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Another Cancer

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Just got a diagnosis of Melanoma Skin Cancer. Very frustrated!
Julie-SunnyAZ

alapah's picture
alapah
Posts: 255
Joined: Oct 2009

Julie, I share your frustration and concern. I was diagnosed with melanoma within months of the thyroid cancer diagnosis. In fact, it was there prior, but I didn't know it was cancer.

I have since learned that I am positive for the BRAF mutation, a mutation commonly linked to melanoma, thyroid cancer and several other cancers. I now get skin checks every three months. My melanoma was on the neck (and i definitely felt "what is with the focus on the neck') but it was in situ, so i was rather fortunate. It was excised and so far so good. Scary though. I was so afraid to be outside at all at first.
eileen

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I am keeping positive that it will not metastasize. This is a very serious cancer and I am B-RAF positive.
Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

Hannah1
Posts: 62
Joined: Jun 2012

Hi sunnyaz,
I hear your frustrations. I was also diagnosed with uterine and breast cancer before my thyroid cancer
Diagnosis. Anyway we can fight this cancer just be strong and keep that spirits up.

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Thanks again for your positive attitude. Got the Pathology report. It does state that it is in situ, so I guess this is good news. I go to the Dermatologist/Oncologist on Tuesday for consult. Then he will set up the MOH's surgery. This is gonna be so much fun ;( I did some research and found out that my mom had melanoma on her back many years ago and I never knew about it. Also spoke to my sister who tells me that my Grandmother (on my mom's side) DIED of Melanoma. I remember she had to have one of her eyeball's removed about sixteen years ago just before she died. I wasn't aware that Melanoma was in our family history. This is a really good argument for knowing family history. So the other bad news is that my sister (the one that told me about my mom and grandma's melanoma) recently started Chemo for Triple Negative HER 2 Breast cancer. It's the worst most aggressive type. She tells me that it is also hereditary but we do not have any documented cases in our family until her diagnosis. OMG, shoot me now and put me out of my misery! I am definitely keeping up with the Baking Soda treatment I read about. It can't hurt and might fight anything that has metastasized from my Thyroid or Melanoma.
Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

Hannah1
Posts: 62
Joined: Jun 2012

Hi Julie, good luck with your surgery. I will be praying for you.

ThycaAnne
Posts: 68
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi, Julie--

I just saw your post about melanoma. I am SO sorry to hear this. Haven't you been thru ENOUGH??? Know that I will be thinking about you & praying for you. I hope you will post again after you see the onc next week. I assume you'll be having surgery?

Talk soon.

Anne
Houston

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Great to hear from you! I will be having the MOH's surgery as soon as possible. My PCP, (new doctor) said that it could not wait. I finally changed PCP's because the old one kept disregarding everything I told him. He refused to listen to my complaints about my Thyroid back in 2008, chalked it up to old age. Around the same time I showed him the spot on my arm and he said it was an age spot, again chalked it up to old age. So the spot has been there for several years and continuing to grow as I continued to ask him about it. He then told me I was a "pain in the ass" but that if I found a Dermatologist that was covered under my insurance he would write the referral for me. What a jerk, that is his and his assistant's job to find a doctor that is covered under my plan. That was my last visit with him.

On the first visit with my new PCP (she is a DO by the way) she said that it MUST be biopsied and she scheduled the appointment while I was there. She did the shave biopsy last Friday and I got the news on Wednesday. My doctor actually called me herself and asked if I was sitting down and had a few minutes to discuss something very serious. She explained everything and was so kind and thorough.

I am consulting with the best of the best Dermatologist/Oncologist on Tuesday afternoon. I will post in the evening when I get home from Tucson.

Anne, I hope you are doing well. Please post to let me know how things are going with you too. Sorry I haven't been around much. I work too much and I am gone over twelve hours a day. I am looking at changing careers very soon. The Medical field has me so tired, stressed and frustrated that I just want to go back to Office/Administrative work as close to home as possible. I will be applying for a job that is only five minutes from my home with regular hours and very low stress. Please pray that I get an interview.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Okay, so I go in for what I thought was a consultation and the room is set up for a surgery. My first question is, "am I having a procedure today?" The RN says, "you didn't know?" I said, "no, but it's okay because that saves me a $35.00 co-pay if I don't have to come back." They tell me to strip down to my underwear and bra and gave me towelette's to wipe off my make-up. The LPN explained that he would do a full body check because cancer grows even where the sun don't shine. UGHHHH.....I did get a small hospital gown but had to ask for a paper drape to save some embarrassment. My legs are hairy and as I am sitting there almost naked with hairy legs and homely looking with no make-up; this really HOT young doctor walks in. I am just devastated and I am stuttering and stammering over my words and couldn't stop starring at him like a love sick puppy. He is super nice and makes conversation with me about which doc's I work for (we refer patients to him all of the time). He starts to draw with the purple pen a huge diamond shaped figure around my biopsy site. My eyes got huge and I asked him if it needs to be that big. He said that if I want he could do it smaller but there would be a possibility I would have to come back if there were any margins. Sometimes cancer can not be seen in the cells surrounding the area. Although I wanted to go back and see him just to gaze into his eyes, I didn't want to be cut again so I said, "cut me Mick! I like you and all but I don't want to come back for another slicing." He then did my FULL BODY INSPECTION! I kept thinking to myself "you are still a size four, you are still a size four-psych!". He checks my lymph nodes under my arms and in my groin which are my most ticklish spots and I giggle and squirm. This makes him smile however and he said that it was cute. Maybe this made up for the ripples on my butt and my hairy legs. He ended up taking a small site from my back and the arm incision was about three inches long from the beginning of my elbow to about middle of my forearm. Now, I have seen this done to other people and I assist in these types of surgery all of the time but I could not bear to watch it being done on me for fear I would embarrass myself by passing out and peeing all over myself.

The entire arm incision only took about thirty minutes. He was really fast and very good. Then he said goodbye, nice to meet you and thanks for all the referrals and was gone as quickly as he rode in on his white horse. Prince charming had left the room. But, at 9:45 last night he called me to see how I was doing. I couldn't believe it! Again, I was at a loss for words. All I could spit out was that I am doing okay except for the Coban wrap itching and irritating me. I told him how sweet it was for him to call and thanked him for it.

Last night I took a Vicodin before bed because I knew that when the lidocaine wore off I would be hurting. At 3:00 am the lidocaine and the Vicodin wore off and I was cussing out Prince charming and the horse he rode in on. Took another Vicodin and was rudely awakened again at 8:40 am by the throbbing and my balloon sized shiny hand.

The good news is that he said this should be it. Just hoping the one on my back comes back with clear margins or isn't cancer at all. I am wearing SPF 50 on my arms, chest face and neck everyday. I hear they now make an SPF 100 so I will be seeking out a bottle soon. If I do get to see him again (bittersweet) I hope to be a size four and I WILL be waxed and shaved before my appointment.

Blessings and thanks for all of your support ladies!
Julie-SunnyAZ

Baldy's picture
Baldy
Posts: 225
Joined: Mar 2011

Hope all goes well Julie!

Let me guess, your left arm, of course if you were English it'd be your right arm. It comes from hanging your arm out the car window while driving.

I'm also dealing with this but not to the degree you are. In the last ten or so years I've had five moles removed that tested anywhere from normal to severely displastic bordering on melanoma. Of the five, I've had to come back three times because they didn't go large enough when they shaved the mole off. The initial shave is only mildly painful after the novacaine wears off, but when they have to come back, I'm sore for days. I've never had any swelling though, but I've never had as large a piece removed, my largest was an eye shaped piece about 1.5 " by .75". With my needle phobia and only a local pain killer, each time they slice me, it's a shaky experience for me. I actually almost passed out when the doc was drawing on my arm where she would cut because I was purposefully looking in the other direction and had assumed she had started cutting :)

Just remember that you're probably the best at finding suspicious growths on your skin. I had been for my annual dermatological exam and asked about a mole on my left forearm. The doc said it looked OK to him but about two months later I noticed a couple of small blood spots on it {a very bad sign} and went right back. I got his PA since he didn't have any openings and asked her to take it off to make sure. The labs came back bordering on melanoma and I was glad I didn't wait 12 months for my next appointment. I now see his PA instead of him, I think she may be more thorough since she hasn't been in practice as long.

Alan

alapah's picture
alapah
Posts: 255
Joined: Oct 2009

ugh. glad you got the job done though and welcome to the world of skin checks. i am not one to feel comfy with that sort of thing but i've gotten used to it by now. they do check EVERYWHERE (well, the good ones do). your dentist should know as well so that they can be on the lookout for anything in your mouth.

as for the sunscreen, my derm friend says after a certain point the high numbers are not all that meaningful. key is you still have to remember to reapply often etc. i have found i like the feel of Neutrogena sunscreens and i typically apply a 70 SPF (though i do have some 100, mainly the spray on kind, i think). i have found that Coolibar offers some good protective clothing (including swimwear). there must be other companies as well. I have a large brimmed hat (not a hat person - feel like a cat lady) that i wear in really sunny places. sure i feel like a dork but a smart dork.

best to you Julie - and to your sister as well. a good friend was recently diagnosed with triple neg breast cancer and is going through chemo right now too.

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