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Newly diagnosed

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2002

Hi - new to the board and new to Melanoma. Just diagnosed with a very thin melanoma on my right calf. Finally had it removed yesterday. Thank goodness! My mind has been playing such games with me. I feel like I've been poisoned! My lymph nodes will be examined next week and fortunately, blood tests and chest x-rays came back clear. The surgeon noticed a freckle on my arm which he wants my dermatologist to biopsy. While I feel fortunate that they caught this so early, I can't help but feel down. I'm upset that the rest of my life will include this, or the "speculation and anticipation" of more of this. What to you do to manage your body responsibly and put your mind at ease??

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2002

Hi Nicoleg, I was diagnonosed with a 9mm Malignant Melanoma in 1997. It was on my right arm, in the area just above the elbow and before the shoulder. I had the Melanoma removed and the usual blood work and tests that are used to follow the treatment. Every thing was fine until June of this year. one day as I was bathing, I found a mass under my right armpit. Sure enough, it was the dreaded Melanoma. It had spread to my lymph nodes. On July the 22, I had surgery to remove the lymph nodes, there were about 40 in that area. Of all the ones removed there were 3 that had the cancer in them. I am to begin Interferon treatments sometime in the next week. My best advice to you, is to always be aware of your body. As I am sure your Doctors have adviced you, always look at any moles that you have, and look for new ones as well. Check for changes in them, such as color, size, scaling, itching, and so forth. After that always check your body for lumps and bumps, especially in the areas that contain your lymph nodes. I want to finish this by saying that, my melanoma was 9mm to begin with. I went for 5 years before this spread to my lymph nodes. I found this on my own, which my Doctor says usually happens in most cases. So I guess my best advice to you, is to be aware of any changes in your body, whether it be moles or lumps and bumps. I am scared myself, because after 5 years I thought that I was pretty much in the clear. I was told when the first Melanoma was removed that a melanoma of that thickness was usually 85-90% cureable, and that it does'nt usually spread. I just happen to be one of the few people that has a spread with a melanoma of that thickness. Just be encouraged and know that there is hope and stay in constant contact with your Doctors, because as I have said, We know our bodies better than anyone, so we know to look for the changes on the outside, but of course there is no way to know of the ones that could occur on the inside. I wish you the very best and hope that I have said something to comfort you in your difficult and scarey time. Just trust in God and Believe and hang in there. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Best of luck to you.

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2002

Thank you all for writing back. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your replies! Some really nice thoughts...

The lymph node thing is really bugging me. Last year, before all of this began, I felt 3 lumps beneath my right arm. Doctor's performed ultrasound and x-ray and said it was nothing. For whatever reason, they did not want to biopsy them. I just made a follow up appt for Sept 6 and will push for the biopsy. Your replies made it clear to me that I am responsible for my body. I am also responsible for living every day to it's fullest!!!

I thank you again...if anyone would like to talk in more detail, my email address is nglazen@hotmail.com.

I thank you and wish you all the very best of luck.


Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2002

I hope your lymph nodes are negative. If they are, that should go a long way towards putting your mind at ease. I wasn't so lucky, and 4 years later I am still very paranoid about recurrence. I try, and I emphasize "try" to take life a day at a time, but there is no permanent fix on peace of mind. You'll do just fine as long as you maintain a conscientous approach to your health care. I wish you peace and good health.

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2002

Wow! I can identify. I'm in a similar situation. We didn't ask to be new to melanoma but here we are. When I was diagnosed in June, I was a mess. The biopsy was positive but they still had not removed the spot, nor were they sure of the prognosis. I was dealing with the fear of the unknown. (and yes I felt 'down') Friends, family and time alone helped. I had to live life by 'putting one foot in front of the other'. Easier said than done.
I, too, am fortunate they caught the melanoma early but have been advised it is likely to reoccur. So I've learned to focus on changing what I can in life (regular check ups by both myself and my health care team, sun screen, my attitude) and letting go the parts I can not control (recurrance, prognosis). I re-read Lance Armstrong's book last month, "It's Not About the Bike". (I highly recommend it ). One of his lessons when he was diagnosed with cancer was to develop a tolerance for ambiguity. He was use to a yes-no world and cancer taught him how to deal with the grey, or as you put it the "speculation and anticpation".
I wish you the best of health as we continue this jouney.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2002

I continue to work out, read work and spend time with my loved ones. I go in for my regular check-ups, but in reality, I don't feel physically any different than I did prior to finding out I had melanoma. I now simply have have more information about my body than I did before.

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