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Really scared

Posts: 5
Joined: May 2002

This is my first time back to the CSN site for a while, and I'm catching up on the posts. After reading about those of you whose melanoma has recurred (after 5 years?!), I'm really scared. I had surgery in May to remove the melanoma and get clear margins. I also had a sentinel lymph node biopsy performed, and there was no evidence of melanoma in the nodes they removed. My doctors have been optimistic and upbeat. So I've been thinking I'm pretty much in the clear... until today. Realistically, what are my chances of recurrence? Will there ever be a time in my life when I can relax about this (10 years? 20?), or will I have to be vigilant (and scared) forever? Where can I get answers to these questions?

Thanks for listening.

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2003

Hi scared, I had a melanoma removed and a wide excision to follow, 24 years ago. I was extremely stressed for about a year. Then I started to realize that I wasn't worrying so much about it. It is hard to know what your prognosis is, because you did not mention what stage the melanoma was. You always must remain vigilant about other areas on your body. And any sign of lymph nodes being enlarged under you arms or in your groin.

Last year I had three more early stage melanomas removed from my back. Wide excisions followed. they were very early stages.

Just keep going to the dermatologist on a regular basis. keep the faith!!

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2003

I can understand your concern. I have had 3 operations, 17 biopsies, and it has metastasized in my left lung. I have been having treatments off and on for 3 years. All I can tell you is what my doctor feels and that is Melanoma never goes away. Depending on how well you take care of yourself and of course how your body reacts, I feel determines all of our fates. This is not a fatalistic approach but a realistic one. We have Melanoma, its a fact, but I for one refuse to let it damage my life. Everyday I am thankful to be alive, I look at yesterday and try to make today better, and pray I get a chance to do it all again tomorrow. Please don't waste precious time by worrying about it. Live and enjoy life. It is the best gift of all. Fret not what may happen, embrace each day and celebrate ! I wish you the best.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2003

I am a 32 yr. woman with Metastatic Melanoma. I never had a surface lesion. The first tumor in my abdomen was removed on Aug. 31, 2002. 6 sentinel lymph nodes were removed from my leg and they were clean. I was confident that I would stay free of cancer. I then started Interferon 2 months after surgery and was a real trooper, continuing to work part time and take care of my 8 year old daughter. Now 7 months after surgery my new CT and PET scans show a new larger tumor in stage 4 in my abdomen. It is still contained in the area and has not spread to other parts of my body, however the doctors say it's inoperable because of size and location. Even Dr. Marten at the John Wayne Cancer Institute who saw my report says that he dosn't think he can do it, and he is famous for being able to operate when other surgens won't or can't. The tumor is very close to or attached to the bladder, colon and uterus. They want to try Bio-Chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumor which has approximatly 40% chance of shrinking. Then if there is shrinkage, they will possibly be able to operate, or maybe not. If surgery is successful, I will again have a 50% chance of recurrence again after surgery. They would then give me maintenence treatments of immunotherapy. I would also have to have frequent scans and blood tests for the rest of my life.
I am scared of the effects of the Bio-Chemotherapy which is a 3 month treatment. I would have to be in the hospital for 5 days of treatment, then go home for 2 weeks and then go back in the hospital for 5 days, then home, etc. The side-effects are extreme fatigue, hair loss, possible kidney, liver and heart damage. No fresh fruit or vegetable are allowed during the treatment due to possible bacteria. I need to find out if these organ damages are temporary or possibly permanent.
I am worried about losing what strength and health I still have, becuase right now I feel pretty good. I have been eating only raw fruit and vegetables, raw nuts(no peanuts)juice, vitamins, herbs and minerals. I will try chiropratic and acupunture treatments, meditation, yoga, and coffee enemas. all these alternative treatments are known to fight cancer. I just don't know if they will be strong enough to shrink my tumor. I have heard of miracle cases where people heal themselves. Can I trust it, or go with the conventional treatment? I already went with the conventional treatment before and it did not work for me. Do I keep trying to fight it with toxic drugs? I wish there were some way they could give me more gaurantees. I want to be able to enjoy my life as fully as possible with out the ruined health from chemo. It is a gamble for me, the hardest choice I've ever made.
I still have hope, but I would like to hear of someone in my predicament who has survived. If I knew that the treatment had more cons than pros, I probably would not do it and I would take my daughter to Disney Land and Hawaii to spend time with her while I still have strength. I would continue to do the alternative treatments in hope that they will improve and prolong my life.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2003

I wouldn't be scared..just be aware. It is really hard to find info on the subject because it was not a common cancer until recently.

I had a mole removed 8 years ago and it was discoved to be a malignant melanoma. I was 21. Just 3 months ago I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and it turned out to be metastatic melanoma. After 8 years, the melanoma returned to my brain.

I had no idea this would happen. I wish I was more aware at the time.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2003

If you are ready to let go of the fear I will show you how.

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