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Thread: Just found out I have melanoma :(

  1. #11
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    May 12 Update - post-removeal

    I had the mole removed today. They basically took out a circle the size of a quarter and went all the way down to the fat layer. So all my margins are clear.

    They are also going to send another sample to the lab because the report from my biopsy they felt wasn't clear... It said it was 1.2mm or greater deep.... which isn't super clear. So I should have those results back in a week.

    But she said she feels it remained local... so we'll see.

    I got 5 or 6 stitches underneath and a pretty long stitch on the surface of the skin. She said it has about 20 holes... which I guess would be like having 20 stitches if they just went from left to right... and it looks like it will heal pretty nicely.


    As for the SLN biopsy.. she said the problem with doing that is yes... it could show if any cancer cells have broken off from the main site.. but it could also be clear and in another node... and she said you can't just remove all the nodes.

    She has mentioned the Interferon treatment, which I highly doubt I would even do... she didn't say I should do it, but she said if the report comes back from today and shows that it was much deeper then 1.2mm it could be something I might want to consider.

    So overall, everything went well. Still gotta wait a week for the report, but she was pretty happy with the results.

  2. #12
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    Best of luck man!!

    I had the SLNB in my groin, it even came back negative. However, I was still back in the hospital having a lymph node dissection of the groin less than 3 months later.

    That Interferon treatment is something else. The first month was the worst. That's the 5 days a week heavy dose time. I kept pretty much "sedated" with oxycodone for a month.

    Would have my treatments, and then had 2 hours to get home and get as comfortable as possible before it beat me about the head and shoulders.
    Absolutely the worst headaches I've ever had.

    Worst part is, it didn't work for me. Even knowing this, it was worth a shot.

    Hang in there.
    ****Kick'n Cancers Arse Since April 2007****

    You can check out "My Story" at the link below.
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=9083

  3. #13
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    Got a call from the doctor's office today... they said the 2nd biopsy shows the breslow level was only .7mm, which the first biopsy said it was greater then 1.2mm.

    Now, I haven't read the report for myself... Hopefully I'll get a copy of it tomorrow or Wed.

    I don't understand why the first report would say it was deeper then the 2nd.... which will be one question I have for the doc when I have my followup visit.

    But if it really was only .7mm, that's not as bad as I had thought it would be.

  4. #14
    Racer, that is confusing. Unfortunately, I do not know why the two reports are different. Yes, it is good news if the 0.7 is confirmed. Keep us informed.
    Jim
    Long-term cancer survivor
    1992 Astrocytoma grade 2, left motor strip
    2005 Recurrence this time said to be an Oligodendroglioma grade 3, same location.
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2405
    My Story Part 1: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2528
    My Story Part 2: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?p=7350
    My Story Part 3: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=8029

  5. #15
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    I picked up the 2nd report today and spoke with one of the staff at the office. (I think she was a nurse - not really sure)

    The first biopsy was a bunch.. directly in the center. That report said "greater then 1.2mm".

    This biopsy was taken from the surrounding area and the report says .7 thickness... because the center is no longer there.

    She said that means that the first biopsy went all the way thru... so it was only 1.2mm. She said if the 2nd biopsy had come back with it showing deeper then the first, then that wouldn't have been good. But since it wasn't as deep as the first, it's a good thing.

    So I'm assuming that it just confirms that the first biopsy was complete, so it wasn't greater then 1.2mm... but rather 1.2mm since they had a complete section of the mole.

    That's the lastest... follow up visit will be next within a couple weeks.

  6. #16
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    I had my appointment yesterday with a doctor in the Hematology/Oncology
    department... as a follow up to the removal I had about 3 weeks ago.

    I'm not really sure what he's supposed to do, but he wants me to see him every year. In addition to seeing a derm every 6 months.

    Anyway, he basically gave me the run down on the thickness of mine - which was 1.2mm - and the odds of it having spread or coming back. He said I could get a SLN biopsy to see if cancer cells have gone anyplace else... and I asked him what that info would do. He said mostly piece of mind.. and if there are cancer cells, I could try the interferion.

    I will be getting a chest x-ray next week... and depending on how much an ultra sound is, he suggested getting one of my liver. If it's super expensive, I'll have to wait until later in the summer after I save up some money.

    So... he didn't really tell me anything I didn't know already. He did do a once over of my body.. he noticed three moles that look suspect to him, but I have a fair amount of moles, so he said it doesn't mean there is anything wrong - but he wants me to keep an eye on them and point them out to the derm.

    I have to make an appointment with a derm in the next few days and set that up.

    He said as long as nothing has spread, the key would be to keep up on anything new that appears.

    So that's the latest....

  7. #17
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    There is a melanoma cocktail, do some research on that. It might help in telling them before surgery that there isn't melanoma there. I had requested that, but of course doctors don't want you to tell them anything most of the time because they know more then you. Well the truth is, I know more them most of them when it concerns melanoma.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15934808

    to get you started there is one link. I use this site to help in determining what is good and what is bad for you.
    Jim

    Keep the faith, we all have too much to live for.

    My journey with melanoma: http://www.cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=8547

    My Blog: http://james.healthblogs.org/

  8. #18
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    I had a chest x-ray yesterday.... everything is clear. For now.

    Next doctors appointment is next week...

  9. #19
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    Hey... just wanted to give you an update.... I had a doctor's visit today..

    I had a lung xray last week, which was clear.

    The doc today is an expert with melanoma... he said with the depth of mole being 1.2mm, they would normally suggest doing a lymph node biopsy, but the issue with mine, being on the face is that there are three node groups and it would be hard to determine which group would have been effected by the melanoma. Plus, they normally do the biopsy before removing the melanoma, because after they cut away the skin and stitch it all back together, the path the fluids take changes. He said the latest study from 9/07 showed there was no difference in survival rates of those who had the lymph node biopsy done at the beginning and those that had it after the lymph nodes showed signs of having cancer in them, such as being swollen or painful. So by not doing the biopsy at this point isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

    Which is good... the side effects of the nodes being removed, if cancer is found, can be pretty bad. The nodes are there for a reason, and to just remove them if not needed could be worse then leaving them there. (IMO)

    I totally expected this guy to push the procedure and other treatments, but he said the best course of action for me at this stage would just to keep up with my full body scans and to have anything that looks like it could be melanoma checked out before it progresses.
    So that's what I'll be sure to do.

    He said there is probably a 20% chance of it coming back.... (but only a 5% chance of that.hahahahaha. Not really - inside Naked Gun joke) so who knows. It's cancer... and my views of it aren't great, so while I'm not sitting around worried about it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it did come back at some point.

  10. #20

    RACER X

    First of all, I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, and I will be praying for you for a good outcome.

    Concerning your questions, anytime a mole changes in any way, it is paramount that you seek medical attention from a dermatologist. The sooner the better!

    Secondly, melanoma can appear as a new lesion or grow within a pre-existing mole (as mine did). So, anytime you have a concern or question about a mole or new lesion, don't wait or dismiss it... GET IT CHECKED!!!

    Here is my melanoma story:

    In March of this year I noticed a mole on the upper portion of my left inner thigh that seemed to be getting a little bigger, but I was not completely sure. Considering that my father was diagnosed with melanoma a year earlier, I thought it would be prudent to have it looked at, so I decided to make an appointment with one of my dermatologists (I have two). When my doctor inspected it he said that it looked fine and did not seem to follow the ABCD's of melanoma ( http://www.melanomafoundation.org/prevention/abcd.htm ). He told me to watch it and let him know if it gets any bigger. Needless to say, I left the doctor's office with a spring in my step and a sigh of relief that it was nothing or so I thought.

    My divine intervention came about two weeks later. I am one of those people that takes great care of my hands... I get manicures, I exfoliate & moisturize, etc... so if something new showed up on my hands, I would notice it right away, this would not be the case anywhere else on my body considering that I have a lot of moles. One day when I was exfoliating I noticed a small black "dot" on the inner portion of my right index finger. This was something completely new and was not there the day before! This really caught my attention simply because it was black and new.

    So, without hesitation I promptly made an appointment with my other dermatologist -- not the one I had seen two weeks earlier -- to have this new black dot looked at. I thought that while I was there I would have him inspect the mole on my leg... essentially getting a second opinion. When he inspected my concerns, he informed me that the only way to know for certain what they are is to have them biopsied and looked at by a pathologist. So, I said go ahead take them off, which he did. I was not offered this option by my first dermatologist.

    I will be the first one to admit it, I really do not have a great deal of patience when it comes to medical issues... I like to have information immediately! I could not wait the whole week that I was told it would take for the results to come back. Later that same week I called my doctor to see if the pathology reports came back, and they did. The result from the black dot on my finger was nothing more than a new little freckle... I was so relieved because this was the one I was concerned about. However, the result from the mole on my thigh was not that promising... it was diagnosed as a spindle cell melanoma, which is a rare form of melanoma and accounts for only 4% of the melanoma's diagnosed. Furthermore, this form of melanoma is usually misdiagnosed because it does not follow the usual patterns of average melanoma.

    The results gave me pause and I fluctuated between emotions, and it took a little while for the fact that I have cancer to sink in. Here I am 38 years old, married with a 13 month old son and now I have a disease that has the potential to take my life. Wow!!!! This diagnosis really put life into perspective.... the brevity & fragility of life now has center stage! Life is so precious and should not be taken for granted as we all know and for some reason or another we neglect... for we are here today and gone tomorrow. I never lashed out at God questioning, "why me?" To ask such a question is so inappropriate and self-centered (obviously), but the question, "why not me?" seemed more appropriate, but nevertheless difficult to understand. In life we never want to think that something like cancer or any other life threatening disease will find its way to our doorstep, but cancer is not a respecter of persons and should not be taken lightly. I long to have another baby and to grow old with my wife... to see my son grow up and to share in the joys of his life... these are the things that I hold so dear to my heart. My priorities are now in line... unfortunately it took melanoma to do it, but nevertheless, they are front and center!

    I am very thankful to God for all the blessings he has bestowed on me in my life and for revealing this cancer to me in the way that he did... if he had not given me my "miracle freckle" I would have not gone into have the mole on my leg biopsied...this would have given the cancer a chance to grow and to eventually take my life. To see that his hand is upon me in this situation is comforting and the prayers and support of my friends and family is absolutely incredible! I could never thank everyone enough!

    I would like to stress to everyone not to take life for granted. This life is so short and precious and we should live everyday to the fullest. Also, you have to be a proactive advocate for your health!!! By all means, please don't dismiss something that could be a potential health concern, no matter what it is. Denial can be a terrible foe. Furthermore, please keep watch on any mole or spot on any part of your body, if you are not sure about it, go to a dermatologist and have it removed... this is not an alarmist's position, just sound advice. Please check out the following link for more information:
    http://www.melanomafoundation.org/facts/statistics.htm

    If anyone would like to talk to me about their experiences with malenoma, then please feel free to contact me at the following email address: [email protected], for I would love to talk to you. Thank you for reading!

    In His Service,
    Erick

 

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