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I saw the oncologist today...


If you read my prior post, you know that last week I found out I have Melanoma. You also read about how I'm a researcher and googled probably every case scenario for my melanoma. It really does come in handy to have a prior knowledge of what to expect going forward. I find it helpful and less stressful to have an idea as to what will be said and happen at my appointments.

Bright and early today, well actually it was very cloudy and rainy, my husband and I made the 1.5 hour trip to the UPMC Passavant Cancer Center in McCandless, PA. If there was ever a more organized and laid out hospital, it was this one. All the doors outside were labeled so that you knew which one to enter that way you were closer to your actual destination. I got to see the main lobby, the lab, and obviously the cancer center wing, and they were all so nice. Anyways to the point..
The surgical oncologist told me pretty much everything I expected to hear. I will need a wide local excision and a sentinel lymph node biopsy to start. I will be put under and a four inch long incision will be made at the site the mole was and at the same time they will make a separate incision in my groin area and remove a few nodes to be biopsied. I have to have radioactive dye inserted before these procedures to see exactly which nodes the melanoma could have drained to from the initial site. This will all take place at the beginning of October, as I was insistant that I not have these incisions before my upcoming vacation. I'd kind of like to be able to enjoy vacation!

After the surgery we will just be waiting on the biopsy results to make sure that the melanoma has not spread to my lymph nodes. If by chance it has spread I will need further testing like CTs and other scans. No matter what I will now be seeing my dermatologist at least every 3 months for close monitoring. The process above will probably have to take place a few times before everything is under control.



A few side notes:

I needed blood work done today and of course after a holiday weekend the lab was packed. There weren't any seats available, which was fine with me because I had been sitting forever in the car and awhile in the cancer center. However, there was an older couple who came in a few minutes after me and ended up standing in the hallway. Meanwhile, a young couple (around my age) were comfortably lounging in seats without a care in the world and without a physical reason to need to be sitting. I was so irritated at this couple for not getting their asses up and offering their seats to this older couple, who mind you are holding onto the wall for stability. What has happened to my generation? Is it not the kind and RIGHT thing to do to let your elders have seats when their aren't enough for everyone. I hope this couple could feel my eyes burning into them.

Here's my plug...

GO GET YOURSELF CHECKED AT THE DERMATOLOGIST. Do you know that melanoma is the most common diagnosed cancer in young people age 25-29? Did you know that you should have your skin checked once a year? Did you know that every mole on your body has a chance to become cancer, even if it's been on you for as long as you can remember?
Don't think that your are immune from skin cancer! Don't think that this could never happen to you! Wear your damn 30+ SPF sunscreen, especially during peak sun! Thank you that is it!

This will likely be my last blog about my melanoma until after my surgery in October. My next few blogs will be about breastfeeding (trust me, not what you think) and useful things I used during my sons first 6 months!

Thanks for reading!
Stephanie

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