patkusps' Journey with Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Survivor: Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 11 years ago, Male, Age: 69, Stage I, BRAF mutation positive: Don't Know, c-kit positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    • patkusps
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    patkusps' Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    It started out looking like a mosquito bite. I noticed it after coming home from golfing one day. A week or so later it developed wart like symptoms and another week or so little black specs appeared and it became very itchy. I called my Doctor to have her look at it and she said she wanted to do a biopsy because she did not like the way it looked. Ten days later when I got the call to come in and discuss the results of the biopsy I was prepared for the worst. When I went in the Doctor told me she had good news and bad news. She gave me the bad news first. The biopsy came back positive for Melanoma. the good news was that it was Stage 1 and because I had caught it early I had a good chance of 100% recovery.

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

    Wide excision surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    My Doctor gave me a referrel to a surgeon. I called to make an appointment and was told the surgeon could not see me for three weeks. I told her that I could not wait three weeks. She said that was the best they could but she would put me on a waitlist in case they had a cancellation. I accepted that option as she explained that if I could make it on an hours notice there was a good chance of being called sooner. Luckily my chance came the next day. That day the surgeon said before he could schedule surgery I would have to have blood work done, a chest xray and a Pet Scan. Scheduling the blood work and xray were easy. The Pet scan not so. He referred me to a clinic about 50 miles from my home and they could not see me for two weeks. I refused to take that for an answer and went online to find another clinic. About my third call I found a clinic at a University Hospital that had an opening that week and they even accepted my insurance. The Pet scan is a full body scan that took four hours. You must fast for 12 hours before the procedure. It is like an MRI only they give you an IV of radioactive fluid and you are strapped down and can not move for two hours. Then you are given a 15 minute bathroom break, some saltines and a glass of juice and strapped down for another two hours. It was scary but necessary to determine the cancer hot spots. After all the tests were completed It was back to the surgeon to schedule the surgery. Finally it was scheduled for the following week. My advice is to be pro-active in your treatment. Refuse to take no for an answer. It is your life at stake. Before the surgery there was one final procedure scheduled for the morning of the surgery. I was injected with a radioctive dye near the site of the Melanoma and a Doctor followed it with a special camera to see what lymph nodes it drained to. She marked them with a majic marker and they would be removed and biopsied during the surgery to see if the cancer had spread. The surgery was successful and I had a hole in my arm about an inch deep and six inches long. They also removed two lymph nodes from under my arm. Luckily they came back negative. Becuase I had discovered it early the cancer had not spread. Early diagnoses and treatment are imperative becuase Melanoma is a fairly aggressive cancer.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    • patkusps
    • Experience with Skin Cancer - Melanoma
    almost 5 years ago
    patkusps' Avatar

    Remission

    Celebration

    For the next two years I saw an Oncologist (who scheduled blood work and chest xray) and a Dermatologist for a full body search every three months. After two years it was every six months and then after two more years I could stop seeing the Oncologist. I now see my Dermatologist yearly or whenever I discover something on my skin that I do not like. I have had both basal cell and squamos cell cancers since my surgery. they wer all destroyed by having them frozen off except I did have one Moh's surgery a few years ago. I am forever vigilant.

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