Friday, August 5, 2011

All is well

My Appointment with Doc Onc was two days ago. I guess there wasn't really much to report, which is why I didn't run right home and write about it. He did the usual exam... felt my lymph nodes under my arms, throat, sides of my upper thighs, looked at my lymphadema on my arm, looked at my scars, checked my vitals, made me say "Ahhhh", the usual. I showed him the papers I printed out and he said the 3 month scan schedule was out of date, it's more like a 6-12 month scan schedule now (I still disagreed). Mom told him her fears of me having too many scans and he agreed with her, but also agreed with me for my peace of mind. Basically, we compromised. In October I will be having a full body PET scan and a brain MRI. I can call the next day for the results, and I'll see him in November. All is well so far.

Later this month I'll be seeing my dermatologist for my follow up and to see if she wants to remove any other spots on my body.

I've had a few people ask me how I got melanoma... did I use tanning beds? Did I lay out in the sun? Does my family have a history of skin cancer?

I can say that unlike alot of other melanoma victims, I never used a tanning bed. Not once. But I did lay out in the sun when I was in my teens and I can't remember how many bad sunburns I've had. LOTS. I also have a history of skin cancer with several members of my family; never melanoma, but basal cell. So it was probably a forgone conclusion that I would get skin cancer of some form at some time in my life. Mine was probably a combination of genetics and too many sunburns before the age of 18. At the time I was getting those burns, back in the late 70's - early 80's, EVERYONE thought sunburns were at least better looking than white skin. I desperately tried my best to get some color, but I'm Irish. It just wasn't going to work. I should have known better. We all should have.

My biggest mistake in all this was not getting my mole checked out earlier. I did put it off somewhat. I was busy taking care of everyone else and sick and tired of hassling with the doctors to approve me to go.

Yes, huge mistake. It could have cost me my life. It still could.

So if you learn anything from readying my blog and reading about melanoma from me, at least, if you're pale skinned...learn to love it. If you MUST have color, use a spray tan or a lotion. I wish I had those options when I was a teenager.

And most importantly, if you see something odd or a change on your skin, have it checked out ASAP. It's so easy to have something removed early on so you can go on with your life. If you wait, it may take your life.

Love yourself and your skin. Pale skin is beautiful!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear everyting checked out okay. My docs stopped ordering brain MRIs a few years ago, having never found a brain through one of my scans.