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May 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm #21277
I have been viewing this wonderful site for 2 years and want to say thank you Catherine and Worrywart for being here for so many people. 2 years ago I had what looked like a small red rash very mild right in the middle of my forehead. It was very nondiscript maybe a soap allergic reaction. Saw the derm who said it was nothing maybe a allergic reaction. Gave me some cream to get rid of it. Well it did not work. She then said lets take a sample of it and send it to a lab. Came back as some sort of keratosis. Put me on Efudex. Turned my whole forehead red and seemed to work. Soon the red went away,but the middle started to weep and blister. Derm told me it may just be an overactive oil gland. She informed me that I may need to have Mohs surgery. 10 months from the original lab work, My Wife set me up with a different Derm. The first time she saw the red spot she was concerned and took a sample to send to John Wayne Cancer Center.That monday she called us in and let us know that it was a melanoma. The punch biopsy made it a In situ, and she already booked me for the oncologist at John Wayne Cancer Center ( JWCC). After the surgery I met with the Oncologist who then informed me that I did not clear margins and the path report came back as .65 mm superficial. He also was very concerned with the location so he urged me to check the lymphs. Also because they already cut away as much forehead on the first surgery I would need a skin graph with a plastic surgeon. After this next round of surgery’s I was informed I cleared margins, and no lymph involvement.(Whew)
Now about my badge of honor. I have had two extra surgeries to slowly remove the ” Skin Graph” or patch as I call it. I have some disfigurement and it cannot be hidden. It is right there every morning. I have lost family to cancer non skin related. I know what this monster is capable of. None of us know for sure if it will return or how we will meet our maker. This scar represents to me a wonderful token of perspective about life. It is my badge of honor. God bless.May 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm #60734cohanjaParticipant
I hear ya. My badge is a giant scar across the middle of my back, along with about 40 more smaller scars from subsequent biopsies. I’m reminded every day.May 17, 2013 at 12:00 am #60735 This is not about who has the biggest or most scars. The point is they can be reminders in our journey of life. I happen to work in the funeral business, and have had people die of a great many ways. Yes, even a few melanoma’s. The crazy thing on that subject was after I returned to work still bandaged up my first service was a man whom I knew awhile back had died..of melanoma. I became a bit depressed and obsessed with the whole experience. I use this scar as a way to put it all in perspective. I do not hide it. I do not embrace it. I use it as a daily reminder to try and live a meaningful life for my family and those whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. Before this experience I cannot say I had done that. My badge of honor keeps me on the path. I pray for those who’s scars have overwhelmed them. For those who fought to to the bitter end. Once again thank you Catherine for all that you do on this forum. God bless.May 17, 2013 at 9:48 am #607367spiderParticipant Thanks for sharing that, mine is on my arm and it is my reminder. Listening to your story and seeing your scars reminds me even more to wear a hat and be on the constant lookout for anything that doesn’t look right or wasn’t there before. Thanks again.May 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm #60737Shirley ZParticipant Wow I just read your story. Its pretty amazing how something that starterd out as a rash could be a melanoma. Yours is the perfect example of why we should always have things checked out even if it seems to be nothing.
Its good that your wife set you up with the second opinion.
Hoping this will be the last of your dealings with melanoma. Good Luck to you!
Shirley ZMay 20, 2013 at 11:50 am #60738Tamara SpenceParticipant
Well that quiet an interesting and inspiring story. To stand against all odds is what life is all about. Regular health checkups are very necessary so as the problem can be identified at an earlier stage and can be finally rectified. Stay healthy.May 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm #60739WorrywartParticipant Thank you for sharing that, I totally agree. Our scars are records of life changing events that we rarely forget. Thank you for the reminder to live a joyful life!May 22, 2013 at 1:26 am #60740casey188Participant I couldn’t agree more. My scar is long but fairly neat. Still it is on my upper arm, and I have a dent because the Dr. cut out everything down to the muscle. It is definitely seen by everyone. But I won’t cover it up either. Whenever I get too caught up in trivial things, or overreact to some bad circumstance, I see my scar and realize I am very lucky to have survived melanoma. Talk about keeping things in perspective! You are very wise unclescar. Your insight and approach to this is commendable.May 23, 2013 at 11:22 am #60741Ellis2caParticipantunclescar wrote:
2 years ago I had what looked like a small red rash very mild right in the middle of my forehead. It was very nondiscript maybe a soap allergic reaction. Saw the derm who said it was nothing maybe a allergic reaction. Gave me some cream to get rid of it. Well it did not work. She then said lets take a sample of it and send it to a lab. Came back as some sort of keratosis. Put me on Efudex. Turned my whole forehead red and seemed to work. Soon the red went away,but the middle started to weep and blister. Derm told me it may just be an overactive oil gland. She informed me that I may need to have Mohs surgery. 10 months from the original lab work, My Wife set me up with a different Derm. The first time she saw the red spot she was concerned and took a sample to send to John Wayne Cancer Center.That monday she called us in and let us know that it was a melanoma. The punch biopsy made it a In situ, and she already booked me for the oncologist at John Wayne Cancer Center ( JWCC).
I am surprised that a dermatologist did not recognize it as a melanoma, to begin with… and then a second dermatologist also did not recognize it as a melanoma, otherwise she would not have taken a sample, she would have excised it completely.
Do you have pictures of what you had, before it was taken off? (or can you get pictures?) I would like to see what it looked like, and why so much confusion before a pathologist finally nailed it down as a melanoma. I think your case is interesting and maybe we and doctors too can learn something from your case.
Congratulations on being all clear. You wear your badge with pride.May 24, 2013 at 1:25 am #60742
I did dig up a Christmas photo of the red rash. This photo was taken after the first derm took a small piece and said it was a Keratosis. Her explanation for the clear oily stuff that would sometimes weep out was a over active oil gland.When the second derm she saw it, she was concerned right off the bat. She did a punch biopsy just like the first one,but she sent the piece to John Wayne Cancer Center in Santa Monica,Ca. I got the call the Monday after Easter to hurry on down to her office. It was a melanoma. Her first results from the punch biopsy said it was in situ. After the first WLE it came back re-staged as .65 no-ulceration ,and I did not clear margins. Now I needed a graph, which has been a real pain in the you know what. I found some really good people who work with cancer patients. I count my self lucky to get to a Derm who knew her stuff. My Oncologist and plastic surgeon are both awesome. That first derm….not so much. I was told a big red flag was the weeping and non healing. The first derm misdiagnosed as did the lab she sent it to. That is why you have to get a second opinion. My Wife is the one who made me get the second opinion.God bless her. Hope this helps someone out there. God blessMay 24, 2013 at 1:29 am #60743cohanjaParticipant I don’t even see anything that I would be concerned about if it were me. . that’s what is so scary about this, sometimes it’s hard to tell there’s even anything of concern…May 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm #60744krissy424Participant Wow, your second photo taken before dx clearly looks like nothing.May 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm #60745gopherteeParticipant Badge, thank you for sharing. Your photo (same as mine) just do not look like it would fail the ABCD test. That’s why I went in. My spot passed the ABCD’s but failed the “ugly duckling test”. Otherwords, there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on my body that looked like this spot so it was my “ugly duckling”.
So glad you can share with us! Lets hope they find a cure as I am quite certain there are folks walking around today with that same rash and doing nothing about it. An you can;t blame them when the DERMS are missing it.
Can’t take anything for granted can we
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