The biopsy came back clean. Of course it did. I wasn't really worried; I felt pretty invincible at that age.
My mother on the other hand... I found out later that she stopped eating sometime in August when I had the initial biopsy until my sentinel node biopsy came back sometime in November. She lost somewhere around 10 pounds. My dad was pretty worried about her. Of course, they kept this from me. She never showed how scared she was to me. She's a good mom.
I still remember where I was when I got the call from the lab. Sentinel node biopsy was completely clean. Follow up with a dermatologist every year. No chemotherapy for me. Of course, I immediately called my mom who didn't pick up her phone. Of course. I left a message.
My mom called me back crying. She had been visiting my post-maternity sister in the hospital, which is why her phone was off. When she got outside, she checked her messages and started bawling.
And thus concludes the story of how my mom once saved my life.
Of course, I still get regular dermatology check-ups. I've been naked in front of more dermatologists and medical students than you'd believe. I'm one of those crazy patients who invites all the shadow-students at the teaching hospitals in to watch my exams. They're always interested in seeing my scar: it healed irregularly. Plus, it is a giant scar, which is awesome.
I've had several moles removed, including a Spitz Nevi (which is really hard to distinguish from melanoma apparently and very uncommon) as well as a skin tag that just wouldn't stop growing.
My husband takes pictures of my back to make sure that no moles change on us. My entire extended family has gotten check-ups to make sure they don't have anything. Two of them have had the same surgery I had, while many others have had suspicious moles removed. Hello, runs in the family.
|Hello, Mr. mole|
Moles can grow in the craziest places, in nail beds, on the bottom of your feet, on your nether regions (both ends), in your mouth, or digestive tract.
Hence why bleeding stool calls for a stupid colonoscopy. It all comes full circle and you realize why I had a colonoscopy several weeks ago. Dag nab you, potential melanoma!
All in all, it was a crazy, harrowing, amazing, scary experience that I hope not to repeat. The best medicine is prevention, and that's what I'm all about now. The slightest hint of an irregular border and I have an appointment with my dermatologist.
My friends are super jealous, because it takes many months to get into a dermatologists office around here. But the words "wide local excision" "potential melanoma" "sentinel node biopsy" and "new changing mole" get you a next day appointment. Totally worth it.
I hope my vantage point from the patient perspective will make me a good doctor. I know what it's like, and I know how amazing it was to have concerned nurses, doctors, PAs, heck, even the receptionists, pulling for me. I've seen doctors in 3 states and 6 different institutions related to skin things, and every one of the was professional, caring and helpful.
I know I got lucky, both in my healthcare and my biopsy results. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. And thus ends the longest blog saga in history. I was going to post it all as once piece, but I figured I would never see any of you again.
For those of you facing health struggles of your own, just remember:
|Credit to troll.me.com|