A Little Good. A Little Bad

24 hours is a long time when you spend most of it thinking of one thing, or even if it’s several things in relation to one subject. In the moments I would wake up during the night, my first thought would be, “what if?” and then I would make myself not think it anymore. There were just too many variables out there from the doctor in regards to the melanoma to start thinking of my epitaph. In short, my imagination was being a bit melodramatic.

On my two hour drive to The Metro, I couldn’t help but compare my emotions today to what they were in the years preceding Aitch’s birth when I would drive there to see my RE. I hate that drive as it’s the one I made with the new maternity outfit that I never ended up wearing,  just days before I started spotting with Vivienne. It’s the one I had to make when I was told by my RE that my pregnancy with Wolf was over. It’s the one I made for every CD1…

It gave me time to recall the worst things I had been told in my life:

“I just don’t love you the way I use to.” Thanksgiving weekend, 1995

“I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat.” November, 2004

“This pregnancy isn’t going to end they way we want it to.” November, 2006

“We are terminating your employment, effective immediately.” January, 2009

“If the melanoma has reached the lymph nodes, survival rates significantly drop.” September, 2010

The clinic is located on the university. My directions to the office itself were poor. I was overwhelmed with what seemed like mundane issues: the parking garage, the elevators, getting registered, and the waiting (and waiting and waiting!).

The oncologist was friendly and optimistic. The depth of the melanoma was what he considered thin even though only .15 mm separated “thin” from “thick”. That’s POINT one-and-a-half millimeters, about the thickness of a piece of ordinary paper.

Based on that alone, he doesn’t feel the sentinel lymph node biopsy is called for. The chances of anything being found in the node is less than 1%, he says. However, he would still like to go back after the tissue surrounding the mole creating 1cm margins and this will be biopsied as well. While this sounds fairly simple, I will actually be under general anesthesia as where the mole is located creates a complication in how to close it. There’s no way to just stitch it closed. There’s not enough excess skin on the back of my lower leg so a plastic surgeon will also assist to creatively close it.

My leg modeling days are over.

Just as we were finishing up, he decided to check out the other moles I have on my feet and did a double take on one. It’s in the arch of the opposite foot. While Dr. Drapenscrape looked at it as well, he let it go. But the oncologist noticed that it has uneven coloring, hard to spot in the thin, wrinkling skin of an arch without close examination. That mole will be removed during my surgery as well and sent off to pathology.

No more tanning for sport he said. No tanning beds. Sunscreen with SPF30 or higher on ALL exposed skin. My day wasn’t as bad as I had feared, but I know this new journey is just beginning. Surgery is on the 12th.

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19 thoughts on “A Little Good. A Little Bad”

  1. Glad it sounds like semi-good news. 😉 Will the lovely removal from the bottom of your foot hinder walking? (yeah, had to use hinder first thing Monday morning)
    Good luck and let me know if you need me to haul my arse to your part of the country to help you out.

    1. I’ve been trying to find out about any limitations on mobility, but my doc is gone for a week and the nurse was sick today. He told me on Friday that it shouldn’t be “too bad” since it’s not on the heel or ball of the foot. That with the surgery on the other leg? I’m going to be a limpin’ mo-fo.

  2. It is a crappy thing but I am glad the doc is optimistic that he can deal with it with a small op. Sounds like you got it spotted good and early. That advice on sun tanning and sun screen is good for all of us not just those who have had a MM.

  3. I am glad that the oncologist (Oncologist or surgeon?) agrees with what advice I would give. The thickness is the MOST important indicator on spread and sentinel lymph node biopsies, although much better than lymph node dissection, still has risks associated with it. Hoping the other mole is nothing and that you get good news from the re-excision.

  4. Here from L&F. Sorry to hear about the melanoma diagnosis. I am glad to hear that your doc seems to be proactive about making sure you will be a-okay. Hugs.

  5. The doctor knows what he is talking about. This sounds like about as good news as you can get in such a crappy situation. Hope you can get some sleep between now and the 12th – hang in there.

  6. So…idea…since there isn’t much skin to close the divot when he is done…can he, lets say, “relocate” some from an area where you may, lets say, have too much? Or..maybe they would accept some donor skin, let say, from my stomach?

  7. Come to the Pale Side! I’ve never tanned because I was afraid of the beds – claustrophobia and and fear of burning to death. You may mock me. Just know you won’t be the only pale person on the beach!!

    Hope that they don’t find anything else in the surrounding area or the other one.

  8. Well, in all the bad news, that actually sounds pretty damn good. Sure, it will suck to have a half inch chunk of skin removed from your leg and I am totally cringing about the mole on your arch (I have EXTREMELY ticklish feet). But, .15 mm means it’s not penetrating your dermis, right? No way to reach a lymph node without going through the dermis…

    Breathing a slight sigh of relief. Will follow up on that after the surgery and results. Stay out of the f’ing sun. 🙂

  9. Mate.

    Strange as it may seem – I had a dream about you last night, about “zee mole.” According to my dream, you are going to be fine – and I have been known to be quite the oracle.

    Skin things like this … melanomas, crazy moles, etc ….. are BIG news down here, and very common. The sun here is bloody hot and harsh, Australia is full of a lot of European descendants with their pasty white skin.

    Thinking (and dreaming) of you. Hope it all goes well. Hang in there. XOXOX

  10. I don’t think I care that much about recreational tanning, yet every Spring I find myself in a tanning bed….and I rarely wear sunscreen anywhere but my face. Better think twice about all that.

    I’m glad your news was mostly good. We’ll worry about the bad when/if we need to. Take care.

  11. I’m glad the oncologist thinks the melanoma hasn’t spread. 0.15mm may not seem very thick, but remember, we’re talking about cells here and cells are teeny tiny, maybe only 0.01mm. So “thick” may be 15X the size of “thin.”

    I hope surgery will take care of both your misbehaving moles and that will be the end of that.

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