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Disbelief
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2008

Im a 25 year old single mom whom last year was diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma on my calf. The tumor was removed in December and luckily they said it hadnt spread to the lymph nodes. I always loved the outdoors, beach, pool, anything that I could feel the warmth of the sun. I also used tanning bed's in the winter to keep a nice bronze glow. I never would have thought that I would get cancer. Although the Dr. said it was all removed, I keep reading these stories with people who it comes back and they dont realize it. I am terrified for my life. I still have so much more to accomplish, including seeing my 4 year old son grow up and have a family of his own. I feel all alone, that no one I know's really understands what I am going through. Please help. I dont want to live in fear for the rest of my life, what can I do?

CSDS's picture
CSDS
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2006

Dear Mom,

I am a 5 1/2 year stage 3 melanoma survivor. Thoughts of the cancer coming back is normal. I have to say my comfort was found in God. He gives us peace in the midst of the storm. I have PET SCANS once a year and each time I wonder if anything has changed. You had stage 2 and the doctor should have told you a percentage for reoccurence. You probably have a good chance of no reoccurence. But stay a way from the tanning bed and take precautions outside. Get regular Dermalogy checks and anything that comes up should be found quickly. Sometimes it is just mind over matter. I am not going to dwell on living in fear. God didn't give a spirit of fear, but a sound mind. I've had 13 places cut off since my first two surgeries. I just have keep my mind clear. I'll be praying for you. CSDS

Zod66's picture
Zod66
Posts: 28
Joined: May 2008

Hi Disbelief. I'm also a stage III survivor and have like CSDS there are definitely times I think of what a recurrence would do to me and my family.
You did not say how you found out about the original tumor, what (if any) follow up you are doing with your oncologist, if you're going to go through any treatments, or what preventative steps you have planned.

I'll let you know what I do. I am two years into not having any treatments; actually was able to finish the one year Interferon A plan. I have two complete body PET/CT scans done each year; these will stop after I've reached 5 yrs. And I go to my dermatologist every 6 months for a complete body check; this will continue for the rest of my life. I have gone earlier then 6months to my dermatologist when I found a mole that I did not recall him or me catching before; it was in a pretty "private" spot.

Anyhow, like CSDS noted you should definitely practice preventative measures and if you do not have some type of schedule already w/your dermatologist establish one. Early detection is your only savior. As you may already know Melanoma is one of the most deadly cancers due to it's ability to travel so quickly through the body; skin is our biggest organ.

pennmar14's picture
pennmar14
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2008

I am sorry you are joining this horrible journey!
I too am on the same road as you. I am a single mom with stage II Melanoma. I was diagnosed in 2005. The only difference in my story is that I have FAMMM. My father passed away from Melanoma 1 1/2 years prior to my diagnosis. So my chance of reoccurance is greater. I get yelled at by both my oncologist and my dermatologist if they see any signs of sun on my skin! ;) It is difficult to get used to at first. But gradually you do "get used to it." If you wish, please email me. pennmar14@sbcglobal.net we can talk

gd68
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi,
I'm a new stage III. I was previously just a stage 1a with no SLN involvement, but looks like that is history! I completely understand the terror and feeling alone. It's hard to have something where you look completely well, yet there may be a monster lurking somewhere in your own body. It takes a good 6-12 months to start feeling yourself again and stop thinking the world is about to fall in on you. It helps me that I'm so busy with my kid's activities (I have 4... from 2 to 11)... very distracting!

My husband has started a blog on a melanoma forum at www.network54.com. It seemed like an easy way to just chat with others having the same experience. If you want to check it out go to www.network54.com and search for melanoma.

Anyway, best wishes for a full (physical and mental) recovery,
gd

jorles
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi disbelif,

I hope all is well with you. I am a stage 2 3 1/2 year melanoma surviver. I, too, am a single mom and my first thoughts when my doctor called me with my results were "what will happen to my daughters. That alone gives you more reason to stay on top of this. Cancer runs rampent in my family. No 2 people have had the same type so I pegged myself for skin cancer long ago (being a sun worshipper when I was younger).
It took a while to get past the terror but with each doctors visit with no reocurrence it gets better. I would never be so foolish to think that there this can't come back. I know I will always be watchful but you have to move forward. My attitude is that if it does come back I'll fight it. And there will be new and improved tools to fight with as time goes on.
good Luck.

yalleh's picture
yalleh
Posts: 36
Joined: Jul 2009

Dear D... The good news is that at stage 2 Melanoma is very beatable (96% of people dont see anything else the rest of their life). Of course this should make some life changes (no more tanning beds and high SPF suntan lotion all the time, you will or should be tested regularily to make sure their isnt any further spreading). Other than that just take one day at a time and dont worry about something that you cant control.

The other good news is you are not alone, you have sites like this and if you look you will find people around you that have something similar that you can talk too.

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