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April 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm #21188iowamomParticipant
Just this week, I found out I was pregnant and then got the call later on in the same day that I have stage 1 melanoma. Talk about highs and lows in one day! I am not entirely new to this, since I had a wide excision performed in 2008 because of a severely dysplastic mole on my back. I have been receiving body checks twice a year ever since and this last check was supposed to be my last time I would go twice a year since everything has been clear for 5 years. They removed 3 moles 3 weeks ago and I found out that 2 (located on my back and on my buttocks) came back as stage 1 melanoma with the other coming back as severely dysplastic. The 2 that were stage 1 were .52mm and .42mm with no ulceration and 0 mitotic rate. I have an appointment Wednesday with a surgical oncologist to have wide excisions for all 3 moles. I was then told I need to see an oncologist for genetic testing.
I have been on the internet ever since I got the phone call doing research and I have scared myself to the point that all I can do is cry. I already have one child and after reading all of the things about melanoma and pregnancy, I have scared myself to the point of wondering if I should terminate my pregnancy with this baby. I am so scared. I keep reading how people can go from stage 1 to stage 4 and death so quickly that I am terrified that is what is going to happen to me. It does not help that I currently watching my grandfather dying of renal cancer that metastasized after he received the all clear after 5 years. I guess I just want to know how bad my situation really is. I am very scared by having to see the oncologist, and I don’t really understand why I am going. I am also scared because I am pregnant and can’t receive any scans etc until after I have the baby. I plan on calling my doctor tomorrow to ask these questions but I after finding this board and reading the stories I felt like I may be able to get some good advice.April 14, 2013 at 6:40 pm #60063Catherine PooleKeymaster
I totally understand how you feel, I was there in your shoes one time, 23 years ago. I had a deeper melanoma with more serious attributes. (it was .76, ulcerated, had mitosis rate etc)
My take at the time was I didn’t want them to do anything to jeopardize my pregnancy so I did everything under local anesthetic (skin graft and all) and obviously had a healthy baby boy of 10 lbs. I know it is scary, but you really need to think about how fortunate you are to have low risk lesions! I’m not sure what the genetic testing is about, but you may have dysplastic nevi syndrome, many funny looking moles? If so, whole body photography is the best way to follow your skin. Scans would not be helpful but perhaps harmful. Let us know how you are doing. We have lots of folks here who have been in your position and I hope they too will respond to reassure you.April 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm #60064iowamomParticipant
Thank you so much for your response! I do have dysplastic nevi and had the photography done in 2008. With my pregnancy, I have read so many things on the Internet about how people with melanoma should never get pregnant because the hormones excaberate the cancer. I also happened to see the top story on yahoo news 2 hours after I received my diagnosis which was about a 2 year old who had contracted stage 4 melanoma from her mother who later died. All of this obviously scared me since I never knew melanoma could pass through the placenta to the baby. I have pretty much made myself a terrified, nervous, wreck by reading information from the Internet. Trying to stay positive, but I’m just worried about being around for my daughter and my baby on the way.
My doctor also mentioned the possibility of doing a PET scan after I have the baby. Is this typical with stage 1 treatment?April 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm #60065Catherine PooleKeymaster
I know that was a scary story but VERY rarely does that happen even when the mom has widely disseminated disease (which her mom did and died) The placenta does a magnificant job of protecting the baby from things in your body that may be bad. So I thought that story might be frightening you. Scans are totally unnecessary for stage 1 and may open a can of worms. Sometimes there may be benign lesions in various places and scare you further. I would go with following the photography closely for changes and having your lymph nodes palpated by the doctor every few months. Try to avoid the news and internet (except here ) too. You will be paying close attention to your body but you also need to relax about it. Stress relievers include massage and meditation. Treat yourself to something special like that.April 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm #60066BigRed1984Participant hey iowamom, I just wanted to say there are a number of us on here who are having post melanoma babies. We are mostly on the stage 1&2 board. I know it is terrifying, I wasn’t pregnant when I received my diagnosis but I had a young daughter at the time. I didn’t think I would have another child. Time passed and emotions settled down and I am currently 18 weeks with #2. The head of the Stanford melanoma clinic told me that I should go ahead and have another baby, my lesion was only in-situ, but she said that women with low risk lesions have no reason to delay pregnancy. I assume that being under .75 with no mitosis would classify you as lower risk. I know it is terrifying and it is going to be a difficult road ahead emotionally. It does get easier with time. Even so, I still have freak outs and it has been over a year. What does your oncologist say about the pregnancy? Do you have a melanoma center of excellence near you? Catherine could help you find one. Best of luck to you.April 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm #60067toastwaveParticipant Hi iowamom,
I wanted to just post a bit about my story in the hopes that it would make you feel a bit less freaked out. I was diagnosed with a borderline lesion 8 months after having my first baby. It was a .15mm either stage I or severely dysplastic (the first and second opinions differed). My treatment course was determined by the worst of the two diagnoses and I continued to be seen every 3 months. Since then, I’ve had a lot of biopsies and several moderates that needed to be re-excised. The mole appeared while I was pregnant- no doubt about that- and I just did not get around to going to the derm until she was 8mo- boy am I ever glad that I did. Anyway, like you, I saw all of the stuff on the internet and completely freaked out that the pregnancy hormones had done it and decided that it would be my only child. Then, after 1.5 years and several more biopsies, we decided, after consulting my derm. who was at a melanoma center of excellence, that life is short and that they’ve found no correlation though some derms suspect there might be one. She gave the green light for me to get pregnant and we decided to go ahead. She put me on a schedule such that I would be seen three times during the pregnancy. The first time I was seen, a new mole had popped up (darker than the rest, etc…) and we decided to biopsy. It was severely dysplastic. We did local anesthesia minus the epinephrine (more painful shot but not a big deal at all esp. compared to labor!) and did a WLE. The only difference from it and the first was the amount of bruising (tons more because of the lack of epi, which is a vascular constrictor) and the color of the scar (way redder but it should resolve post pregnancy hormones). I’ve had two more biopsies and they came back moderately atypical but we will wait to re-excise those until after the baby is born. She is due in July. Anyway, the point is that it is not “ideal” but we decided to push through and live life. I try to manage my skin, which I am fairly certain will continue to give me trouble since I am only 32 now, as a chronic condition and just don’t let my guard down. It is really comforting to slip into denial sometimes so I let myself do that for a month and then jump back on the monthly self checks. I never miss the scheduled appointments with the derm. Anyway, obv. it is not quite the same (depth, etc…) but I did want to let you know that eventually (it will take a while- maybe even a year or more) things get easier and more “normal” and you do just live your life and raise your kids. Good luck with this initial stage…it is absolutely terrifying. And, hang in there! Congrats on the baby!!!!!
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