to you and your DH. Cancer is so scary.
He was nervous and worried but it did turn out to be totally treatable.
Mine was stage 1b but, I opted for a lymph node biopsy for peace of mind. It came back clean.
There are a couple things you want to make sure you know - make sure you know the Clark's level and the breslow thickness. The clark's level tells you how many layers of skin are involved and the breslow thickness tells you how thick the tumor is. These are very important numbers to have.
Also, make sure you find out if it was ulcerated or not.
There are a million and one message boards out there for melanoma information and support. I would highly recommend only going to reputable ones and staying off the yahoo ones. Here is one that I found to be fantastic. Tons of factual information and resources:
I would also make sure you research the best cancer centers out there. Being in NY, you have Sloan Kettering which is supposed to be fantastic. You want a dermatologist you have absolute faith in.
My thoughts and prayers go out to you. It's terrifying, I know. I'm 3+ months out and it's getting better but, it's always there.
If you want to PM me or if you have any questions or just need to talk, I'm more than happy to help in whatever way you need.
Edited because I didn't answer your question about the 2nd opinion. Yes - always get a second opinion. The original dermatologist that found my cancer would have actually missed it if I hadn't pointed it out. At that point, I no longer trusted him. I went to another dermatologist and in fact, I travel 2 hours to our major medical university that has a melanoma clinic for additional opinions.
The more eyes you have on your husband, the better. You need to be comfortable that everything is being covered.
As far as treatment - I didn't need chemo - I just had a large chunk of my arm removed and I didn't need further treatment. But, so much will depend upon the clark's level, the stage, the lymph nodes etc....
I agree that who you see matters a lot. He did/does have the most aggressive type of melanoma that grows in rather than out. He's still doing good.
Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys!
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Good luck to your DH and you! Oh, and if he has any siblings, tell them they should start getting skin checks. I've gone in once a year now since my brother found the melanoma. I've had one pre-cancerous mole so I think melanoma does run in families.
I go to dermatologist every year, he usually removes few moles every year. Some of them were what is called 'pre-cancer', thus I treat skins problems very seriously. I also saw several doctors and they all do exam, but I think that you are the one who should look at your husband and notice every unusual things. I mean scalp (some of my bad moles were hidden in hair!), I also mean private parts, I mean between toes and fingers,behind the ears etc. If you notice something that you have a little concern with - bring it to dr attention. Better be a nuisance here. Also, I had several moles that 2!!! dermatologyst were thinking that were just a blood vessels pop and one even suggested to laser shave it. I said just do a biopsy (I was concerned about lupus actually). It ended up being bad one. So, insist on real check and pictures and measurement if biopsy is not recommended for a particular spot. Or do it yourself. I have several moles that I measure myself every 3 months and track the size. And do not worry! Just be proactive.
Thanks so much for sharing your story. This is the worst! Do you mind if I ask If your Husband is OK? Your story is exactly
what we are going thru now! 10/16/2013 this Tuesday is my husband's operation. Can't listen to people anymore.. Even Our Church
had a "Circle Prayer" for him yesterday. (THANK GOD) !!!! I didn't ask for but people have history & tell me 6mths their wife
lived. Friends etc. I can't believe it's so serious??
I only read that one message you posted yrs ago. I'm scared...please if possible give it to me honestly!!!