This Melanoma Thing

Since I first told you all about my melanoma, I have been back to the dermatologist, and I have had meetings with a panel of doctors at the hospital’s melanoma center, and I’ve learned a lot of things about my case.

The first thing I learned, and the most important thing I learned, is that I have Stage 1B melanoma, almost as good of a prognosis as you can get. My melanoma was less than 1mm thick, and not ulcerated, a couple of very good things.

The second thing I learned is that one of the “bad cells” was in the middle of mitosis, cell division, so they’re mildly concerned about that. In a few weeks, when I go in to have more skin around the area removed for biopsy, they will also take a lymph node to dissect and biopsy that, to see if it has spread to the lymph node. They really don’t think that it has, but since I’m only 33, they want to make double, triple, extra sure that everything is clear.

After surgery, I will need to return to the hospital every six months for the next 4 years to get a full work up–skin check, blood work, chest X-ray–to make sure everything’s still good.

And I had a long conversation with the head of the melanoma center about my grandfather (who died at age 39 from advanced melanoma). Her best guess is that his melanoma probably developed when he was around the same age as me. But, they knew so much less about it back then, and clearly he had put off having it checked, that he may have been saved had he gone in. Which is both very difficult and very good to hear. On the one hand, I might actually have gotten to meet my grandfather, had he not died of cancer before I was born. But on the other hand, I can take comfort in the fact that I did go in and get checked and had the cancer removed, and it won’t take me the way it took him.

I won’t know anything FOR SURE-for sure until after my surgery, which is slated for March 4. But, things are looking pretty darn good for me as it stands right now. Thanks so much to everyone for their love and support.

2 comments on “This Melanoma Thing

  1. My sister was diagnosed with melanoma 30 years ago. A horrible GP doctor twisted off the mole and threw it away. 9 months later she had a lump under her arm. UCSF did surgery, 2 lymph nodes were affected they removed 18 in all and she is cancer free for ore than 30 years now. PLEASE call if you would like to talk! xoxo Anna

  2. I hope things continue to look good and that surgery goes well.
    I also know this can be a very over-whelming time, and even getting “good” news about your cancer can leave you feeling like it’s still cancer. And dont’ be afraid to have those moments too.
    I’ll be thinking of you.

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