Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Overdue Check-Up

Are you guys as burnt out on political talk as I am? Well, don't worry, I'm not touching on politics tonight. I have new results to share with you tonight...

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! 




Respect the Rays said...

I too am highly allergic to all tape adhesive....such a nightmare. I have had 30+ moles removed, with only about 5 that were benign...the rest were either mildly, moderately, or severely atypical. #crazydisease!

Light Skinned Mother said...

Thank you, Chelsea. I have my 3 month appt on the 27th of this month, but in the last month, I have had a rough, raised mark develop on my face. It has gotten bigger since I first noticed it. And here I am urging everyone to go get checked, but yet, I have been postponing trying to get in to see my doc early, because of all my scans. I am calling tomorrow- because of you. Thank you

Heather said...

Yep, I've had several dysplastic moles removed since I my melanoma surgery in 2009. I go in to see my doc every quarter (paranoid? yes.) and at every visit, he takes something off that he doesn't like.

Joanna @ said...

I get anything that looks funny cut off... they have been moderately to severely atypical with one melanoma in situ. I'd cut all my moles off if it was feasible!

Kisma said...

Hey girl! SO very glad to hear the little buggers are off your skin too and that you stay on top of your check-ups... insanity and all:-)

I go in next Wednesday sadly because the margins weren't clear on the two I had removed but as you know, we caught them early.

How is the new job btw??

Unknown said...

Hey Chelsea,
I have had two moles that were dyplastic nevi about 4 months ago. One was on my left leg of where my primary melanoma tumor was. The other was on my left clavicle of my shoulder. However, I am happy to report that on my last dermatologist appointment none would removed. I love reading your blog postings and always happy to cheer you on for raising melanoma awareness. Stay strong and keep fighting:) Fellow melanoma warrior and blogger:) Donna Piunt

Martha Hokenson said...

Glad to hear you're okay!

I have never had skin cancer but I do try to be diligent about checking my moles. This summer I had one on my back removed because it popped up seemingly overnight, and of course after reading tons of articles about skin cancer that set off the warning bells!

It turned out to be nothing at all, but I was glad that my doctor also took it seriously and removed it rather than saying, "Oh, we'll wait and see." Better safe than sorry!

Tif said...

Talk about inspiring! I'm happily following you back! I had three moles on my face that were they had to cut pretty deep, luckily I needed no further treatments. I would rather have the scars than the cancer! This cancer is so much more prevalent than people know! I pity those who just have to be out in the sun all the time with no protection.

*dana k* said...

yup, 5 atypical dysplastic nevi excised in addition to 1 melanoma insitu on Aug 27 ... and 4 more biopsies taken by my derm this afternoon !!! honestly, i dont know whats worse ... the actual excisions causing scars (at this point im not really bothered by the scars) but the actual waiting around for the results .... i must admit, im a freaking wreck for the next 3-4 days !!! But im afraid this is something i have no choice but deal with for the reat of my life ... hopefully our experiences and passion to raise awareness will change many others who have no idea, yet will be affected ... knowledge is power :)