Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another Round of Melanoma

I went in last week to see Dr. Braun, my skin doctor of many years who specializes in skin cancer. I showed him one mole on my leg that had a dark center and I thought had changed slightly. He did his best to look at it and decide whether or not it was a problem. He even used a special lens and alcohol which helps him see inside the mole. When in doubt, my response is always, “Just do a biopsy.”

Four days later the results came back: “Melanoma, early stages, in situ.” Believe me this is actually about the best news you can get if the first word is melanoma. “In situ” means that it is encapsulated, fully contained, that you are not going to die from this one. The treatment does not involve radiation or chemotherapy, but instead just additional surgery to take out a larger patch of skin around the offending mole.

I had the surgery done yesterday. I had planned to go over to Deborah’s house for dinner and music last night afterwards, using my usual tactic of just ignoring my situation and carrying on as though nothing had happened. But I was so wiped out after that surgery that it was all I could do to drive home – especially since I have a car with a clutch and the 3" incision is in my left inner knee.

After sleeping for about 12 hours, I feel much better today. I am staying home from work, which is most unusual for me. I plan to read and perhaps play the piano and just hang out at home today. It’s nice to have a whole day with no plans.

After one of these episodes, there is always that lingering question of how many more melanomas as lurking somewhere on my body. I see 2 different doctors each twice a year just to have someone look for new problems. Deborah also advised me to have an eye exam, as the eye is second only to the skin as a possible site. Dr. Braun also suggested a thorough GYN exam. What about all those places that NO ONE can see? At some point, you just have to hope and trust that it is not your time. Rebecca, who claims to know how everyone is going to die, once told me that this was not going to be the cause of my death. This is a time when I hope I can believe her!


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