July 09, 2009


What is Melanoma? It is a type of skin cancer. It can be life threatening disease! It can grow like a weed over growing the garden. Melanoma begins on the surface of the skin where it is easy to see and treat. If given time it can grow down into the skin, ultimately reaching the blood and lymphatic vessels, spreading through the body, causing life threatening illness. Curable if detected early, but can be fatal if allowed to progress and spread. No one knows the exact causes of melanoma. Certain risk factors, like having many moles, increases the risk of developing melanoma. Fair skin that burns or freckles easily. People who had more than one of the common skin cancers. A family history of melanoma, weakened immune system, severe, blistering sunburns. Experts believe that much of the worldwide increase in melanoma is related to an increase in the amount of time people spend in the sun.
I had a pulled muscle in my knee from tennis and over exercising, so I was icing and rubbing pain medicine to my leg when I felt a mole size bump on the back of my leg. I could not see it so I asked a neighbor if she thought I should have it checked! (She was a retired nurse) “Yes, I think it looks questionable!” That day I took my mother to her doctor’s appointment and on leaving I asked the doctor did he think I should have my mole checked. He insisted I see the dermatologist immediately. I got the next available appointment and he immediately numbed my leg and cut out a portion to send to the lab. The hole was approximately inch. My neighbor told me the mole was about the size of a pencil eraser and half. It was also irregular in size and the color was pink to lavender. The biopsy was sent out of town to a lab, I was very confident that I had no reason to worry. Four days later I was called into the doctor’s office to discuss the results. Boy was the news a bomb shell! I tested positive for cancer! The next step was to decide on a surgeon to do the surgery. I choose to use a local doctor who had experience in the area that I needed. Surgery was immediately scheduled and the process of having lab work, and complete physical exam began.
Surgery to remove a melanoma removes the entire melanoma along with a border of normal –appearing skin. The width of the border of normal skin removed depend s on the depth of the melanoma. Additional tissue, usually skin and fat is also removed from under the melanoma. My excision was 17x8x10 mm. I also had lymph nodes removed in the groin area. It was interesting to observe the dye going through my leg in the Nuclear Medicine Lab. It had a big camera attached like a MRI machine where the technician mapped the lymph glands for the surgeon. After that I was sent to the Ultra Sound room with the Cardiologist mapped the glands with what he called fish hooks that he pushed into about 4 of the glands so the surgeon would be able to find. This part is called Sentinel Node surgery. I am now ready for the surgery! Approximately 2 hours later I am in the recovering room! My recovery is good, I have trouble sitting, sleeping and walking, but my stitches are healing very quickly. Thank goodness I am a quick healer and I have been doubling up on my Shaklee Vivix and Nutriferon. I have to have my sister in law, who had a surprise breast cancer treatment last month, come 2x a day and change my bandages. We both feel very blessed to have been diagnosed with negative results. She has to do Radiation for 6 weeks (every day). Fortunately I do not need any more treatment. I just need complete inspections with the dermatologist couple times a year.

What you can do to reduce your risks!
• Use sunscreen- SPF 15 or higher
• Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m – 4 p.m ( Find Shade)
• Cover up ..protect yourself from the sun
• Wear a hat that covers your ears and neck
• Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
• Avoid indoor tanning

CHECK YOURSELF! CHECK YOURSELF OFTEN! See your dermatologist if concerned! Early detection is so important! I feel blessed.

My leg after cancer and gland removal



Blackswan said...

Welcome back & really glad u're alright, Diane! I've missed your posts.

Thk u for sharing ur tips & wonderful story in fighting that dreadful disease. Let's grow old together :)


Anonymous said...

God Bless You!

drunklibrarian said...

A very powerful story! I'm glad you are doing well and on the road to recovery!!

AuntJoJo said...

Wow Diane, thank you so much for sharing, you put a lot into that post, it is appreciated. My brother and sister both had skin cancer, thankfully it both cases it was caught early.

OMGosh the picture tells a thousand words. SO VERY glad you are on the mend!

V Wright said...

You are one very special and courageous person, Diane. So very glad you are healing and look forward to visiting soon!

Stages of melanoma said...

Malignant Melanoma is a type of cancer which originates on skin. It can appear as a mole. It is even found in younger age bracket. It appears in the leg for females and for males, it is found on chest or back area. Those who have dark skin tone, are less likely to develop melanoma. Immediately diagnosing is very important, else it can worsen the situation. If anyone observes symptoms of it, should consult to doctor immediately.