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Quick Melanoma Update



If you have by chance read one of my previous blog posts you know that at the end of August 2017, I found out I had Melanoma. I saw an oncologist in September and surgery to remove more tissue surrounding the lesion called a Wide Local Excision and to remove and test lymph nodes called a Sentinel Node Biopsy was performed in the beginning of October.

October 4, 2017: SURGERY DAY

Nuclear testing prior to surgery:
I had to arrive much earlier than my scheduled surgery time, because I required nuclear dye testing to locate which lymph nodes that area of my thigh “drain” to. A tracer material was injected at the site of my melanoma (upper thigh) and it was tracked on a screen to see which lymph nodes it reached first. During this process I had to lay on the skinniest metal “bed” I have ever been on. It was most uncomfortable 45 minutes! The lymph nodes that the dye reached first were the ones in my left groin area. "Lovely!"

My surgery:
The melanoma located on my left upper thigh required about a four-five inch long incision in the shape of an eyeball. This is done to remove a large portion of the tissue around and below the melanoma in hopes to remove all of the cancer cells. At the same time two lymph nodes in my left groin area were removed to make sure that the melanoma hadn’t spread to them. The incision to remove my lymph nodes was much larger than I anticipated. It also was about 4 inches long and even my husband commented “did they take them out with Channellocks?”

Results:
About four days later I received the phone call I was nervous to get. Luckily, I got the best possible results. My melanoma was completely removed with the wide local excision and both lymph nodes came back negative for cancer! Thank the heavens!

Follow up:
I now have to see my dermatologist every three months for monitoring and as annoying as it is to go that often, I know that its vital in keeping me melanoma free. I also really like my doctor, he's one of the bests doctors I’ve ever seen, so that helps. After a year of visits every three months, I should be able to extend them to every 6 months for a year, and hopefully if I stay clear the visits will return to just yearly.

My unsolicited advice:
I am not one for living my life in fear. I will take some extra precaution when planning to be out in the sun, but I WILL go out in the sun. With that being said, I am pro sunscreen and I hope that you are also. Not only does it help protect you from harmful rays and sunburn, it also helps with early aging. No one wants to look 80 in their 40's. I also believe everyone should have a yearly visit with a dermatologist. If you have any moles or lesions that look odd to you please go have them checked! It's better to have the doctor say everything looks okay then to wait awhile and be told you have skin cancer. Trust me, I've been there!

Thanks for reading!

💗 Stephanie

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