So now that I have made terms with it, talked to friends about it, I am ready to talk about it and turn it into something good. After you read this, no matter your age or coloring, I want you to schedule an appointment with a Dermatologist and get checked. Just in case.
I am sorry to everyone who I have been flighty with, or forgetful, or hurried. My mind has been elsewhere. On this, more specifically.
On May 8, 2014 I went into my Dermatologist Office to hear about my biopsies from the previous week at my annual appointment. I wasn't too concerned, I go to see her every year and she always takes a few things to send to the lab. I just figured she was calling me the office because of some new privacy law. Nope. She called me there to tell me the mole she removed from my left hand, the one I had since I was a child, had developed into Melanoma. She handed me a pathology report, a book called Understanding Melanoma, then proceeded to pull out her pen and say she wanted to take a few more samples. These samples included one on my foot, which made it hard to walk for days after, and one on my face, which just sucked.
She also told me to wait for a call from a surgeon they were setting me up with, I would need a wide local excision, a lymph node biopsy, and because it is on my hand a skin graft.
This was the day before I was to go camping with my girl scout troop. Needless to say, I owe a debt of gratitude to the other 2 leaders who went with me, because I was in a complete daze and unable to walk much. I know my girls still had fun, even though I think I forgot half of the activities I had planned.
The just of the pathology report is that it is Melanoma 2TA, 1.1 on the Breslow Scale, mitotic index of 4. It was in the dermis.
I started researching and reading, but was pretty freaked out. Cancer. How many people get cancer? Did I know anyone who had skin cancer? What would surgery be like? I am left handed. How will I do anything during recovery? How will I take care of my kids? The house? Work? MY GOD HOW WILL I SEW??
I met with my surgeon this past Friday, and feel OK about everything after talking to him. Sometime next week I will go in for a test to see which lymph nodes it could spread to for the biopsy, then they will schedule surgery for sometime in the next week or so. However, after surgery I will not be able to use my left hand for 3 to 6 weeks. They will take a silver dollar size chunk out of my hand to make sure all the cancer is gone then take a skin graft from somewhere else on my body to cover my hand, probably my thigh. Yeah fun!
So now we are trying to figure out how to deal with the aftermath of the surgery. We had to cancel our summer plans of travel, and I am frantically trying to finish projects I was working before I can't sew or do much of anything. But I am grateful. Grateful that this is all I will probably have to go through. Chemo and radiation is probably not needed, because it was caught early, because I go every year to get checked.
I can also say that there was no noticeable change in the mole. She took it because it looked puffier, but I didn't notice. it could have been any mole. I never used a tanning bed, however like most people my age I spent all day outside as a child. I can remember being sunburned once.
Now that you have read this, thank you. It helps me cope better being able to share. Make an appointment to get checked. Melanoma's are on the rise.