Life after the Melanoma

About 6 months ago I wrote about my melanoma in situ experience. As a result, I now have a skin scan every 6 months. I’m totally fine with getting checked that often. I’d rather be on top of it than have something crazy creep up on me.

In March I had my second skin scan. The doctor I see is near my school and works at that location in the mornings. So, I was able to go during my prep. This time, she had a little device that looked like it did some sort of magnification so she could see irregularities easier. I was kind of hoping that she’d remove a couple of raised ones on my neck. She will eventually, but she only likes to do about 3 -5 at a time. Well, I had 4 others, so I used up my quota for this visit. She removed 3 on my torso and one on my left calf.

The Monday of spring break, I got a call at about 8:40 in the morning. I’m sure the doctor was expecting to leave a message for me and was quite surprised when I answered the phone. Two of the moles needed a bit more done to them. She wanted to do 1 cm punch excisions on both of them. I told her that I was leaving for Arizona the next day and I thought she’d arrange a time for after spring break. Nope. She looked at her schedule and said, “Can you get here at 9:20?” I looked at the clock and said, “Yep!” I took a quick shower, dressed in comfy clothes that made the areas easily accessible. And I was on my way.

The 1 cm punch excisions were easier than the last one. She used a round device that had a diameter of 1 cm that must have had sharp edges to just press and turn. The sample was about 2 – 3 mm deep. One was on my lower back and the other was the one on my left calf. Each had 2 internal stitches and 3 external ones.

Since I already had experience with the wound care (from the last time) the doctor knew that I could take care of them while vacationing. I wasn’t doing a beach vacation, and I was staying at a friend’s parents’ house, so that made it easier too. While hiking in the canyon I was really careful and didn’t go as far as I normally would. The stitches in my leg felt tighter than the ones in my back and I didn’t want them to break.

I got my stitches out after 10 days. The scar on my back looks pretty good. One of the internal stitches is popping out, so I’m not quite sure what I’m doing with that. For now, I’m just leaving it alone. The one on my leg still has the steri-strips so I’m not sure what it looks like yet.

My pathology report came back and everything is fine. No melanomas or pre-cancerous stuff. But I’m being really careful. And I’m also using this experience to teach my students about the dangers of tanning and sun burns. The funny thing, is that most of my students are NOT white. So it’s not as big of an issue for them. But it’s still important for them to protect themselves.


One Response to “Life after the Melanoma”

  1. dkzody Says:

    I always tell people, when they compliment my skin, stay out of the sun. I had a dermatologist tell me that over 30 years ago. I am pale white, but my skin is good.

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