Saturday, June 8, 2013

Round 2

I have been wanting to write about recent events, but when I have the time, my mood hasn't been right.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster since this happened, and I knew that some of those emotions needed to be shared in a more constructive way than I was prepared to do at that time.

At my last dermatologist check in February, she removed 3 moles, but told me that "The mole on your scalp still looks fine"  While she meant that as reassuring, it set off warning bells for me.  She had always called it a freckle before.  So I began watching..

I went to get my hair cut, and my hair dresser is also a good friend.  As we talked, I mentioned it to her.  She said, "Yeah, I noticed that too".  My dermatologist does free scans on a specific date in May, so I decided that when I took my son in 2 weeks I would just have her take a peek again.   Well, paranoia set in.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I thought it was getting darker, raised, irregular borders, irregular colors, etc... Or was it?  I really couldn't tell.  When my son went out of town the week of the free screening, I decided to call.  I got an appointment for the next day, with a different dermatologist on the day that my dermatologist was doing free screenings.  I decided if anything happened, I didn't want to have to come back for that biopsy.

He walked in and barely looked at it and told me that it didn't set off warning bells, but since I said it was changing, and with my history, he wanted to biopsy it.  He assured me that he wouldn't take more hair than he had to, but of course I told him that would grow back.  I left the office with a 3/4" incision with 3 stitches in it.

7 days later, Dr B called me.  It was the news I expected, but that I didn't want to hear.  I went back the next day and wow, what a procedure.   Dr B met me in the waiting room, since his nurse was busy.  Before I even sat down in the room, he was looking.  He's very tall, so he just stood over me and looked.  After measuring he said that he wouldn't be able to do a larger punch biopsy as planned, because it is an odd shape and bigger than he remembered.  So scalpel it was.

We talked the entire time. The nurses changed shifts. I thought he was done stitching, but then he asked for the cauterizing tool.  I don't want to think about what the tugging I thought was stitching really was.  Then he asked the nurse to push my head together like a gift box. He then made a joke about an unnecessary face lift.  

Long story short I walked out an hour later, it seemed like a few hours though, with what he called 3 buried stitches and then 4 on the top. Since it was basically taking a larger section around what had already been taken, the new incision didn't look much larger than the first, but it was a lot more painful than the biopsy, I spent the weekend doing a rotation of ice packs and pain pills (not prescribed, unfortunately).  I spent the first week getting migraines.  My wonderful husband planned a Memorial Day cookout at home, since he knew I couldn't do what I had planned to do, thanks to the headaches.

On the 3 year anniversary of my original melanoma diagnosis, I got the call that the second time the margins were clear.  So thankful.

This is just proof that knowing your own body is a good thing, it is required when it comes to melanoma.  Considering that he said the spot had gotten bigger in the week between biopsy and excision, it was on the move.  If I had waited until my regular appointment in August, who knows where it would have spread to.


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