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May 18, 2013 at 10:09 pm #21284newme2Participant
I’ve been reading this board for the past few days and decided it’s time to introduce myself.
I went to the dermatologist on May 9th to have a bump on my forehead checked. It had been there for probably a year. It was like a small raised scab that would never heal. Sometimes I would pick it off or accidentally knock it off, and it would bleed a bit and the scab would regrow and just never go away. The derm biopsied that spot as well as a mole that I hadn’t really noticed on my arm that she thought was a bit suspicious.
She called 5 days later, almost a week ago, with my pathology results. She told me by phone my results but I do not have the hard copy report in hand yet (I will get it when I return to the office this week). But what she said was the spot on my forehead was squamous cell in situ and will require Mohs surgery. The spot on my arm she said showed moderate to severe atypical melanocytes (?) (I was writing down her words as fast as I could, but some of it got away from me) with features consistent with malignant melanoma in situ.
The words “malignant melanoma” really shocked me, but she reassured me that “in situ” means it is caught very early and not spread into lymph nodes or other organs.
I am going for the Mohs for the SCC on my forehead and a wide local excision for the mel in situ on my arm this Thursday the 23rd.
I am grateful that both of these were apparently found in very early stages, but of course I am still a bit nervous that while they’re doing the excisions, they will discover they’re more serious than first thought. Not sure if this is a possibility or not, hopefully that is an unfounded and irrational worry. I’m also anxious to know how much skin they will need to remove from my arm.
A little about me, I’m a 51 year old woman with a history of WAY TOO MANY bad sunburns as a child and even thru college age till I finally got it thru my stubborn and thick head that the sun just wasn’t my friend and I would never get a tan, I would only burn. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long and so many burns to figure that out.
Also, my first ever dermatology experience was a couple years ago in 2011. I went to my PCP for a spot on my forearm as well as a bump on my upper eyelid. She referred me to dermatology. Turns out my arm then was actinic keratosis, but my eyelid was basal cell and I had to have Mohs to remove it. That procedure and plastic surgery repair were very unpleasant due to the location on the eyelid. Anyway, I should have followed up at 6-month intervals at that point, but my insurance changed and I couldn’t find a derm who took my insurance who was accepting new patients. I am so grateful to finally be established with a new dermatologist who takes my insurance.
Thanks for reading and for any advice or words of wisdom.
DebbieMay 20, 2013 at 1:03 am #60796jettech17Participant
I just got my stiches out on a melanoma insitu/severly atypical and the margins are the same for both 5mm which resulted in about a 2 inch scar.
Mine was on my back that made it a little uncomfortable sitting in a chair for awhile.But yours on your arm will be a piece of cake.
good luckMay 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm #60797WorrywartParticipant
Sorry to read about your dx, but you are correct, it was caught in the earliest stage. First step – get a copy of your path report. Second – find a dermatopathologist that specializes in reading melanoma, preferably from a University as they are up on latest, get their mailing info offline, and call your derm and they will send the slides. My insurance (Kaiser) covered the 2nd opinion 100%, but i know that is not always the case so you may want to ask.
It is totally normal to worry that the WLE will show that it’s deeper than they thought, but in almost all cases, it isn’t. They probably removed it all with the biopsy. If you had your path report you could see that info bc if it wasn’t fully removed it would say ‘margins involved’.
Once you get the 2nd opinion confirming in situ and your WLE, you will feel more at ease. But in the meantime, know you aren’t alone and there are many of us who have been there!
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