melanoma stage 4" in 1989, It was between the baby toe. I had "satellites" removed at the same time.
A few years prior to that I had totally fried the tops of my feet Windsurfing in the Keys.
My dermatologist told me the spot had been there my entire life and I never noticed it,
Not satisfied with that rediculous answer, I went to a podiatrist, who sent me to another derm dr. and on to surgeon. I had a biopsy with a second resection but retained my toes.
Has not reoccurred since.
Although I am now faced with other serious issues not related to Mel.
Your post gives me hope charliebird. Even though my cancer is a very low risk, I still am fearful..
btw, I also used to windsurf for a number of years.. that's a good way to get a LOT of sun! I always covered up, and used sunscreen on face, and sometimes hands/arms.. but legs were not protected, and that's where my melanoma showed up..
I still have the windsurf equipment collecting dust in the garage..!
Yes the days of sun and surf. I always rented wind surfing equipment, but did own my own snow skiis, Living in the great white north always had plenty of snow.
Happy to hear of your diagnosis Sator, When I was diagnosised the staging system was different, I don't know what that would compare to today.
I still see an oncologist yearly and so far all is well with the MEL. No reoccurance, but I do slather and slop on the sunscreen when I am out now. I love sitting in the shade as well.
Charlie Bird, thanks for asking....I've been MIA on this forum for a while....I'm still NED and holding at IIA 8.5 months out... PET Scan last month was good... Have had some scares since the WLE and SNB in August and have had 2 X punch biopsies and one fine needle aspiration of some "shoddy" palpable nodes in my left groin (November 0 which led my onc surgeon to order the PET Scan I had in early April.... All turned out negative for mel......Getting on with life and enjoying the summer..... I've been blessed (so far) !
Well, last month I celebrated my first anniversary of NED -- No Evidence of Disease -- and am still holding at Stage IIA.... In July, I had yet another punch biopsy (my 2nd one in 8 months) for another "thing" on my left calf -- same side and leg where my primary mel tumor was located. Biopsy results where negative (relief, )
And yesterday, I had another fine needle aspiration (FNA) (my 2nd one in 10 1/2 months) on some pretty big lumps behind my knee and in the hamstring region on my right leg (my good leg) and for a much smaller lump behind my left knee. Happily, these turned out to be fatty lipomas.
It's been a long haul on the short highway to 1 year NED.... I don't know where this journey of life will end but hopefully my melanoma experience was just a detour and not a traffic wreck waiting to happen again....
I don't know what happened to Tony who was one of the first participants on this specific forum to respond when I posted... He wasn't in good shape when he last posted, but wherever he is, I pray that he is at peace and not in pain.... And to all the other Melanoma Warriors battling this darn disease, prayers and blessings for you and your family...
Haole Boy (aka Hawaii Bob)
Oahu, Hawaii, USA
1 Year NED, 21 August 2009
2.40mm Superficial Spreading Melanoma, Bottom of Left Foot's 2nd Toe, Amputated in WLE; SNB one node left inquinal groin negative for mets; Procedures performed at Washington University, Siteman Cancer Center, St, Louis, Missouri
I guess this is not unusual. I was diagnosed with Melanoma in November 2006. It started with a mole on my right shoulder. Surgery to remove a lot of tissue and lymph nodes. Biopsys were negative. Tested negative until August of 2008. Tumors found in lungs and brain. Numerous chemos and gamma knife radiation last two years. Last brain MRI and PET Scan were negative, November of last year. Brain Mri next week. Keep your fingers crossed.
My step Daughter was diagnosed about 2 years later with a Melanoma on her right toe next to the big one. Toe was amputated and she did fine for a while. We had the same surgeon and oncologist. Her cancer spread to her lungs and brain last summer and eventualy to other major organs. She passed on August 11th at 38 years of age. We had some of the same chemos and both had Gamma Knife procedures. Needless to say the guilt has been very hard to deal with.
But I do want to say the reason I'm sharing this is to show how everyone reacts differently to the same disease. I'm 64 and I guess it proves the old saying, ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG.