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Nissalyn
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi! I am new here, and I am in much need of a point of view from a melanoma survivor. I feel guilty even putting myself in that class, as I have never suffered or become ill as a result of my cancer. I had a mole on my right inner thigh removed because it was suspicious and showed signs of change. This was done in late April of 08. The mole which was about the size of a pencil eraser, and was .80 deep, was a malignant melanoma. I had a wide excision done and the sentry node in my right groin was also removed. The tissue surrounding the original mole tested clean as did the node. I had this surgery done the 17th of June. None of my many scans showed anything of concern. Everything has turned out great and since the depth was less that .85, no interferon treatment was needed. This was a relief as I am 40 years old, a divorced Mom of 4, going to her final year of nursing school. The problem is, I am chronically fatigued with no apparent reason. I literally fall asleep trying to drive or watching TV. I have spoken to my doctors and they say that it is the stress of the situation and the surgery. My family is trying to understand, but I am sure they are becoming frustrated. The other day my boyfriend of 6 years told me that I complained constantly about not feeling well and being tired. I was/am so embarrassed. I start school in a month, my house is a disaster and I am not working. Does anyone have a situation similar to this and if so is there anything that is helpful. I also had another suspicious spot on the bottom of my foot removed with wider margins on July 7. This showed no malignancy. So exercise is limited and I have walked about 1/2 mile per day when I could stand the heat. Any helpful answers/advice would be hepful to me! Thanks!

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

First of all I would like to validate for you that you are indeed a Survivor. Congratulations. It's good that the pathology came back negative from around the mole. That means the surgeoun cut far enough out and down and removed all of the cancerous cells. I'm going to assume the pathology report for the Sentinel node came back negative. This is also good because that is a good sign the cancer cells have not traveled through your blood to the lymph nodes.
I'm not sure what to tell you about your fatigue. I personally suffered, and still struggle with, fatigue after completing the one year Interferon A program. After two years of no treatments it's not too bad but definitely took a good six months after treatments stopped to start felling somewhat normal.
I might agree w/your doctor. You got a lot on your plate; cancer, motherhood, relationship, school, not working, and more.
I would encourage you to take a step back, or even out of your life, and try to get re-organized. Literally write down what you need to get achieved in the next few weeks, put dates by them, and try to use that list to keep you focused. Crossing things off a list of goals is always rewarding for me and helps me see that I am getting something done.
Also, I would encourage you to try and cope with life without the aid of prescriptions. I had to get on anti-depressants during my treatments due to the chemical imbalances it was causing but a couple of months after my treatments ended I got off them. It was amazing how un-clouded my life became.
I would wish you good luck but you already have luck on your side. Detecting your Melanoma early enough to do something about it is about as lucky as it gets.

Nissalyn
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2008

I feel like abit of a complainer, I really had no treatment, I have cut out almost all prescriptions for depression, but am still trying to currently cope with the anxiety. Alot of that deals with life issues, not cancer issues. I certainly appreciate the advice and will keep reading as I learn constantly form posts on this board. Thanks to you all!

gd68
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2008

Nissalyn,

I also had surgery for a .6mm thick melanoma on my shoulder. They checked my SLN and it was clear as was the border of the 1cm removal. I had some regression (signs of my immune system fighting back the tumor from the underside... that's why they did the SLN biopsy. That was Jan. 2007... several months after my surgery the inventor of the SLN biopsy published a paper stating that he no longer considered it an effective diagnostic tool. Here I am 19 months later and I've had a recurrence in my regional lymph nodes... which was never supposed to happen. I don't want to add extra worry and stress... Lord knows we have enough ( I also have 4 kids). Don't you love how doctors say, "Can't you just take an evening off," yeah, if you come watch my kids for me! But, be vigilant in listening to your body... it's telling you something... slow down, get more sleep, etc... Odds are in your favor... about 83-86 percent of negative SLN biopsies for stage 1 never have a recurrence. Just before my lymph nodes swelled up it felt like a minor bruise somewhere under my skin at the site.

Hopefully your fatigue is mostly from the enormous anxiety an event like this causes. It takes a long time to start feeling whole and confident that you can put this event behind you. Exercise will be your key to feeling good about yourself... strength training is a natural anti-depressant and aerobic exercise is always good for you. The people with the best outcomes are those who are in shape and follow a relatively healthy way of life... it helps to be relatively young, too!

My husband has started a melanoma forum on www.network54.com about all things melanoma. We just didn't find many places to collect and distribute information.

Best wishes,

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