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Malignant Melanoma not in Lymph nodes


Malignant Melanoma not in Lymph nodes

Old 06-06-2011, 11:44 AM
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Default Malignant Melanoma not in Lymph nodes

The reason that I write this is because there have been several threads about skin cancer recently. I wanted to share mine.

Malignant Melanoma

That was the pathology report that I received on May 10, 2011. I had been watching an odd looking growth on my upper lip, for about 6 months. It appeared at the top of my mustache line between the bottom of my nose and the corner of my mouth. It was very small at first. Then it changed shape and color. I made an appointment with my Dermatologist. He biopsied it on May 2nd and May 10th I got the bad news.

Next appointment was with the Dermatologist/Surgeon. He referred me to a ENT/Surgeon because it would require “sentinel node “ removal and pathology check for cancer spread. He measured and marked the area that he would have to remove. I almost fainted. Next appointment was with the plastic surgeon and last was the oncologist. Surgery was scheduled for May 31st.

MAY 31, 2011

Starts out in Nuclear Medicine. Radioactive dye is injected around and into the tumor site, hurt like hell..... made me cry. Pictures are taken to identify the sentinel node(s). On to the preop area for prep and wheeled into the O.R. For surgery at 1PM

8PM I wake up in the recovery room and my lovely wife is smiling at me. I was on the table for 6 1/2 hours. Spent the night in the recovery room. Thank god for IPOD's. I listened to James Taylor all night while the nurses buzzed around me. 6am I'm up and 8am I'm headed home and recovering.

Saturday..... I started to turn the corner. I spent an hour in my garage, looking and touching my stuff. That always makes me feel better.

Sunday....was spent by the pool, with family and a cooler full of Corona's.

I am a lucky man and here's why.

This melanoma was staring back at me for months. Everytime I shaved, brushed my teeth, trimmed my mustashe, it was in my mirror. Nobody ever noticed it, including my wife. I never mentioned it. What if it had been on my neck or back. What if I had ignored it, like all my age spots, skin tags, moles and warts, after all, I am 56 years old and all the guys 50+ on here know what I'm talking about.I will never miss another Derm. appointment

Mostly I'm lucky because my wife still loves me, even though I look like Dr. Jeckill and Mr. Hyde. She's a KEEP-HER.

I found out yesterday that the cancer had not spread to my Lymph Nodes....YEAAAAAAAA

Pictures...Before....after.....recovery........my keep-her
Attached Images     

Last edited by sac56fire; 06-10-2011 at 04:59 AM. Reason: more
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:17 PM
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Live to boat another day. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:17 PM
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I am glad you are doing better and have a great attitude!
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:22 PM
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Thank you for sharing! I read a thread like this last year. My wife and I now have annual dermatologists visits for a complete exam.

Glad things went as well as could be expected for you. Wishing you a speedy recovery!
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:26 PM
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It must have been very hard for you to not only go through what you did, but to share it with all of us! Thank you.

I've been seen by my dermatologist every six months now since he found (and removed) a basal cell carcinoma on my right cheek a few years ago. I, like you, "looked" at it for about 6 months before I decided to have it looked at by a professional (while I was there having "tags" froze off). I just thought I was reopening a scab each time that I shaved (occassional bleeding after shaving).

Some people just laugh off skin cancer like it is the common cold. Thanks for the reminder of what it really can mean/do to us!

And kudos to your lovely wife for being there for you. I know first hand how that feels (a different issue for me). Nothing in life beats a great wife!!!

I wish you a speedy recovery!
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:26 PM
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Wow - a lesson for all of us. Thanks for sharing and best of luck!!
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:53 PM
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Best of luck for a full recovery.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:45 PM
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Thank you for sharing and raising awareness! Good luck with your recovery.

For anyone that boats, spends time outdoors fishing, mowing the grass, or anything, let this serve as a warning and schedule an appt with a dermotologist and get a skin exam. Melanoma or any skin cancer has a way of sneaking up on you, often times catching you and your family off guard. Many don't realize that melanoma is the number 1 cancer killer and occurances are on the rise esp in the younger demographic. Like most cancers it does not discriminate, based on age or sex. I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 32.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:27 PM
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Thumbs up

Good job and post!
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:25 PM
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This is my story posted on THT in February 2010. It is much like yours and yes it is a very scary disease. I go every 3 months now for a full body check and each year for a PET scan. My fist is in my throat waiting for the results of the PET scan every year for the next five years.

Much better to catch it before it gets to any of your nodes no less in to the sentinal node like me.

Good you are doing better. To all; get checked it is a lot easier then going through this.

I promised myself that weather I made it or not I was going to write about this expérience. See, no one should ever have to go through what happened to me.

Only because I had the beginnings of an ugly wart growing on my forehead did I make the trip to the dermatologist to have it removed.

While there, the doctor offered to look at my back and head. I said sure and thanks. The news was surprising, I had two suspicious moles on my back that she took off and sent in for biopsy.

The results came back, both were cancer. One was Basil cell, and the other much more scary melanoma. The basil cell was removed in the doctor's office. The melanoma required a trip to the UNC cancer center, where I was informed that they would have to operate and remove my primary lymp node to see if the cancer had metastasized or spread to that node.

The results came back, and yes the melanoma made it to the primary node. They would have to go back in and remove the rest of my nodes surrounding the primary node. Great ; a second more serious operation and the news that I was truly in deep trouble.

Melanoma is a very agressive very fast growing cancer. It is also very unpredictable. The only way to treat it is by early detection. If you catch it before it spreads there is a 95% cure rate, if not it is 85% fatal. It is a disease that sneeks up on you, and is one of the fastest growing forms of cancer today.

I waited for a week, wondering if my life was coming to an early end. See, once you begin to read about this disease you realize how much trouble it is. You absolutely do not want it to get as far along as mine did.

I am truly blessed; the tests came back negative and the melanoma was confined to that one node that was removed. When that pathology report came back in, I almost jumped out of my skin. I had been given a second lease on life; quite literally.

Being fisher men/women, we all spend al lot of time in the sun. That is not the only cause of melanoma; but it contributes to it. GET YOURSELF CHECKED and get checked by a trained dermatologist, not dr. welby your long time friendly family doctor. See, each year I get a physical and the last thing I ask my family doctor to do is check my back and head for signs of cancer. He missed it for many years in a row. It is sometimes hard to identify and many primary care doctors miss it. That could be a fatal mistake. Its' a controllable disease if caught early on. If not you may as well sell your boat, tackle and say good by while you can.

Lastly; do not be concerned about the cost of the visit to the dermatologist. It will be the best money you will ever spend. See, an initial trip to the dermatologist most likely a couple of hundred dollars. If they take off a cancer mole; maybe up to a grand. Go as far as I did, two operations pet scan and abunch of other tests: somewhere between 40-50k.

Much cheaper and better to catch it early.


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Old 06-06-2011, 07:33 PM
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What Beachnut and sac56 said!!! I go to the Dertamoglist every 6 months, get some places zapped off and often use Efudex between visits. Fortunately, although I have lots of sun damaged skin, none so far have been cancerous. This is serious stuff so my advise is visit a Dermatologist and get a complete bodu check. After that, set up return visits at the drs. suggestion. This summer, I'll be wearing long sleeve spf 30/50 shirts while fishing.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:20 PM
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Thanks for the post and others who have posted. Genetically, I have many moles on my skin. When I was younger I would work on the farm outside all day long with my shirt off. I would be out 10 hours during the day baling hay in 90-100 degree weather. My skin was dark dark. Damn the girls loved it but as I have gotten older it has worried me a bit more. In my early 30's I went to a dermatologist to get checked out. He asked if this mole or that mole had changed sizes etc. Crap, to be honest they all are constantly changing and all would meet the definition that I see listed as cancer. The Doc just ignored it. Maybe because I was so young. Anyhow, I never went back after that. Now in my 40's I am thinking it is time to find a better skin doctor. Thanks for the posts to get me motivated to go back to the doc.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:44 AM
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Thanks for the kind words everyone and i wish you well.

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Old 06-07-2011, 08:16 AM
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As a fellow melanoma survivor, thanks for sharing your story and good luck to you and yours in the future.

I posted this awareness piece before, but it's worth a look if you have a few minutes and haven't seen it:

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:28 AM
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As another fellow Melanoma Survivor thanks for the story. I hope you continue to have good health.

I had it on my left ear just above the ear lobe. Fortunatly it was insitu, which means just on the surface of the skin, it had not made it into the lower dermis area. I did the moes surgery thing in the dermatolitists office and so far everything is fine. I had one more spot of basil cell removed last year.

That stuff scares the crap out me. I am encouraged of the recent news that they scientists are making progress on medications to help. Hopefully soon they can find a cure for it all together.

I am on a 6 mo recall to the doctor and am trying to get my kids (21 & 16) to go at least once a year.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:03 PM
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Good to hear you're recovering well! I'd be interested to see a better pic of the "odd looking growth". The before pic isn't clear enough (though the after pics certainly are!)
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:22 PM
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Glad you're feeling better and get well soon!
Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:44 PM
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Wow - glad you came through okay. Your wife is a saint - well, you understand, that incision looks frightening!

I may be headed in that direction. I'm fair-skinned and up until now have paid little attention to sun block (and global warming, second-hand smoke, etc., etc.) and am beginning to see the fruits of my indifference.

We macho men need to stick together - we're a dying breed, brother.

Thanks for your timely post, Steve. It's a serious issue for all boaters.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:48 AM
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Steve, hope you get better soon! Good post.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:03 PM
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Feel better, a subject we don't like to speak of, but a derm check yearly is very important.
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