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July 26, 2012 at 12:08 am #20514
Earlier this month I was diagnosed with two primary melanomas: in situ and Stage 1a.
Granted, I know that both of these are great in the grand, ugly scheme of melanoma, but I’m still very afraid. I mean, who has two at the exact same time?! What is even worse is that two dermatologists looked at the first one (the in situ,on my left arm) and thought nothing of it…one even said it was probably a keratosis.
I first noticed the in situ around January, and kept going back to it. It was reddish-pink, but flat. It looked like really bad sun damage…but something told me to finally get it removed. When I found out the news that it was in situ, I immediately thought that was ironic because I had one that looked exactly the same on my right. Two days later I had the one on my right removed, and found out a week later that it was Stage 1a, Breslow .3, no ulceration, no mitoses. It was just crazy because this one was super, super small compared to the in situ.
Again, I know that I am very, very lucky…but that doesn’t stop me from being extremely frightened. I am very fair skinned, red hair, blue eyes, etc. My father has had two melanoma primaries (.15 and .3) and my sister has had one (1.08). So I guess it was only a matter of time before I got mine…but TWO at the SAME TIME?!!
I’ve been going to a dermatologist for ten years now, and usually go every 6 months. Now I know that I have to go every 3 months due to the recent dx. Also, I have had full body photographs done, but I will say, the quality isn’t great. Most of my moles are pink; therefore, they don’t show up on film well.
I feel like I’m a lost cause and I don’t know how to go forward. I’m scared of the future, but I know I have to live my life. Does it get easier? Will I catch it again in time?July 26, 2012 at 12:10 am #55695
I would like to add that I had WLE done for both of these areas, and am currently awaiting on the results from what was taken.
Should hear something by the end of this week.July 26, 2012 at 11:25 am #55696
You discovered these two at the same time but they didn’t necessarily evolve at the same time. Yes, you are at high risk with your red hair, fair skin and family history. But you are well aware of this and that’s why you’ve been so lucky to find these so early! That is the good news. Are you having whole body photography? That might be a good idea to help you keep an eye out for anything further. Your wide excision reports will most likely show nothing, no cells will remain usually with shallow depth melanomas. Skin exams, photos, and vigilance will be the key. Then you have to work on the psychological anxiety and come to peace with this. I hope you are being seen at a place of excellence too. Sun protection is important for you as well. You are not alone and again, you did a great job finding these early!July 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm #55697 Thanks Catherine!
I know I have to keep reminding myself of how lucky I am that these both were found at the same time, and early. It is still overwhelming though, and I’m trying to keep telling myself I’m doing all that I can do for the future. It is hard to not freak out and want everything removed from my body for I have a lot of moles. Also, since they both looked exactly the same, that whole “if you have more than one that looks alike it’s probably nothing” saying kind is thrown out the window.
I have had full body photography done. I’m not too pleased with them, for again, since my moles are light and not dark, they are somewhat hard to see on film.
Thanks for your input and encouragement.July 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm #55698MeggptParticipant
Hi asturgill, glad you have found us.
I was diagnosed with in situ in early March. I also have many moles. I was freaking out about every single one of them right after my diagnosis. Had 4 of them removed since, 3 of them came back completely benign, one just mildly dysplastic. I mean, it’s worth having things you’re concerned about removed for piece of mind, if nothing else. But also, my biopsies helped me to accept the fact that not ALL of them are cancer.
Hang in there. It gets better. (until recently I thought it was just a cliche but now I’m slowly starting to see the healing effects of time on the mental part of things)
MegJuly 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm #55699olivermbParticipant
I’m really sorry that you’re dealing with this. I had a really similar experience in March/April of this year — two in situs spotted about 2 weeks apart (I had an earlier one in 2010). The second one I asked to have biopsied because it looked like the first, even though no one thought it was an issue.
So…. I really do understand where you’re coming from. It’s the “double wammie” kind of thing, coupled with the idea that the doctors didn’t see anything particularly worrisome.
But here are a couple of things I notice. It seems like for both of us (and many others), *WE* seem to have a feeling when something is wrong. And so I think we can take heart that our “mel-radars” are well calibrated and that they’re even more sensitive now — meaning that we’ll be likely to catch any ones that follow early.
The other thing I’ll say is that it really does get better with time. Don’t get me wrong — I had meds and meditation and even too much wine to help me start getting to a better space. But it’s slowly getting there.
If you ever want to talk, drop me a note and I’m there. In the meantime, I’m really glad that you got things early! Hang in there and have peace.
MaryJuly 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm #55700
Thanks Mary for those thoughtful tips from someone who has been there! Our email system on the forum is not working yet as far as I know, so we have to revert to the previous system, where you contact me and give me permission to connect you. But wait, I just heard from our webmaster, so let me try it out! 😮July 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm #55701 Thanks so much Meg and Mary!!
Your thoughts and encouragement, as well as advice mean a lot!!
I love the “mel-radar.”
We can do this!!July 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm #55702MichaelFLParticipant
Yes, it can happen, as it happened to me too, and at the same time. Mine were both stage 1b though.
You are doing what needs to be done by keeping up with derm visits and skin checks. And, as others have said, it does get better with time. It will with you too.
Michael-four years since stage 1b diagnosis as of this September.July 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm #55703
Good to hear from you Michael and I’m happy to hear you are still NED! I know I felt really good at the two year mark as that is what my doctor said was the most likely time for a recurrance to happen. So I hope you celebrate in September in a great way!
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