It all started with a small dark freckle on my right arm, middle of the bicep, which I have had for as long as I can remember.Over time without much thought or notice, this freckle turned into a mole.
At the age of 41 people started to notice it and would make comments, so we started to monitor at home.
September 2007 appointment made for the doctors to get it checked out. Diagnosis, he asked me how it had changed and I told him that we had been trying to measure changes but it was difficult. He suggested that we tried to photograph any changes and did not seem concerned. He said he could remove but that it would leave me with a scar of about an inch. Unfortunately we were very niave because in hindsight it showed all the signs of being melanoma and I also had the classic genetic make up being fair skinned, blue eyes and having spent my childhood & teenage years in a hot country. The Doctor should have suspected!!
In the December my best friend who had not seen me in a while, saw my arm and commented that she had noticed changes, as a result of that comment and the fact that suddenly it looked like a black blood blister, in the Januaray I went to the doctor and asked for it to be removed. One week after removal, while making the dinner my doctor rang and informed me that I had melanoma and its depth was 2.4mm and would need a further operation. In the February I had to undergo a wide exicision operation. The removed tissue was clear of any sign of the cancer. The usual route for secondary infection and spreading of melanoma is through the Lymph system. Therefore I was given a CT scan of my nearest lymph node which is under my right arm and all was clear.
For the first two years this lymph node was checked every three months by the dermatologist. This decreased to every four months for the third year and then to every six months. At my last check at the end of August 2011 all was clear.
In August 2011 a small spot like bump appeared in my right armpit, thinking that it was just a blocked pore or ingrown hair no alarm bells were ringing. At the end of September, my partner found a small gland like lump to my left flank and also the bump in my armpit started to change. I immediately saw the doctor who did not appear concerned about them but, to be safe referred me to a breast consultant. I was examined on the 11th of October and by this stage I had found another smaller lump in my right shoulder.
I was given a Mammogram and Ultrasound 2 days later with a consult booked with the consultant on the 28th Oct for the results. My Mammogram was clear but the consultant spoke with my dermatologist the day before he met with me and they viewed the ultrasound results. When I met with the consultant he informed me that we were going for a consult with the dermatologist. As soon as he saw the 3 bumps he immediately diagnosed secondary melanoma. He ordered blood tests, CT scan of my internal organs and prepared us for bad news. One week later I had the CT scan and then on 11/11/2011 we were given the devasting news that the cancer had spread to my lungs and liver and possibly my left thigh muscle. He also referred me to Addenbrookes Hospital and I am waiting to see a specialist Melanoma Oncologist.
I will update you all in my blog pages as and when I have appointments and my progress.