Stage 1B – wide excision & lymph node removal scheduled
October 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm #14648AnonymousInactive
I am a 30 year old wife and mother and I was diagnosed in September. A mole I had removed at the end of August due to the fact that it “annoyed me” shocked both my family doctor and I when it came back as Malignant Melanoma. Type 2a (but my specialist then said stage 1B), clear margins, non-ulcerated, 1.4mm thickness. I’ve since seen a specialist and have been booked for a wide excision of the area (on my inner upper thigh) as well as a lymph node removal (my surgeon prefers to just remove them instead of biopsy first – said he will likely remove 1-3). My surgeon said the chances that they will find cancer in my lymphnodes is (statistically speaking) about 12%. And yet still, some days all I can think about is that maybe it’s in my lymphnodes. Maybe it spread. I’m scared and worried … I’ve never so much as broken a bone and now I’ll be undergoing my first surgery at the age of 30. I guess I’m looking for support, for people with similar stories to share their outcomes… thanks.
October 18, 2017 at 2:15 pm #14654Annette CyrParticipant
Glad you reached out. So many of us have been in your shoes at one time, and it can be overwhelming and terrifying. I think particularly when you are so young, in the best of health and with a young family on top of it. I know there are others on here who might lend their stories – but I too was diagnosed in my 30’s – 39 to be honest. Never had a broken bone, a major illness, nothing. I had a mole on my ankle removed, because it was bothering me – itching, tugging, just a constant sensation. Was shocked as hec, as was the derm, when it came back positive. Was a very early stage, but nonetheless, took my breath away and I was so scared. And there was no information – the internet was just starting to come out, so nothing was on it in 2001. I have had a couple of recurrences since then, but in truth, that rarely happens. I am now 17 years out, and 5 years since my last recurrence, which I plan on making my last! Good for you for jumping on it and having it removed.
It sounds like your surgeon is very experienced and is giving you accurate information, which is great and is following the standards based on the original pathology. The fact that it wasn’t ulcerated is also good news. They also like to report in the pathology on the mitotic rate, which is how fast the cells are dividing – also an indicator of outlook. Chances sound good that they have it all. I have been through the lymph node biopsy as well – not a fun procedure, but I healed quickly without infection – always a challenge with surgery. Sometimes helps to have a surgical pre-op wash that you can get from a pharmacy, in case they didn’t recommend – just keeps the external area cleaner for surgery – might want to ask about it as some hospitals are recommending it as standard procedure now too. They will tell you to elevate the leg after the surgery too as it helps with the swelling. You can always post any questions you have after, as many of us have been through it. The sentinel node mapping can be painful – they inject the dye around the area of the primary to find the sentinel nodes in the groin – painful, but it goes quickly.
Hope you get in to get this done soon, and can put it behind you. Waiting is the hardest for most of us – wait for appointments, then wait for tests. It can be overwhelming. Try to be kind to yourself and your mind. Spending too much time focusing on this gets people depressed and anxious. One step at a time. You can only control how you react each day. Be informed. Ask for copies of your pathology reports and surgical reports for your files, if the hospital doesn’t have them accessible on-line for you. This is important for future monitoring. You have a better than average chance that this will be it and no further treatment will be needed, but you will have to have an annual check by a dermatologist for life. Patients are the best at detecting changes – over 50% of recurrences and new are caught by us. Check your skin monthly and around your major lymph node basin – groin, under arms, etc. for any hard lumps – pea like, as it is the best prevention, alongside sun safety for all of us.
Hope this is of help. Hoping also you have a supportive family and friends. We also do offer a peer support program, where we can link you up with other patients who have been in your shoes and may offer insights. Let me know if we can be of help. Maybe others with chime in! Let us know how you are doing. Hang in there.
Annette – MNC
October 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm #14673AnonymousInactive
Thank you Annette for this knowledgeable and caring response. My surgery is booked for Nov 1. Trying to stay positive and most days succeeding but sometimes the negative fears creep in …
October 20, 2017 at 9:23 am #14677Annette CyrParticipant
Quite normal and understandable. Have you had a look at our melanoma booklet on this website? It also has a number of suggestions of questions to ask prior to your appointments. Always good to write those down in advance so you can get the answers you need.
October 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm #14737AnonymousInactive
I am REALLY sorry to hear that you have to go through this! I know EXACTLY how that feels since I was you 2 years ago. I was diagnosed with Melanoma on the top of my right foot on October 23, 2015, same exact stage as yours (1.37 mm). I had surgery on November 27, 2015 and that month was the hardest of my life. My lymph node biopsy came back negative (I received the great news on December 15th). I REALLY hope your outcome will be the same as mine and you will be all good after the surgery! I was 41 at the time with kids ages 11 and 13.
I still have days when something doesn’t feel right when my first thought goes to the diagnosis I got 2 years ago. I am trying hard to push those thoughts away but some days it’s easy, some days not so much.
Hang in there and please keep us updated! Best of luck with your surgery and biopsy results.
November 4, 2017 at 10:43 am #14852AnonymousInactive
Wanting to check in to see how you are doing since your surgery, its such a scary thing to have to go through this, I’m going through the process now, In March my daughter found a 2 small spots and one large spot on the top of my head, my dermatologist removed the small spot and came back as suspicious she sent me to a plastic surgeon who removed the large one in july. In August the hardest day ever when I got the results, your world turns right upside down. I’m 49 mother of 4 children, two boys and two girls. 23, 21, 19 and 14. That’s the hardest, your mind goes to places it doesn’t need to go to and the stress the overwhelming stress from thinking about it constantly. I really had to talk myself out of it and realize that this is not helping my healing process. I had my wide excision, graphing and lymph biopsy in September. Having the wide excision on the top of my head was quite tramatic for me. Stay positive, its hard I know and take time to heal from your surgeries, I always put everyones needs before my own, my kids, my husband, committees, school etc. This time I put me first no worrying about the house etc. Just heal, rest and stay positive. My results came back here in October and my margins were clear and my lymphs were clear. Best news ever, my head is healing nicely, I have a great combover happening and once its healed I might look at extensions or maybe just rock my new do, my youngest told me I shouldn’t try to hide it, it represents your strength that you are a fighter. Love her! This week I met with my oncologist, and due to my mitotic rate of the tumour, they are suggesting treatment. I’m not sure what to do or what is best, this is my next hurdle. Thought i’d share my story with you, I just found this website after my visit with the oncologist, it has really helped to read peoples situations and reply’s. Take care, rest and heal and I pray you receive the best outcome in your results. Tracey <3
November 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm #14855AnonymousInactive
Thanks Tracy – I’m healing up pretty well. It was my first surgery ever and I was very anxious so I’m glad it is over. The wife excision scar is a lot bigger than I anticipated. I’m sorry to hear you had to have that done on your head – I imagine that was pretty upsetting. I’m remaining hopeful while waiting for final results – I get those on November 21st. <3
November 4, 2017 at 6:43 pm #14857AnonymousInactive
I’m so happy to see your updates, glad you are healing up pretty well. I wish all the best for your final results.
Rest well and be strong, you are in my thoughts too.
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