Home Forums Melanoma: Newly Diagnosed – Stages I & II Newly diagnosed – Intro

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    Hi everyone!

    The past few days I’ve been reading many posts and I thought I would finally introduce myself. I am a 31 year old female and was diagnosed with melanoma last week. I had a mole on my upper arm that looks suspicious for a couple of years but I never got around to getting it checked. I didn’t get it checked because before it started looking weird I has pregnant with my first daughter and thought the changes I saw could be due to hormones and then I got pregnant again and thought the same. Then my oldest (now 3) and her friend kept pointing at my mole and asking what it was. They are some smart toddler and I say they were the first to diagnose me, lol.

    I finally got an appointment at the derm (I had to wait 3 months to get an appt) on June 19th (I was still on maternity leave at the time). The nurse said “Wow, that looks like it could be melanoma!” That’s when I started to get a little bit worried. The derm removed it and told me to call him for the results in 7 to 10 days. I also want to mention that he didn’t look at any other part of my body. I am concerned that maybe we’ve missed something of concern. Anyway, I got a voicemail 2 days later (June 21st) asking me to call back for my results. From this I knew it wasn’t good news. Doctors don’t usually call so soon if there is nothing to worry about. When I spoke with him he confirmed that it was melanoma and he referred me to a plastic surgeon.

    Yesterday (June 28th) I had my consultation with the plastic surgeon. I did not get a copy of my pathology report since his copier was broken, but I have already requested it. Here is what I do know: 1.18mm, unulcerated. I am having the WLE and SLNR sometime soon. They have put a request in at the hospital and I am just waiting to hear back from them.

    The timing of all of this is horrible since I just returned from maternity leave this week and I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old. Thankfully I have a great supportive family and group of friends. I really feel bad for my father since he has lost so many people to cancer and you can tell this is really heavy on his heart. We lost my mother to lung cancer 9 years ago and I can tell that that is replaying in his mind.

    A couple of questions for those who have had the WLE and SLNR:

    -What painkillers were you on after the procedure? I am breastfeeding and would like to research to see if there are any contradictions between these drugs and bfing.

    -I have been given the option to have a skin graft or just sewing up the wound. Anyone have thoughts as to which is better/worse? Any experiences to share?

    Thanks for reading my novel of a post!



    Hello, in answer to your one question. . after my WLE and SLNB, I was on Hydrocodone tablets. But (this was about a year ago) I seem to recall that because that was giving me nausea, I don’t think I took it very long, maybe just couple days. . then switched to over the counter Tylenol, etc… Hang in there.


    Hi, My WLE was also on my upper arm, and the SLNB was in the armpit on that side. They gave me oxycodone, which I took sparingly for a few days, then I switched to advils. Good luck !

    Catherine Poole

    Sorry to hear all you are going through and with two little ones. I would say the need for a skin graft is determined by the area the lesion is in, I needed one for the back of my ankle because there wasn’t enough skin to close it. As for pain meds, I’m not able to take the heavy stuff, and prefer mixing advil with tylenol (one each) and that should be ok for breast feeding. It worked very well for me. I was pregnant for my surgery, so I avoided all heavy duty anesthesia and pain killers. I hope things go well for you and that you are at a good place for surgery and follow up. Let us know how you are doing.


    If it’s on your upper arm, you may have enough skin just to do stitches. Talk to the surgeon and see which would be easier if you are worried about recovery since you have small children. Yo know your body better than anyone else. For me the WLE and SNLB was easy . They gave me Vicodine but I really didn’t need it. You won’t want to be lifting the babies and you’ll be sore but if you made it through child birth without too much trouble than this is nothing!

    Good Luck,



    Thank you all for the drug information. I’ve found an online breastfeeding resource that I can reference which drugs are compatible with breastfeeding.

    Catherine – I couldn’t imagine worrying about this while pregnant. I think that’s why I put off going to the dermatologist. Probably not the best idea in hindsight.

    I am still waiting to hear back from the plastic surgeon’s office as to when my surgery is scheduled. Hopefully I find something out today.


    Surgery date is set for July 11th. Now my nerves can work on me. This is my first surgery of any kind and I’m not looking forward to it.


    Completed all of my preliminary labs: blood analysis, urinalysis and chest x-ray. I also got a copy of my pathology report:


    Skin (R Ext Arm):

    Malignany Melanoma, invasive, 1.18mm in thickness, non-ulcerated, see comment.

    Comment: This is a superficial spreading malignant melanoma measuring 1.18mm at it’s thickest point. Four miotic figures per millimeter squared are identified. There is one focus of thickness epidermal involvement by a nest of atypical melanocytes. Inflammatory crust is not identified overlying this and definite ulceration cannot be confirmed.

    The margins appear free of tumor in the planes of section. Appropriate treatment is necessary.


    23 yr old female stage 1B: I just had WLE 2 wks ago on my upper back and SLNB in my right armpit. They also gave me oxycodone, but I only took it for a couple days. TMI alert: It made me very constipated, even though I took a stool softener with it, and very groggy, so let that be a warning. My arm where the lymphnode was biopsied was very sore, it felt like I had done 100 one-handed pushups! It felt better to prop my arm up on a pillow, the hospital was nice enough to let me keep one. I imagine your arm will be very sore with the WLE on top of that, so plan on needing help for the first few wks. As for the skin graft, I was told I may need one because my mole was large (luckily not deep) but a lot of tissue needed to be excised and, because I’m so young, there was a good chance the skin tension would be too great to close up and expect to heal properly, but they were going to try to stitch because the graft would only add more risks and longer recovery to the surgery and there’s no big cosmetic benefit.


    I’m so sorry you’re going through this so soon after having a baby. I was also dx when I had a newborn (my 3rd child, 1st daughter, and she was a few mos old when I had WLE).

    On topic of drugs…I had 3 csections with my kids and they practically force you to take oxycodone after c-section. I nursed all my kids and took my oxycodone (vicadin) for a week at least. So I assume that is safe. You may not even need it though.

    Best wishes and I hope the next few weeks go by quickly for you!

    Catherine Poole

    I too, went through this with a newborn, and during my pregnancy. We all get through somehow, but it sure makes things complicated. Hope all goes smoothly for you.


    Thank you for the replies. Everyone is putting my mind at ease a little more.

    Icegurl – Thanks for the costipation warning, lol. I don’t need to go through that on top of everything else. I have all I need to combat that since it also happens after childbirth. Also, thanks for telling me about the lymph node pain. I will take a pillow in the car with me in case I can’t sneak one out of the hospital.

    Worrywart – I’m sorry you had to go through with this with 3 children. My 2 will be challenging enough. The infant will be easier to worry about than my 3 year old. She is a ball of energy and I’ll have to be careful that she doesn’t bump my arm while it’s healing.


    Actually, I did not need an SNB, just a WLE. It did get infected afterwards though. It was on my forearm and I was unable to take good care of it while caring for newborn. It got wet when I bathed her, etc. which probably contributed to it getting infected.


    I will make sure to take care so the area doesn’t become infected. At least everything is happening on my arm so I have one area to focus on.

    Another new development…I just got a call from my doctor’s office and I have to repeat my urinalysis. I asked why and the nurse told me it was because there was blood in my sample from yesterday. Of course I googled that and I have a whole new bunch of worries. I just have this nagging feeling that we’re about to open a can of worms.


    OK at the risk of too much info I am going to jump in here. A few years ago I had the same thing happen with a urinalysis. Nothing to do with my mel. It turns out the repeat was fine and it was most likely due to the fact I was due for my period and the specimen was not a “clean catch” so it picked up traces. And if I recall the sample was taken a couple of days before my period. An infection can cause this result too as well as a dozen other benign conditions. Try not to let this add to your worry!

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