MELANOMA : “NO BIG DEAL ” IT JUST SKIN CANCER !
Hi! My name is Nick Carter and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal Cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the words Melanoma and that it could be bad and it could kill you, I knew it had something to do with Skin Cancer and it could go to other parts of your body, but that was about it. This was still no big deal to me because it was just skin cancer and a doctor could just cut it off my skin and that would be it. I did not know that it could end up being a lot more. Besides, I would never get this, it was something other people got but not me. I have never been a sun worshiper so it must be for other people.
So here is a little more of my story, I had a biopsy on my arm at the VA in Salt Lake City back in March of 2009 and I was not going to keep this appointment. I told myself to just cancel it, but the doctor talked me in to coming to this appointment. So I ended up going. I told myself that it was just Basal Cell, and that it was no big deal, just a waste of my time. But I was way off this time. I guess I’m no doctor because it was melanoma and that scared me a lot. The bad part is, I was on my way to Ohio and would not be going back to Utah. At the time of the biopsy I told the Doctor I would be moving to Ohio in a few weeks with my family and that the test was no big deal, that it looks like Basal to me. It looked a lot like the one that was removed in 2007.
I was on the highway in Illinois doing 75mph in a big moving truck and I get a call from the VA in Salt Lake City and was told I would need to get in to the VA as soon as I could, that I had melanoma skin cancer and that it needed to be removed asap. I told the doctor I was almost to Ohio and she remembered I was moving, so she told me to get to the VA in Cleveland as fast as I could to get this removed and she said this over and over to me . That was the part that scared me real bad. By the time we stopped that day I was really upset, but did not tell my family until that night. Once in Ohio I did get in to the VA, but not before I got on my computer and all that did was scare me more. This melanoma skin cancer could kill me and that upset me a lot more. At the time I had a wife and two grandkids to look out for and it scared me that I may not be here for them. So if you are like me, go on the computer and look at the melanoma sites but don’t get too upset, talk to your doctor first.
At the VA in Cleveland I had the melanoma (T2a) removed in an operation (a wide excision and Sentinel lymph node biopsy with no signs that it had spread) the doctor told me about interferon. She was happy with the operation and told me we will see how I was doing first. I was told that it was cancer back in Aug. 2009 and had the operation on Oct. 5, 2009 to remove in from my arm. But I still remember the first word from my doctor (“Melanoma, I will give you 6 months, but now let's see if we can do something about it.”) When I heard this I became paralyzed with fear. So as of right now I see 3 doctors and go in to the VA every 3 months, but so far all is good. The doctor is still keeping an eye on me. In May I was told I have pre cancer polyps in my stomach that will be removed this month and pre cancer Barrett’s esophagus. But I did get a little bit of good news this time at the doctor's office when she told me I will be melanoma free in 6 months if it all goes good. It's been a long two years. So as of right now I am 3-0 (just like baseball). I had a battle with Staph Infection (MRSA) that almost killed me and Perforated Diverticulitis that almost killed me and now Melanoma that could have killed me but I did win this battle too. So here I sit with a 3-0 and that is really good.
So please get your skin checked by a dermatologist who knows skin cancer. Get a complete skin exam (naked) from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. I should have had that kind of check-up every year, and didn’t. So please, do it. It could save your life. Be Vigilant!
So here is my question to you, is it just skin cancer and no big deal or is it cancer and a big deal?
It was a big deal to me and I am a Skin Cancer survivor!