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I can completely relate. I too was diagnosed with three melanoma last year, 2 in-situ and 1 “early” stage 1b. Yup….all in the year that I turned 40 yrs old. I had anxious thoughts about being outside on sunny days, especially last year. I love gardening and all of the other outdoor activities that accompany warm weather. I apply spf 50 daily to all exposed skin, and wear a wide-brimmed hat with spf50, long sleeves, and long pants when working in the yard. Not the best of fashion statements but who cares! I seek shade whenever possible. Like many others, I am Vitamin D deficient and take 2000iu of D3 per day as prescribed by my doc. My levels are checked periodically. This is the card that I have been dealt, and I will work around it. Sure, it gets me down at times, but I try to keep it all in perspective. Mine were caught early (although I would have liked to have caught the 1b at in-situ). I can’t wait to get out in the yard again this weekend…weeding, edging and mulching the garden beds. Look for me under my big hat!
Take care and continue to practice safe sun smarts. You are doing everything that you can to stay on top of this!
I had a wide local excision performed on my arm last March 2012 to remove a melanoma in-situ. Two weeks ago, my dermatologist saw some pigmentation on the scar line that she did not like (she was not the derm who performed the original WLE. I am no longer seeing that derm because his communication skills were less than satisfying). Anyway, the results came back as “melanocytic hyperplasia and hyperpigmenation”. Also, the path report stated ‘Melan-A and MITF positive dermal cells”. Interesting note per the path report is that these dermal cells with Melan A and MITF were not there before or after the WLE. No mitoses are seen. My derm is sending the slide out for a second opinion; due diligence, which I have come to expect from all of my healthcare providers. I will let you know what the second opinion says when I receive the info. Hang in there and stay positive. Believe me, 2012 was a tough year for me and I am still having my challenges this year thus far….two more biopsies performed yesterday.
(2) in-situ and (1) stage 1B all in 2012 – Female age 40
Thinking of you. Please let us know how you are doing!
From one Rhode Islander to another….
Yeah LisaP….no melanoma!
I am so happy for you!
Great news Laurie!!!!!
Lisa P – good luck on Monday! Please keep us posted.
Hoping you (and all others here) have peace this holiday season!!!
You have all been so wonderful and supportive!
Yes, a very emotional and anxiety-filled year, but still so many wonderful things to be thankful for. I hope all of you forgot about melanoma today and enjoyed your family, friends, etc. This forum has been such a blessing as well. Thanks Catherine! Hi Betsy,
For me personally, it is a matter of feeling comfortable with my doctors. They need to know me….I do not want to be just another file folder In a drawer full of thousands of patients. When my former derm called me to give me the results of the most recent melanoma, he seemed so disjointed with the way he was communicating the info to me. He called me on a Tuesday and said the Mel was a bit more invasive and referred me out to the surgical oncologist.
He then called me at home two days later, and was talking about the possibility of lymph node dissection! What? I felt like he was talking to the wrong patient. I was puzzled why he didn’t mention any of this when he called with the initial results. Hence, a second opinion from Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston and the rest is history.
I am no longer seeing that derm and met with my new derm last week. She was thorough, didn’t rush through the exam, took the time to get to know me and my story, etc. She photographed and measured three moles that she is watching for changes, etc. I will see her again in February. (Surgeon follow up in Jan., derm in Feb. and Boston in March). I’ve had three Mel’s since January, so yes, perhaps I am a bit more at risk than others as my body seems to like making these ugly moles.
You could always think about alternating a couple of derms throughout the year, or just finding one that you feel really comfortable with.
Yankeesgirl – age 40
Since my two in-situ and one stage 1B mel (all since January of this year), I am being monitored as followed:
Surgical oncologist who performed the WLE on the stage 1b mel – every 3 mos.
My new Rhode Island dermatologist – every 3 mos.
Dermatologist at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Center – every 6 mos.
None of these doctors have taken this lightly all. And neither have I.
Overkill? Perhaps some may think so. But I don’t.
Make sure you feel confident in the care that you are getting. If not, seek out a dermatologist with melanoma experience. Be well.
Your melanoma path report and mine are very similar.
DX with (2) in-situ and (1) “early” Stage 1B this year
I had a second opinion on the 1B from Dana Farber / Brigham & Women’s Boston
Original path report from Rhode Island derma pathologist:
.40mm / Clarks III/Early IV
Radial Growth: Present
Vertical Growth: Absent
Mitoses: None in Dermis on sections examined
Regressive Changes: Not Observed
Path Stage: T1A
Second Opinion from Dana Farber / Brigham & Women’s Hospital
.40mm / Clarks III
Vertical Growth: Present
Mitotic Rate: At least 1 per sq. mm
RI suggested the SNLB. Boston disagreed and said risks outweighed the benefits. No significant benefit to survival rate. I sided with the Boston opinion. I am not looking back. I made my decision based on the educated experts opinions and hope that it was the right one. I still find it puzzling that Boston reported vertical growth and mitoses and RI did not. Would have made things much easier and clearer for me if both interpretations of the lesion were the same. Stay well.
I take 1,000IU of Vitamin D3 per day per doctor’s instructions due to my very low levels of Vitamin D. I hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Be well !!!!
Laurie & Barb,
The pre-anxiety of appointments and the post-anxiety of biopsies can be pretty stressful. I am trying to get to a place where I don’t worry about the things that I cannot control…I am not quite there yet. All we can do is be mindful of our condition and combat it as thoroughly as possible by keeping up with our dermatological skin checks and self exams. We are doing everything we can to beat this and keep it at bay.
My sincerest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and most importantly good health and peace of mind.
2 in-situ and 1 “early” stage 1b since January 2012
Good luck with your next visit. Please keep us posted.
In the meantime, have a Happy “Biopsy-Free” Thanksgiving!!
Thanks Webbie! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!!
Best of luck with the ear biopsy.
Sending positive thoughts your way!!
Met with Dr. Kirk today (Derm. Professionals in East Greenwich). Really liked her! Thorough and took plenty of time to examine me and answer my questions. She did not see anything suspicious, so no biopsies were necessary. Feels kind of weird not to have any biopsies. Don’t get me wrong…I am thrilled to go into Thanksgiving without the stress of waiting for results. Just feels strange to me..almost as if I feel uncomfortable about not having anything removed. I wonder if anyone else feels like this. Perhaps I filled my melanoma quota this year with the two in-situs and 1b?