Landmark's Journey:

Survivor: Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 8 years ago, Male, Age: 44, Stage I, BRAF mutation positive: No, c-kit positive: No

  1. 1
    • Landmark
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    It doesn't matter if your doctor is a friend, and if they removed a suspicious mole and said not to worry when they called to say it was melanoma, you still worry! The irony is that I went in about another spot on my back. He said it looked ok, but the one on my side was a bit suspicious. He removed with without complication, but then called a couple of days later at 7:00 AM. Usually not good when your doctor calls at 7:00 AM! He said it was cancer, and that I would need a wide excision. This is where they remove a larger piece of skin/flesh from around the original area. Despite the scare, and despite my sometimes overactive fear and imagination, I am healthy 3 1/2 years later! To get a call saying that I have melanoma and that they would have to remove a piece of flesh from me the size and thickness of a deck of cards was scary, but in reality, they were right. I was going to be ok. It was a tense few weeks, but in the end, I did not need chemo or radiation - only surgery. I have a big scar to show for it, but I have thought my kids to ride bikes and have gotten out of bed every day since! Had I not gone in for the original area of suspicion, I may not be here today! Thank God for irony! You know, sometimes I feel guilty when I am at a doctor appointment filling out some questioner, and they ask if I have a history of cancer. Of course, I say yes with an explanation, but then I spend the next 25 minutes beating myself up because there are little girls and boys as well as adults fighting for their lives, and loosing, while I had a frightening, yet reasonably non-eventful battle with cancer. I am so thankful to have had such a non-eventful battle, but at the same time, I hardly want to call it cancer because that word means something much more horrible than my actual experience. Am I being selfish for looking back on my experience as scary given other survivors' and patients' experiences? I hope not, but it's hard to wrap my head around. If you have been recently diagnosed, I hope your experience is as un-eventful as mine. To many more years of bike riding, and swinging with the kids.

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  2. 2
    • Landmark
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    Landmark's Avatar

    Wide excision surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I went to see my family doctor about a suspicious mole on my shoulder. He looked at it and decided it was not a problem, but found another area on my left side that looked a little suspicious. He removed it without incident, and sent it to a lab for testing. Several days later, he called me...melanoma. Within a day or two, I was visiting a surgeon talking about another surgery to remove more area around the cancer - a wide excision. Why do they keep operating rooms so cold? It was ridiculous in there! I was only given drugs to relax me, not to completely knock me out. I remember a lot about the surgery. They should have listened to me when I told them that the drugs they were going to give me make me talk a lot! I wouldn't shut up! They gave me a local anesthetic, had me lay on my right side so they could get to the area of the surgery on my left side near my waist. I felt a lot of tugging and pulling, but no pain. The amount they removed from me was about the size of a deck of cards - in shape, size and thickness. The doctor closed me up and that was it. In all, the surgery took about 45 minutes, and I went home a few hours later. My cancer story isn't one of a long battle with horrible chemo or other treatments. A diagnosis, a surgery, and follow ups - that's it. I am lucky. I know that. Sometimes, I feel guilty for how lucky I have been. I know a little girl who is fighting for her life. She's 10. She cannot walk because the cancer has taken much of her leg. She has no hair. She sleeps a lot because of the chemo and its ware on her body. But she is still beautiful! Compared to her, my fight was nothing. I am so lucky. I wish I could give my luck to her and take her troubles away. My prayer - that you are as lucky as I was. As frightening as it may sound, melanoma is treatable, and you can beat it. Be fully prepare for a nasty fight, and maybe you will only have a skirmish like me!

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  3. 3
    • Landmark
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 4 years ago
    Landmark's Avatar

    No further treatment neede

    Celebration

    This is great! I am always concerned about new cancer, but for now, I'm cancer free!

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