AndreaS13's Journey with Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Survivor: Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 10 years ago, Female, Age: 46, Stage IIIC, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, c-kit positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
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    Visit primary care physician for pain in armpit.

    Oh No

    October 3, 2004 - Woke up from sleep with severe pain in my left armpit. Stayed home from work for two days before seeing primary care physician. Physician wasn't sure if I pulled a muscle or had a problem with lymph nodes, so sent me home with muscle relaxers. Then I left for a week long cruise were I definitely knew I needed to go back to the doctor's office. Saw physician again October 18th.

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  2. 2
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    October 20, 2004 - CT scan revealed issue with lymph nodes. Time to find surgeon to schedule biopsy. Over weekend felt lumps in neck.

    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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  3. 3
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
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    Biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    November 1, 2004 - Had left auxiliary lymph node biopsy in outpatient surgery. Had vomiting from anesthesia. Surgeon knew I had cancer but not the type--thought maybe lymphoma. My parents broke the news to me later that evening at home. At my November 9th post-op appointment I was diagnosed with melanoma; would need surgery to remove lymph nodes in my arm and neck. May need Interferon treatment. Had first PET scan on November 12th. And first appointment with oncologist.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Had lymph node dissection and modified radical dissection. Surgery took longer than expected (5-6 hours). After waking from surgery, one of the first things I remember was not being able to feel my neck. It was hard at first to get used to all the numbness. It was from my left ear, down my neck and over to shoulder and below my arm. Stayed in hospital two nights. Went home with two Jackson Pratt tubes for draining fluids. Very difficult recovery because of neck. Had vomiting from pain meds (not fun after surgery). Became dehydrated at home. After 1 week follow-up at surgeon's office, I passed out when they removed tubes. Couldn't drive for a month or more due to pain meds and having neck recover from surgery. A lot of motion around me makes me nauseous. Couldn't sleep on left side from surgery. Nerves very sensitive; had to use a lot of pillows to put me in a comfortable position. Pathology showed all lymph nodes removed had cancer.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
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    PET scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    December 22 - PET scan to determine next treatment course. May need Interleukin chemo if cancer has spread.

    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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  6. 6
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    Dizziness

    Side Effects

    Had CT of brain since I had a lot of dizziness.

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  7. 7
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    December 16 - Had CT scan for determining radiation therapy.

    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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  8. 8
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    December 16 - CT scan to determine location of radiation therapy

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
    0 Comments
  9. 9
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    December 23 - Outpatient surgery to implant port for Interferon therapy.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  10. 10
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    PET scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    December 22 - PET scan to determine next course of chemo therapy. May need Interleukin if cancer has spread.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
    0 Comments
  11. 11
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had the oral chemo--Temodar that was less toxic so it could be combined with high dose radiation. After I went into remission the chemo was alternated with low dose interferon for one year.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  12. 12
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    Nausea/Vomiting

    Side Effects

    The original antinausea medicine I was taking did not stop me from vomiting; so after a few days it was changed to zofran, which stopped all the nausea/vomiting.

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  13. 13
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I had 1-2 weeks of high does radiation to the left side of my neck down to the left side of my breast to include the left arm pit.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  14. 14
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    On February 22, 2005, I was told the PET scan showed no evidence of disease! I was so sick from a cold it was hard to celebrate. Next I would do a year of preventative therapy.

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  15. 15
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
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    Immunotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    The month of high does interferon therapy was the most difficult side effects I had to deal with.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  16. 16
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
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    Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweats)

    Side Effects

    The interferon gave me terrible headaches, severe chills and other flu-like symptoms. I also had a metallic taste in my month, so I didn't eat much that month and I was very weak and could not work.

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  17. 17
    • AndreaS13
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    over 4 years ago
    AndreaS13's Avatar

    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

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

    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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