Archive | September 2011

♥ My Biopsy Results

Good News:

My biopsy results came in…they could not see any cancer cells BUT they could not be definitive because of the trauma it sustained from my “little operation”. They said it was a congenital mole (I was born with it) but they could not determine if it had become atypical. The ulceration was another area where they could not determine definitively if it was due to my attempt of removal or if it was becoming abnormal.

Due to my history with Melanoma and the potential for congenital moles becoming malignant, I have to have an 8mm punch biopsy done. I will have stitches but at least that is all I will have to deal with.  This time when they biopsy this specimen, there won’t be any trauma to throw them off.

Note to self: No more “do it yourself” surgeries. Leave it to the professionals. Smile

 


♥ Stress

As I wait for my biopsy results to come in, I am overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, and stress.  I know whatever the outcome is, I am in the Lords arms.  The Lord has been with me every step of the way in my life, sometimes carrying me when I’ve been too weak to walk. 

I am one who strives everyday to be the best that I can be (no, I’m not in the Army).  To not let my emotions of anger or fear take over, but rather learn whats behind them.  Once you have an understanding, you can then turn those emotions into peaceful emotions such as love and trust.  The key to being a grounded person is realizing the power of acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and higher–level thinking.

Stress is a factor in everyone’s life.  Each burden you carry is an opportunity for growth—carry yours with grace and dignity.

♥ Accutane

This week, if my blood work comes in at the levels my doctor feels is safe, I will start taking Accutane.  I have cystic acne and have been taking medication to keep it under control.  But after my skin cancer doctor removed that black ominous spot, she told me I need to go on Accutane to treat my acne.  Accutane is a chemotherapy drug to treat certain cancers, one of them being metastasized Melanoma.  Accutane is also used as the last resort for severe cystic acne. 

This drug will require monthly blood work to monitor my liver and other levels since this medication can cause some serious permanent health problems. 

So for the next 5 months or so, I will be ingesting a chemo drug.  Now, all this could change if I am diagnosed with another Melanoma that is greater than Stage 1A.

 

♥ Limbo

Being in limbo is the worst place to be in any situation.  When you are waiting for a biopsy report, it can seem like an eternity.  I am currently waiting on a biopsy report on this hard black spot that I found inside a mole. 

This mole is only 2cm from my Stage 1A Invasive Melanoma scar and about 2 inches from the actual tumor site.  Making this a possible local recurrent Melanoma. 

When I spotted this black speck inside of a mole I’ve had for years, I thought maybe it was a dried up blood clot or an ingrown hair or even a splinter.  But, when I ripped the top off this slightly raised mole and tried to pull the black spot out, it was attached like it had a root.  It also was hard as a rock and did not move.  The top of this black spot seemed to be crater like, possibly ulcerated. 

I’ve been trying like hell to remain positive and upbeat about this, but the longer it takes to get the results the deeper my fear grows.  Back in July I tweeted about a gut feeling I had that wouldn’t go away.  My gut feeling was I will be fighting a long and hard battle soon (referring to my skin cancer).  I am praying that I am wrong.  

I am not a doctor nor a pathologist, but this black spot looks ominous to me.  If this thing is a Melanoma, it will be my 3rd one in 3 years.  My first one was in 2009, and my 2nd one in 2010. 

All I can do right now is pray that I caught it early. 

Staging
Revised 2002
Also of importance are the “Clark level” and “Breslow’s depth” which refer to the microscopic depth of tumor invasion.
Melanoma stages:

Stage 0: Melanoma in Situ (Clark Level I), 99.9% Survival

Stage I/II: Invasive Melanoma, 85–99% Survival

    T1a: Less than 1.00 mm primary tumor thickness, w/o Ulceration and mitosis < 1/mm2
    T1b: Less than 1.00 mm primary tumor thickness, w/Ulceration or mitoses ≥ 1/mm2
    T2a: 1.00–2.00 mm primary tumor thickness, w/o Ulceration

Stage II: High Risk Melanoma, 40–85% Survival

    T2b: 1.00–2.00 mm primary tumor thickness, w/ Ulceration
    T3a: 2.00–4.00 mm primary tumor thickness, w/o Ulceration
    T3b: 2.00–4.00 mm primary tumor thickness, w/ Ulceration
    T4a: 4.00 mm or greater primary tumor thickness w/o Ulceration
    T4b: 4.00 mm or greater primary tumor thickness w/ Ulceration

Stage III: Regional Metastasis, 25–60% Survival

    N1: Single Positive Lymph Node
    N2: 2–3 Positive Lymph Nodes OR Regional Skin/In-Transit Metastasis
    N3: 4 Positive Lymph Nodes OR Lymph Node and Regional Skin/In Transit Metastases

Stage IV: Distant Metastasis, 9–15% Survival

    M1a: Distant Skin Metastasis, Normal LDH
    M1b: Lung Metastasis, Normal LDH
    M1c: Other Distant Metastasis OR Any Distant Metastasis with Elevated LDH

Based Upon AJCC 5-Year Survival With Proper Treatment