MamaFagan03's Journey:

Patient: Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Female, Age: 36, Stage IIB, BRAF mutation positive: No, c-kit positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 5 years ago
    MamaFagan03's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I had gone to a local Redi-Med for some respiratory issues I had back in November. In late January I was sick again and this time decided to go to my husbands doctor as a new patient and while at my first visit for my respiratory issues and was diagnosed with asthma. On a side note I had mentioned to my Doctor that I had this mole on my back that had started to itch a couple of years prior. My doctor spent several minutes poking and prodding and he said that he didn't think it was cancerous, so when I came back in 30 days for my respiratory check up, he would take the mole off in his office then. Due to my current job as a bartender, he suggested that I find another line of work due to the severe amount of second hand smoke that I was subjected to and being asthmatic was very bad for my health. (I myself have been a non-smoker for 2 years.) I quit my job with full intention of just taking a month off and then getting back into the work force, just in a non-smoking environment. Well I went in for that check up 30 days later and my lungs were great! He removed the mole in a matter of several minutes. He did tell me it was alot deeper than he expected but that everything went well and that I was to come back 10 days later to get my 3 stitches removed. Now this is were I need stop and tell you this: Do not ever believe that no news is good news. I went the who;e 10 days and never got any word from my doctor...thinking that was a good sign, i went in to have my stitches removed and was told that my results were not was expected. I sat alone in a small room with my doctor while he explained to me, a 31 year old mother of 3 children aged 7, 5 1/2 and 4, that I had the worst type of skin cancer possible and that it was growing at a very fast rate.

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  2. 2
    over 5 years ago
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    Sentinel lymph node biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    I was fully aware of the type of procedure that was being done. I also am aware that this type of surgery has a higher than normal 'False Negative' rate. The surgery, which I was blessed to be in surgery just 12 days after my initial diagnosis, went as planned. 4 Nodes in the left armpit and 1 in the right armpit. Unfortunately a month later I am still having issues in my left armpit......I had leaked lymph fluid for several days and it started leaking down my left side into my rib area...then the worst is the fluid leaking into my left breast. Right now the initial pain in the insicion area is minimal and improving...however on a daily basis my left breast swells to up to 2 cup sizes bigger....it is very cumbersome and I am unable to wear bras at the moment. Which that is fine and all , at home. But in public, I do not feel comfortable going out in public with no bra. I was actually told to call my doctor back if the symptoms persisted for 2 more weeks.......that 2 weeks is up tomorrow.....looks like it's back to the doc!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  3. 3
    over 5 years ago
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    Wide excision surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I also had a Wide Local Excision done as my initial pathology showed that there were positive margins on the removed mole. This phase of my surgery has produced the least amount of post surgical issues, however, a 6 inch vertical incision smack in the middle of my back has caused some skin tension. I have to watch how far I bend over and stretch my back. Hoping this is a non-permanent side effect and as of right now does cause some impact to my daily life.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  4. 4
    over 5 years ago
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    Skin changes

    Side Effects

    I woke up about 5 days ago with a real sharp pain in my left armpit. I went into the doctor and he diagnosed a scar band that had formed and attached itself to my bicep. I am sure it is nerve inclusive and I was referred to Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy starts June 2nd.

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  5. 5
    over 5 years ago
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    Financial Help

    Celebration

    I was recently contacted by the hospital where I had surgery......as I am uninsured....they were checking to see if I had filed for Medi-Caid yet. I filed the day before my surgery on 4/10/2012. I have not heard a peep from Medicaid...BUT there is an entity that is a part of the hospital that will allow my hospital bills to be covered if my Medi-Caid is declined! Yeay!! So either way...I will get help. Thank you! Thank you!

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  6. 6
    over 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    As I have researched and researched my Melanoma Dx and alot of emotions come to a head. I have been told by several people I have come across in the medical field that my doctor is one of the best around my area. A story was even done about him in Business People Magazine. However....I feel lost. He may be a great clinician but his bedside manner is less that ok. I have been left with several questions and I have been given little information from him himself. After my pathology came back negative for my sentinal node biopsy, I feel as though I have been pushed to the side. I was told to come back every 4 months for 5 years....but I was never told what he would be doing to check me every 4 months. Sentinal Node Biopsy can have a false negative result..so tell me what is my doctor gonna be doing to me every 4 months to make sure it hasnt come back? Why do I feel like an account instead of a patient?

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  7. 7
    over 5 years ago
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    Money

    Oh No

    When I was first diagnosed.....there were 11 days inbetween my DX and my first surgery. I was uninsured and let everyone know that I came across in this process that I was uninsured. Every blood test I took....I let them know. Every x-ray I took....I let them know. My oncologists office were the first ppl to tell me that I needed to apply for Medi-Caid. I was able to do this only the day before my surgery...on April 10th 2012. I let everyone know at that point that I was Medi-Caid Pending.....everyone told me that was fine....and my oncologists office told me that sometimes it can take up to 6 months to a year to get a final decision!! So i happen to be at a check up a few weeks ago and the check out lady said to me upion checkout "We need to set you up on a payment plan" I said 'Ma'am..I am Medi-Caid Pending" She says "yeah well we've not heard anything reguarding this so we are really unsure if you actually filed or not and we need to start recieving SOME kind of payment." I told her that I am currently unemployed and we are getting government assistance right now and I cant afford payments. She then said to me "Just sign the agreement for $20/month and well go from there. So feeling forced to sign the paperwork, I did sign it. My first payment was due 6/15/2012....they called me on the 18th cause they never recieved that payment. (They only gave 3 days for a payment to post? What if I had mailed it in?? It takes longer than 3 days to get there sometimes! Geesh!) So I explain to the lady again that I am Medi-Caid pending and that I can not afford payments and these were the words she rudely spoke to me " Well if you cant make your payments then we will be unable to treat you." WHAT?!?! So I said ' If I dont pay you $20/mo then your gonna stop treating my cancer?' and she flatly replied 'Yes'. I REALLY NEED HELP!! I NEED TO FIND HELP. I know that $20 seems like a minimal fee to pay the doctor that is supposed to be saving my life but when you are 31 and DX with cancer and you have 3 kids at home that are 7 and under and my husband works 50+ hours a week just for us to live paycheck to paycheck....but where can I turn now?

    1 Comment
  8. 8
    about 5 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    So I went top first check up after my Negative Lymph Node Biopsies. I am considered to be out of active treatment and moving forward to the Follow-Up Treatment Plan. No recurrence of the original skin cancer but 2 more spots on my back have brought some concern to my doctor and we will be removing those and of course sending to pathology. No noticeable node swelling. Only 5 to 10 more years of those kind of check ups and only then will I be cancer free!!

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  9. 9
    about 5 years ago
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    Birthday

    Celebration

    I will be celebrating my birthday in 4 days. Very blessed to be around for my 32nd birthday!!

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  10. 10
    about 5 years ago
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    Financial

    Celebration

    I also was blessed to find out that I was approved for medi-caid. My prayers have been answered with the much needed financial help. Hubby working full time and I am working 2 days a week and neither of us are college grads........minimum wage for me and hubby make less than $13....AND we have 3 kids. Its tough....no joke....but bills are bills and your family is your family.....and THAT's whats most important.

    1 Comment
  11. 11
    over 4 years ago
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    Onset of new symptoms

    Oh No

    I woke up about 5 days ago with a sore left armpit. This is the same armpit I was told was my sentinel node side after I I had a sentinel node dye test. I called the Doctor after 4 days of this pain and discomfort when I noticed the swelling of my armpit. they told me to try some ibuprofen and that they would get back to me if the doctor wanted to see me or send me to my GP?!?! Really? I am active treatment for Stage 2 Malignant Melanoma and I'm told to take some ibuprofen and call back in 3 days! Needless to say they got me an appointment in 3 days, curious to see what they say. I feel like I've been treated as someone who doesn't really have THAT bad of a cancer diagnosis, so no one feels my situation is serious. My doctor has done nothing to ensure that my cancer wasnt spreading. I get nothing my visual checks and he pushes on my armpits to check the nodes I assume. I go every 4 months. I feel like I'm being left go until it gets worse. What should I do?

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  12. 12
    over 4 years ago
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    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    My CT scan from last Friday 2/9/13 came back with unexpected results. I do have some thickening of the skin in my armpits that is common with deodorant use and also it could be scar tissue from the axillary surgery I had last April. The bad news is that in the process they have now found a lession on my liver. I will be getting an ultra sound on Valentine's Day to find out the nxt plan of action. We expected something like this eventually. We are staying strong though. I have to be strong for my babies and my husband. He just fall apart anytime something is brought up. It's easier to live in denial for us right now and only be in reality when we have to be.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  13. 13
    over 4 years ago
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    MRI

    Procedure or Surgery

    After finding a mass on my liver, my ultrasound only showed that there is a mass there that has alot of blood in or around it. I have been scheduled for an MRI tomorrow (March 1st) March 30th will also be 1 year since my diagnosis.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  14. 14
    over 4 years ago
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    MRI Report

    Celebration

    My MRI came back and showed 6 masses/nodules on my liver. They ranged in size from 2mm to 15mm. They called all of them hemangiomas except for the 2mm one they called it a mass. My oncologist reviewed the MRI report and said there was no follow up appt needed and there was nothing further to do. Not real happy that they are just going to be left in place without being monitored......again...not real happy with my DR's choices and lack of bed side manner. He didn't even have the courtesy to call me, he had a nurse do it, and when I started asking her several questions, she said these are all things for the DR. to answer. Well DUH! I have never been made to feel so poorly by a doctor in my life. I know that lots of people have cancer and some are worse than me.....but the most important person to me...is ME! I have to look out for myself. I wonder if this man understands the moral of 'Do unto others'? If he or his wife or mother had cancer, he wouldnt want them being treated the way he treats me. I am sick and tired of hearing from his staff that he's the best in the midwest but lacks bedside manner. Feeling very discouraged right now.

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  15. 15
    almost 2 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    I have been NED with Melanoma since my original diagnosis in March 2012.

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  16. 16
    almost 2 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    Biopsy done after a regular skin check is found to be positive for Basil Cell.

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