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An account of my experience with Melanoma - a mole on my leg - SLNB and future surgery to follow after positive diagnosis in sentinel node
I so wish I had come across this site or thought about looking into it years ago. Now I'm here it will be a random stream of thoughts and experiences.
I will be 45 on the 5th March - that's this Tuesday.
I'm a self employed textile designer - lately it's been going really well.
I live with my partner of 20 odd years and we have a adorably funny 7 year old boy who in my eyes is a miracle baby after 3 failed IVF attempts and more or less giving up hope.
My mum had breast cancer in her early 40s. She had mastectomy and was on (a drug I can't remember the name of right now!) for the rest of her life.
Sadly at 69 she discovered she had colon cancer that had already spread to her liver. They suggested palliative care but she insisted on trying chemotherapy (she was a tough cookie)
My mum passed away just 3 months after diagnosis. After her first treatment of chemotherapy she died at home in bed from a heart attack - her friend was with her. I miss her terribly and 8 years on I still feel bad that I wasn't with her., even though I know I shouldn't.
So here I am. In 1998 I had a melanoma removed from my left arm. It was small and thin and after 5 years of check ups I was discharged as cleared.
Since then I've always been careful in the sun - but admit I may have lapsed occasionally.
In August 2012 I noticed a small mole on my right thigh had become slightly raised - on further inspection the skin was slightly broken. This was just before I went on a trip to Croatia for 10 days.
Once back I immediately went to my doctors who referred me to the Homerton Hospital. Why didn't I go to the doctors before I went away - I would have at least got my hospital appointment as soon as I got back?
It was removed 2 weeks later ( why did it take so long - why did I just not contact the Royal London Hospital directly where I went in 1998?)
2 weeks after that I got the results - in a terrible manner, they phoned me to tell me if the date for my operation was OK, prior to my follow up appointment. When I got to my appointment, knowing the results already, the consultant didn't even know why I was there 'you had a mole removed in 1998 - so how can I help you?'
Eventually she got up to speed and agreed that yes it was a melanoma and I was then transferred to the Royal London and after much indecision I had more of the mole site removed and a Sentinel Lymph node biopsy in January. It is now 5 weeks later and I've just had the results that the lymph node was positive. They told me that standard procedure was to have all the lymph nodes of my right groin removed. I came out of the hospital totally numb, upset and not sure how to digest all the information I'd been given..
Should I have had the SLNB sooner? Have I left it to spread - how did my mum cope - she was so strong and didn't cry whilst I was in floods of tears. Here I was with my partner, him being strong and me in tears again thinking about our 7 year old son.
Following a lovely chat on the phone with a specialist cancer nurse a couple of days later,
I wrote an email to my two older brothers. (I had also spoken to them all) just to put things into some sort of order -
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