Here's what I have learned so far about Melanoma...
I am writing this blog because I really don't know what else to do. When I'm nervous, I write. It might be misspelled. It might be full of errors. It might never be shown to anyone. Or it might be just the thing someone needs to read to make them take a second look at their skin.
Or honestly...it might allow me to vent and update my family and friends.
Here's how it all started: I'm doing my least favorite chore...washing dishes. I have an itch, scratch my back, and notice a rough spot that I have never felt. I stroll over to B, who used to my whining, hardly glances at the spot until I insist. He looks, pulls me down for a closer inspection, and suggests maybe I should have a dermatologist check it out...just to be safe. Three days later I schedule an appointment with a well-known dermatologist. The day before my appointment, the spot has healed. I figure, eh, I must have scratched my back. I will just cancel the appointment and head home for the Christmas holiday a few hours earlier. Beat the traffic. But, good ol' B insists I go to the appointment. What can it hurt? I'm a beach loving girl who happens to be covered in moles. Might be a good idea.
We will call the dermatologist Dr. Cool Guy for lack of a better name. Dr. Cool Guy is in his early 50's. Fun personality. Down to earth. Cool. He checks me out, says he does not believe it is anything serious but let's remove the mole anyway. He lectures me on sunscreen, on melanoma, etc. He does his dermatologists duties. I leave, head back into the office a week later to have the mole removed, head home. No worries.
Then what? I go in for my appointment to have the sutures removed. I'm joking with B, laughing with the nurse, planning my evening. The doctor walks in. I hear, "What's up? Blah, blah, blah...Malignant Melanoma. No, I wish I was joking."
No? You wish you were joking? Wait. This is serious. Ask doctor to repeat. He does. It is real. It sounds as bad as it did the first time he told me. This time Dr. Cool Guy adds that he is going to have me meet with a general surgeon and an oncologist.
Fast forward 2 weeks. I am on the table, about to go in for surgery. Dr. Pink, my surgeon, confirms he is going to cut me in 4 separate spots to remove lymph nodes, and he will remove a large area of skin from my back. 3 hours later, I'm waking up...pain. pain. pain. But hey, the surgeon keeps making comments on how alert I am. Guess I am a good patient.
7 days of hell pass...the pain. the waiting. the pain. the waiting.
Then my phone rings. It's the oncologists office...Dr. Bad Mustache wants to see me tomorrow. "Can I come in today instead?" So, I round up the troops...off we go. I have to admit, I almost felt bad for Dr. Bad Mustache; we're an intimidating bunch. He does not waste much time...gets right to the point: there was cancer found in the lymph nodes.
I would be lying if I said I didn't have an idea that this was what Dr. Bad Mustache was going to tell me. But I would also be lying if I said I didn't think there was a chance he would say, "It's OK, Miss Chelsea. We are going to check you every few months, but right now, no further treatment is necessary."
So what's next? That's every one's question...Mine included. Here's what I do know: I go for a PET CT on Friday. This will show if there is any more cancer in my body. I go for an MRI of my brain Monday to see what's going on up in this big head of mine. And then we will decide on treatment plans.
I don't know why I'm writing this...I don't even know if I want everyone reading it. But it's midnight...and I have too many thoughts running in my head right now.
Here's what I know tonight:
I have a support team like none other.
And I am going to fight like hell.
That's what I know.