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Newly diagnosed

cher4him
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2002

I was just diagnosed this week with a stage 4 melanoma! I think I am in denial or shock.
It seems so strange--because I don't feel sick or anything! My family doctor removed the "thing" and thendid another surgery yesterday to remove the "margins". Now I am going to see an oncologist. My family doctor questions the stage 4 (Clark's) diagnoisis--so I don't know how I feel!! I haven't told anyone yest except my husband--is that normal? It is like I don't want to talk about it to anyone--gues that is denial--anyone else feel this way at first?
Pls respond, I really need someone to talk to, Cher

inkognita
Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2002

The fear is absolutely horrible. You may indeed be in denial at this point. In some ways, it might be easier for you. Stage 4 sounds like it is questionable, unless it has spread to other areas. Mine had spread to the regional lymph nodes, but my oncologist only labeled me as late Stage 3 or early Stage 4. Hopefully, yours hasn't gone that far. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. The sudden realization that you have cancer is bad enough, but melanoma can be devastating. I was first diagnosed about 4 years ago. They removed the mole and then did the margin excision. I was told they had gotten it all, but within 9 months it had appeared in my lymph nodes. I'm almost 3 years out from that recurrence, but the odds are not in my favor. I was unable to take the Interferon therapy because it affected my liver to the point of almost causing liver failure. That's not the normal reaction for most people, though. My liver was already damaged by a hepatitis earlier. I'm rambling...sorry. It might actually help you to talk to someone about your melanoma. If you have really close friends who really listen, that could be good. Also, a minister or counselor might be helpful. You need a strong support system to handle this. I hope you find the support you need. Try to take it one day at a time. That's easier said than done, but it does help, and it does get easier with a little time. God bless you, and I wish you well.

robynp
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2002

I am sorry. I hope you know that a clarks level 4 diagnosis is not the same as the cancer being stage 4. I was confused by this at first, as my first doc told me that I had level 4 malignant melanoma. I went online and about collapsed in fear from what I was reading. It was 2 days later that somebody finally explained that it was Clarks level 4, big differance. It was and still is a rough road. I lost about a third of my lower right leg, but so far everything else is clear. I don't know if this helped you at all, but I will pray for you tonight.

auntcathy
Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2002

Nothing you are feeling is unusual. It is alot to comprehend at first and with tiime and information, you can get a handle on all of it. Arm yourself with as much info as you can find. The more you know, the less you have to be frightened about. There is a great website...type in MPIP and hit go. It is a melanoma patient info page and is full of people who are also in the same boat. You can read what they are going through and ask all the questions you want. Someone will have an answer or will point you in the right direction to find the answer. I am Stage 2b and keeping my fingers crossed. Give yourself time too and ......most important of all....say your prayers. Find a good oncologist and derm and go from there. Good luck and God bless.

Cathy

sempcom
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2002

I was just diagnosed with Advanced stages of Melanoma also. It's been 2 weeks for me and I am having a hard time talking about it. I get so tired when I have to even think about telling people. I had this " thing " on my leg for 3+ years and finally had it removed. I have always felt healthy, but since I was diagnosed.. Now I feel sick.. Treatment hasnt started yet.

rlavery
Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2002

Sempcom:
It sucks.... there are no other words for it. It is unfair and totally wrong. Our only crime is enjoying the outdoors. You would think that there would be more knowledge of detection and treatment in the medical world, but there isn't. It's not a money maker, yet.
This is the one case in life where you have to do for yourself, totally. You have to search and find the finest minds in the medical industry concerning this disease. You have to question every doctors' recommendation, once, twice, three times, if neccessary. You have to be like a 3 year old and constantly ask why of the doctors choices for your treatment. Do not take, "that's how we do it" or "I don't know" for an answer. Seek clinical trials, now, before starting any treatment that would jepordize eligibility of a trial.
You've been knocked down, now get up and get to work and save your life and GOD be with you.

happyme
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2002

Hi Cher,
I'm Sandi, I was just had a mole on my chest tested from a dermatologist, it's malignant melanoma 0.3mm thick. I went last week to a Plastic surgeon and had a larger area around the mole removed and had a graft of skin from the groin to cover the large area. It was in and out of the hospital. I'm recovering, chest is very tight, can't drive for 3 weeks, can't lift anything.

I made an appointment to talk to an oncologist Aug. 9th. My doctor says he got all the edges...pathology is good...smile. But I had neighbors who had it and are gone. Bob had it on his heal of his foot, and the other person had a small red blister by her vagina. They were told they got it all. Later they found more and had chemo and radiation but it spread rapidly and was too late. This cancer is very agressive...
It spreads to bone, liver, lungs, Brain and lymph nodes. So far my chest is clear, and CBC on blood is good....great news..

So I'm taking charge and going to have more tests done by a oncologist...and ask lots of questions and see if it's anywhere else on my body..... No one is our family ever had melanoma. Breast cancer by my Mother and her Mother who pasted away at age 70. My Dad had bladder cancer at age 60, they told us he would died in a week, they removed the tumor and he is still living at age 82. Yesterday we celebrated his birthday.

I know how scared you are, so am I. I have two girl's, ages 32 and 22. I just turned 55 years old and a grandmother with a 8 year old grandson and waiting any day for
identical twin girls to be born...

I'm too busy with family, I'm the one they all turn to. It's hard being strong... I have to keep fighting, have courage, strength and pray. I have asthma and severe allergies with foods, grasses, trees, etc.. I just found a lump in my mouth on Sunday, I hope it's the allergies again, it's happened before...never a dull moment with my little body...

Good luck to both of us...let you know how my appointment August 9th with oncologist comes out. What's next????

Smile, Smile, Smile, take one day at a time...enjoy your family do the things you like to do, and stay busy... I have an aunt who is going to be 102 years old and is still having a good life...see I have a long way to catch up with her.
Best Wishes

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