Due to the craziness of the last few months: new job, trips to New York, and finding the house, I let my 3 month appointments with my dermatologist slip by. Don't worry--I saw other doctors who gave me the glance over, but I knew it was time to get a full body exam when my beloved oncologist, The Wizard, questioned me about it in October. I headed into the office for my 7:10 appointment on Friday with a smile on my face and a magazine in my hand. I wanted to give him a copy of The Skin Cancer Foundation's Journal that I was so honored to be a part of. While waiting for Dr. Cool Guy (I call him that because he's totally unlike other doctors. He's laid back and just someone you want to be friends with) to enter the room, I heard him talking to the nurse: "This is her." Nurse: "Who? The one you always talk about?" And what do you know, my dermatologist walked into my exam room holding his own copy of The Skin Cancer Foundation's Journal!
(You can read or buy a copy of the Journal here.)
After we played catch-up, we got down to business. I had one mole in particular that made me nervous. Not only did it resemble the mole that eventually turned into melanoma, it also caught the attention of my other doctors. While the dermatologist comforted me that he didn't think it was anything too serious, he said he trusts my instincts. Guess what? It was a dysplastic nevus. I knew it needed to get off my body!
Luckily he got clear margins!
Don't think I escaped with just one battle wound though! Dr. Cool Guy was looking at my back and hesitated for a while, so I knew he saw something he didn't really like. He asked, "Do you mind if I take this?" Of course I said, "Take it." The watch and wait approach doesn't work for us...
I'm totally allergic to the tape they use...Must remember that next time!
That mole also was mildly dysplastic.
My dermatologist is married to a two time melanoma survivor which is another reason why I appreciate him. Ever since he told me that horrible news, he has done everything in his power to help me. We don't shake hands when he walks in. We hug. I respect him, he respects me. No lie, there was a time when I was mad at him. I was mad because I felt like I wasn't prepared for the horrible news he gave me. But how could I have been? We--like so many other melanoma patients--didn't think that mole was melanoma. And let's be real. I wasn't mad at him. I was mad at the shitty situation.
Back to his wife, when I mentioned on Facebook that he had removed two more suspicious looking areas from my back, she wrote,"I'm glad he doesn't trust a mole when it comes to you." She's right, he doesn't trust moles. He will quickly point out what he doesn't like and slice it off. Sure, it may hurt a little, it may cost a lot, but the peace of mind I receive after I get the phone call from his nurse is priceless.
Let this be your reminder to follow-up with your dermatologist. If you don't like the way something looks, ask for it to be removed! Sometimes you gotta bite the bullet and be your own advocate.
PS--I have now had 4 dysplastic nevi removed since I was diagnosed with melanoma. Have you all had them removed too? Just curious!