Hello Friends!

My life has gotten a little more grown up lately... New forever love of my life, new house, new job and officially a honeymooner Mrs.! Everything is a shiny adventure and untrodden territory. Follow along as I navigate the world of being a grown up!


Skin Cancer

I have been meaning to update for a while, but for a while, I was not sure what to write.

At the beginning of May, I noticed a mole on my back that looked funny.  I knew that I had snagged it (ew) on some clothes, but when it healed, it was a different shape and color and, quite frankly, looked ugly.  I went to the dermatologist and he said it didn't look like much but he would biopsy it just in case.

I did not give the whole process a second thought until he called me to let me know that it was malignant melanoma.  Based on the size of the melanoma, he said it is typically recommended that my lymph nodes also be tested to ensure that the cancer had not spread.  I made an appointment with an oncology surgeon.

The surgeon walked me through what the procedure entailed.  He let me know that he would remove the remaining portion of the mole along with a margin of skin around it.  He would test the skin to make sure it was clean.  Then, he explained that they would also want to test the sentinel (closest) lymph nodes to make sure that it had not spread.  The only way to test the lymph nodes was to remove them and look at them under a microscope.  Since your body is full of lymph nodes, I am just fine without the ones they removed (my surgery was almost three weeks ago), but they had to figure out which ones the cancer would have spread to.

Lymph Nodes

So, before my surgery, a radiologist injected me with four quadrants of radioactive dye mixed with lidocaine right around the original melanoma site.  Just like a TB test, they created little bubbles of liquid right under my skin.  Once that was in there, my body said, "hey, that's not supposed to be there!" and my lymph nodes went to work absorbing the dye.  Next, they scanned my groin and armpits (where you have lymph nodes) and marked the spots where the dye had traveled and stopped.  I was like a human beach and they took a metal detector (not really, it 's a Geiger counter) and found exactly where the spots were.  The Geiger counter measured radioactivity.  It was amazing. They put it on my skin and it made noise when it got close to the lymph node.  Not to mention, the scans were all digital and I turned my head and was able to see what they were scanning!!  I had two sentinel lobes - one in my arm pit and one in groin.  They marked both with a Sharpie and I was off to surgery.

Surgery was fine.  Lots of fun surprises like numbing my arm before they gave me my IV (nice touch!) and throwing up from the anesthesia.  Wait, that part wasn't fun, but it was a surprise.  I ended up being a little more down and out than I thought and took it easy that weekend to recover.  Josh took really good care of me, bringing me ginger ale and crackers and helping me bandage up my back.

All of my tests came back negative and I am cancer free!!  Woohoo!  Since I had melanoma once, the surgeon just said that I have to keep an eye on spots, which I do anyway.  I look for any changes in color, shape or size and I go to the dermatologist once a year for a check up!

Moral of the story is: wear sunscreen and take care of your skin!  Not only will you help prevent skin cancer, but you'll stay looking young and fresh!  Tans are OUT!

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