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October 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm #21640
This time last year I was diagnosed with Melanoma (IIIb). I had a wider excision and slnb last December and a groin dissection last January. I have since been ‘watching and waiting’ and doing well. I also have rheumatoid arthritis. I have remained positive and determined since my diagnosis.
However, over the last few weeks I have been extremely exhausted and I have been picking up colds and infections etc. I have been more active these last few weeks (minding two children) so, initially, I put my exhaustion down to that. I tried to get to bed earlier and my sister made my dinners.( I always blame my arthritis for everything so I just thought ‘here we go – stuck to the couch again- I hate this arthritis lark ‘ …
A friend of mine passed a comment last week, asking how could I know for sure that my exhaustion was due to the arthritis. I thought about this and admitted to myself that this could really signify something sinister. My tiredness is very significant and I have been scared since this realization. I went to see my G.P. the other day and she agreed that exhaustion was a significant reason to consider contacting my consultant. She also agreed that she could feel something in my groin that I had been a little concerned about. I think that I know for sure that what I’m feeling is a lymph node but I had been telling myself that I would wait a little longer and see would it get bigger or disappear. I have had a slightly enlarged lymph node in my neck for the last year (it’s nothing sinister) so I know what a lymph node feels like.
I am due to see my dermatologist next Friday, 1st of November, for my 3 monthly check up. I am almost certain things have developed with my Melanoma. It is the first time all year I have felt this. I just don’t feel right. For the last three days I have had sharp pain through my chest and out my back, especially in the mornings after I get out of bed. (I have no cold or cough) I cannot believe it … I have told no-one about this pain as it is too worrying and I am probably a little in shock about it.
I am not looking for any online diagnoses here. I am thinking about my appointment next Friday and wondering what to expect. I have not researched much into melanoma recurrence or metastasis. I am not ready for that. I have learned that I cope best by digesting information in small bites so as not to get too overwhelmed. I am guessing that scans will be the first thing that will be suggested? I am wondering does anyone know whether surgery might be suggested, to take out my enlarged node. (probably not i’m sure) I can deal with surgery. It’s a focus … I even have my suitcase packed incase I have to go into hospital. I bought new slippers today!
In summary I’d like to be given an idea what to expect next Friday at my appointment with my dermatologist and I would really love advice on what I should ask her. I would really appreciate any response. I have learnt that it is very important to be informed. I had very little information last year during my surgeries and was at a huge loss as a result.
AnneOctober 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm #62823charissa1969Participant
Since I am a newer member of the melanoma club than you are, I do not have any experience to share with you that would be helpful. But I wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and praying for a good report from the doctor. When I first posted on this forum, you took time to write and encourage me to stay positive and to share your experience. This was more helpful than I can possible express in words, and I am so grateful for you.
Many blessings, CharissaOctober 25, 2013 at 10:14 pm #62824
Thanks so much Charissa. I am glad I was of help to you when you needed it. Talking to people who understand exactly what we are going through, having gone through the same thing themselves, is one of the best forms of support, in my opinion.
Please God the dust will settle for me again soon and I will be back telling everyone that everything will be alright
I really appreciate your response and I hope you are doing well yourself.
I blabbed to my sister on the phone today about my latest fears. Everything came gushing out. I even told her that I have a suitcase packed incase I have to go into the hospital. It wasn’t very fair of me to offload, especially over the phone. I felt so bad after for putting my worries on her but I did feel much better after. It’s a tough one having to worry about worrying others.
AnneOctober 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm #62825LinnyParticipant
Sorry to hear you’re going through this.
It’s amazing how in tune you become with your body after a melanoma diagnosis. But not every ache, pain, or swelling turns out to be a melanoma recurrence. Exhaustion can also have other causes. The more you obsess, the worse you end up feeling because of the anxiety.
However, it’s difficult to not get anxious.
Your doctor will most likely give you a thorough exam and then order tests (if necessary). So, you will have to undergo some more waiting for the results. Hopefully your doctor will be able to give you some reassurance that will relieve your anxiety.
Something else to keep in back of your mind is that with “watch and wait”, “observation only”, whatever the heck you call it, you are seeing your doctor on a frequent basis. So, if this winds up being something to be concerned about, it will be addressed early.
Try to hang in there and by all means, AVOID READING ANY MEDICAL WEB SITES.
Sending hugs your way.December 9, 2013 at 12:48 am #62826
I’m just posting an update for anyone who may be interested or have something to add. That ‘palpable node’ that I was referring to above ended up being a melanoma recurrence
. I had it excised last Friday (wider excision). I don’t know much else about the surgery or results yet.
What I do know is that the ever increasing pain in my thigh (which I presumed was lymphedema) has completely disappeared since surgery. My surgeon told me just before the surgery that he thought is was a neuroma. The fine needle aspiration I had prior to the surgery was unusually painful (that’s putting it very mildly!). The consultant at the time said the pain was ‘interesting’ – so, there were definitely nerves involved (not lymphoedema !) I must say, I am so so happy that the pain is gone now, though my thigh is completely numb instead. I would prefer that any day to pain!
I also had pet scans prior to the surgery. My groin was the only area that lit up, thankfully. I am glad it is all over for now and I am looking forward to Christmas. I don’t really know how I feel right now. I would say I am in very good form, though for a few days last week that awful dread and fear took me over. I hate that feeling so much, though I guess it’s all part of living with melanoma. I try not to go there preferring to get up and making the most of each day. It’s onwards and upwards again for me for now, until I hear what the next step is for me.
I’m not even ready to think about what the next step is. I am going to enjoy my Christmas and celebrate the fact that I discovered this recurrence myself and it is now gone
I don’t mean to sound miserable or be the bearer of bad news, but if there was one thing people could take away from reading my message it would be, trust yourself if you feel something has changed in your body. I sometimes thought that I was imagining my lump, it felt so insignificant. Even though my groin did light up in the pet scan, I still didn’t expect to be told the lump was melanoma. Thank God I was pro-active.
AnneDecember 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm #62827Catherine PooleKeymaster
Anne, thank you for your insightful post. Yes, you know your body better than anyone! So if something feels up, get it checked. I admire your attitude and you also might find mindful mediation to be helpful. It basically focuses you on the present moment and to be accepting of this moment. It helps me! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas.December 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm #62828 Happy Christmas to you too Catherine and thanks for your constant support. You always take the time to respond to people’s posts, which is very much appreciated I’m sure by all. I read new posts most days but I don’t always feel like writing – I have to be in the right frame of mind, as sometimes writing brings up difficult emotions (for me anyway)
I have already attended one session of mindfulness, a one-to-one session. That alone helped me be assertive in my last visit with my dermatologist. I was very proud of myself. I may write more about that in time… I will continue with more sessions in the new year.
Thanks again Catherine.
AnneDecember 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm #62829LinnyParticipant
Oh Anne, I am so sorry to hear that this ended up being a recurrence. Your vigilance and persistence certainly paid off, though, and it sounds like this was caught early. And, the good thing is that only the groin area lit up on the PET scan.
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