Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stages I &II melanoma evolution

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  • #20645
    BigRed1984
    Participant

    It has been 4 months since my last skin check and I am feeling anxious again. I have a pink freckle on my shoulder that looks like my melanoma did except it is smooth not peeling. I have an appt. at Stanford in November, should I wait? The lesion doesn’t appear to be changing since my mole photography in may. However, I must say that my photography was not that good. There are areas on my body that did not turn out well. I am unable to compare many of my moles with those in the photos due to the angle of the shots. Also, are moles allowed to change and not be cancerous? I was looking at photos from 10 years ago, I was 18, and many of my visible moles were dot sized and now they are much larger. My melanoma was not even visible. Even though I recalled having it for years before my diagnosis. It was even in my wedding pictures 4 years ago. I have not gained weight. Although I had many years of sun abuse.

    #56715
    Lisa P
    Participant

    Hi, Big Red. While I’m not qualified to answer the more technical questions in your post, I can say this: if you’re feeling anxious, there’s no reason to wait until November for your check up. You may not be able to get into Stanford, but can make an appointment with another dermatologist in the interim, if for nothing more than to ease your mind. Hang in there and take care of yourself. Keep writing here. There are a lot of people who understand and who care. Lisa

    #56716
    BigRed1984
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply Lisa. I feel like when I am panicky I come on here for a little reassurance. I am starting counseling at the end of the month. My GP who referred me has had melanoma, and so has her brother and sister. So she understands the disease.

    I am never sure if a mole is scary or I am just hyper-aware. For example, my doctor said just look for change. So of course I look at old pictures some as far back as high school and of course I see change over time. So then I start thinking well, it hasn’t changed lately but it’s changed in the last decade. I have this fear that I will have a melanoma that doesn’t look scary, or that one of my pink moles is amelanotic melanoma. The melanoma I did have was pink, scaly and peeling, even so it was still in-situ. so I would hope a future melanoma would give me the same heads up, but I fear it wont. I also have a scaly mole that has always been scaly and it never gets bigger or peels but it’s pigment changes, my cutaneous oncologist at Stanford says it’s fine, but like a crazy person I have my doubts. I understand logically that I should be able to trust a dermatologist who specializes in melanoma, I mean if anyone is going to spot the melanoma that doesn’t fit the mold, it would be a derm like this.

    #56717
    cohanja
    Participant

    I thought I had read somewhere that like 70% of mels are caught by patient themselves

    #56718
    wpatterson4
    Participant
    #56719
    cohanja
    Participant

    I click the link and I get, “The XML page cannot be displayed” ?

    #56720
    wpatterson4
    Participant

    Did you at least see the picture?

    #56721
    Jenni
    Participant

    Hi Big Red,

    Sounds a lot like me. I start examining the pics a lot when it has been a few months since my last derm appt, trying to find the ones that are changing. My advice, see if you can move the appt up. I would set mine for every 6 months, but sometimes I went around month 5, if a few times you go a month or so early, so what…if it makes YOU feel more relaxed, do it. Just don’t get in the habit of moving it up to every 2-3 months, that will probably make you crazy too :)

    Who do you see at Stanford? I see a derm at the PLC, but you mentioned you see an oncologist? How come, since you were in situ, right?

    Hope you are feeling better!

    Jenni

    #56722
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    W. Patterson, I clicked on your link to make sure it wasn’t something bad and you know those are two different guys, hair color is different I think.

    Big Red, I agree, when in doubt, get it checked out!

    #56723
    wpatterson4
    Participant

    Catherine,

    Rest assured that I will never post anything obscene on this forum. Not my style. Are you sure this is fake? I saw it last year, I think, when the article was still available. I was reminded of it by recent talk of regression.

    #56724
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    I know you wouldn’t post anything bad, I was kidding, but I do check out any links. Yes, I think the hair pattern, color of skin and hair indicate those are two entirely different men!~ I didn’t see any article, but I imagine it is bogus.

    #56725
    BigRed1984
    Participant

    Jenni,

    I got to the PLC as well. I say cutaneous oncologist to describe a skin cancer doctor. I may be misusing the term but I enjoy big words. I was seeing Dr.Krathan but at my last appt. he said I would be seeing Dr.Sueter? I think that’s the name. who do you see? A couple of my moles just drive me CRAZY, I am hoping I can talk my doc into taking them off at my next appointment. They aren’t changing and I keep getting told they are nothing to worry about. And that’s good, but I still need them gone. I am hoping that the docs at Stanford know how to spot melanoma. And I know that sounds crazy, because I am SURE they do. I am starting counseling at the end of the month to help me sort things out. I realize I should be able to trust the doctors but I have a very hard time with it. I want to learn how to accept my good prognosis and move on with my life.

    And yes, I agree that lots of melanomas are caught by patients themselves. Of course they are, because things can change in between skin checks then you go to the doctor for a biopsy. That doesn’t mean doctors are bad at spotting them, it just means that we spend a lot more time with our body than they do. It bothers me when people say patients catch most melanomas in a context that makes people doubt doctors. Logically I understand that they are TRAINED in this and have seen hundreds of melanomas or more of every size shape and color. They know their stuff. I have trouble trusting them. But that has more to do with my current mental instability than their qualifications.

    #56726
    Lisa P
    Participant

    Hi, Big Red – I know exactly what you mean — I’m in the same place, I’m afraid. With all the doctor’s I see, I’m still catching a spot here or there that, when biopsied, turns out to be abnormal — not melanoma, but abnormal. That in itself, frightens me. I, too, am going to begin seeing a counselor in a few weeks. I figure I’d advise anyone I loved to go talk to a professional under these circumstances, so why not. Hang in there and take good care of yourself, Lisa

    #56727
    Jenni
    Participant

    Hi Big Red,

    I see Dr Swetter. She is great! She is the leader of the PLC, I believe she started it many years ago. I saw someone else the first time I was there as well, but the last two times I have seen Dr. Swetter.

    She is big on looking for change and will compare your skin to your pics. However, if you insist, for peace of mind, you want something off, she will do it. She is just not big into cutting everything off the body to prevent melanoma, which I like I about her!

    When do you see her? Did you get it moved up?

    Jenni

    #56728
    Laurie
    Participant

    Big Red, Jenni, Lisa P, et al,

    I too feel your anxiety over ‘changing’ moles, abnormal moles, etc. I am a walking billboard of moles. Three instances of melanoma in-situ in 4 years (and many abnormal moles). Just when I think I’m past it all, it rears its ugly head again. I have a very supportive husband who lets me freak every once in a while. I encourage all of you to use counseling, praying, meditation, families & friends to help you deal with your anxiety. But don’t beat yourself up if you do have a bad time or day with it. It is natural.

    You know your skin the best (or you will). I noticed my last two in-situs during my self checks and pointed them out to the derm. The first one I found was a ‘white-ish’ patch of skin (a little bit bigger than a pencil eraser) that would itch and sometimes look scaly and didn’t get better over a month. The second one I found was a mole that was getting a bit edgier than it had been (not a symmetric). Depending on the time frame between my appointments, I sometimes will wait if I find something that doesn’t look right or doesn’t go away (< than 1 month) or if its more than 1 month away I will call and make an appointment to have it checked. I wish you all the best in this disease and know that you are not alone. I look at Catherine Poole’s story and find hope and comfort in the fact that she has been healthy for so long. I am grateful to her (and others) for sharing their stories. As a result, I have found that over the last 4 years I have appreciated life more because of this disease. I try to enjoy each day as it comes, laugh as much as I can and love those around me. I still have my moments of anxiety, but they are fewer and don’t seem to last as long. Good Luck to all of us.

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