Brewgirl68's Journey with Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient: Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient Info: Newly diagnosed (has not begun treatment), Diagnosed: over 4 years ago, Female, Age: 50, Stage IIIA, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, c-kit positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    • Brewgirl68
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
    Brewgirl68's Avatar

    Diagnosed with Melanoma

    Oh No

    I found a lump in my right armpit on Christmas morning, but didn't think too much about it. It didn't hurt at all, so I went about the business of Christmas. I was also helping my 19 yo daughter recover from surgery (deviated septum) and working full-time, so I was busy. Christmas came and went, then the 26th was my kiddo's birthday, then family arrived, then New Years, then back to work...all the while I was keeping track of the lump and waiting for it to go away. I finally called my primary doc (a general practitioner) and went in the next day. She felt the lump and did a breast exam, then referred me for a mammogram and ultrasound, which happened two days later on a Thursday. The mammo indicated no breast involvement, which greatly relieved me. The doc said that they want to do a biopsy, as the suspicion is lymphoma. The mass was 4.5cm x 2 cm. The following Tuesday I had the biopsy, and was told that results would be given in 24 hours. I called the doc the next day, they said that more tests were being done and the results would be available the next day. Ugh. This whole time I'm researching lymphoma and feeling not terrible about things as it can be very treatable. I was 100% certain that the pathology would reveal lymphoma and I was prepared for it. When I called the doc for the results, I was floored - absolutely taken by shock and despair. Malignant Melanoma. I was/am so confused - I haven't had any skin issues that seemed noteworthy and I'm feeling quite well. So now the waiting begins. I have a CT scan scheduled for this coming Weds, and I'm terrified of what they will find. I am having some pains that I *think* I've had for a short time (maybe 2 months), but I also don't know if I'm imagining or exaggerating these feelings. I don't know if anyone will give me preliminary findings on Weds or not. On Friday I go to an appointment at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion here in Grand Rapids, MI. I feel extremely lucky to be able to be a part of the Multi-disciplinary Melanoma Clinic, which meets only two times per month. I will arrive in the morning and get a private room. Then I will meet individually with an oncologist, a dermatologist, a surgeon and a nurse coordinator who will be assigned to me for the duration of the treatment plan. After I talk to each doc, I go to lunch. Over lunch, the docs convene and report each of their findings; then I come back and we all talk about what stage I'm in and what the treatment plan is. I'm so incredibly grateful that I don't have to run around to various offices on different days, and I won't have to worry about transferring medical records between offices. I'm so scared, overwhelmed, sad and angry. I'm trying to stay positive - after all, I feel quite well aside from the chest twinges (can't even call it pain, really). Oh, and the day I got my diagnosis? Is also the day that my boyfriend (whom I live with) lost his job. So...that me. Thanks in advance for the support. Peace and blessings to you all.

    1 Comment
  2. 2
    • Brewgirl68
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    about 4 years ago
    Brewgirl68's Avatar

    Ultrasound guided core needle biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    1 Comment
  3. 3
    • Brewgirl68
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 3 years ago
    Brewgirl68's Avatar

    Full lymph node dissection

    Procedure or Surgery

    15 nodes removed, 4 positive with matting. The drain was by far the worst part of the whole experience, but I only had it for about 3 weeks. I recovered pretty quickly and with very minimal side effects that were temporary.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
    1 Comment
  4. 4
    • Brewgirl68
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 3 years ago
    Brewgirl68's Avatar

    Whether to do Interferon or not

    Decision Point

    I chose not to do Interferon...will be on the "watch and wait" regimen.

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