New guy here

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1/13/2014 4:47pm
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Replies: 5

Just diagnosed Friday, melanoma in situ in my right shoulder. Shave biopsy.

A little background; I'm 28 years old, sum worshipper all my life. I spend summer on my boat or riding my jet ski. Never was a fan of sunblock despite my wife always nagging at me about it. Last summer she noticed a few spots on my back and one on my shoulder that she didn't like. As a typical walking specimen of testosterone, I declined to see a Dr. I've always put up a huge fight about going because I just don't like to see a doctor and be told what to do. The company I work for demanded that we all get routine physicals if we want them to post for our insurance. My wife finally had the leverage to get me to go and show them the coupe of moles.

The doc examined the moles and said, These over here look completely normal, this one on your shoulder is very small, but I do not like it." It was smaller than a quarter of an inch.

He took a shave biopsy (which I am now reading isn't the greatest) and confirmed it is in fact melanoma. He gave me the results a day and a half after the biopsy on his day off. We really appreciate that. He referred me to someone down the hall that has 23 years experience in working with this and is a dermatologist/dermotopathologist or whatever, whom will be doing a wide local excision in two days from today.

His original diagnosis was in situ stage 0. He added that it was caught early and this will not kill me, just leave a scar and so fourth.

Coming to find out staging is very difficult if a shave biopsy is done and I'm wondering why they would specify if it is unknown.. Probably to keep me sane until the procedure is done? I nearly lost consciousness having the biopsy because I looked at what he was doing. I've never passed out sober before, I just became very confused and couldn't hear him talking to me, then the nurse ran in and the lights went dim.

Any questions I should ask on Wednesday when I get my shoulder whittled on?

Thanks in advance.

kpcollins31 - (1/13/2014 - 5:11pm)

Sorry you had to join us here, but try not to be too alarmed at in "in-situ" diagnosis. Chances are, the wide local excision will put you in the clear. You will just have to adhere to your wife's nagging and a) use sunscreen and b) get into a routine with the doctors.

As a side note, looks like you must be right down the road from me... I saw LKN Captain and immediately thought Lake Norman (I live in Mooresville). We are fortunate to have some very good options for melanoma treatment in reasonable proximity. I go to Wake Forest Baptist Health but Levine Cancer Center in Charlotte has a great reputation as does Duke in Raleigh.

Kevin

 

LKN Captain - (1/14/2014 - 9:24am)

Yes, I live right on the border of Cornelius and Huntersville. I've done quite a few window and door jobs in Mooresville. The guy that my doctor referred me to is in lakeside physicians group in Huntersville. I've researched him up and down and I'm comfortable with him doing the excision tomorrow.

Janner - (1/13/2014 - 5:30pm)

This is your wake up call - the sun really isn't your best friend.

Let's talk biopsies.  A shave biopsy is not a problem WHEN you have clean DEEP margins.  If your lesion was not transsected, then it matters little what type of biopsy you had.  The problem arises when you have a deep lesion and the biopsy cuts through it.  You can't put it  back together and figure out how deep the original  lesion was.  Chances are (you'd have to confirm this with your doc or your pathology report), your lesion had clean deep margins since melanoma in situ doesn't extend into the dermis.  Stage 0.  That means the WLE (wide local excision) is your next step.  After that, it might be re-evaluating your sun habits.  Your are at higher risk for another melanoma and also higher risk for the other types of skin cancer.  While basal cell and squamous cell typically aren't life threatening, they can do a lot of local damage and your melanoma has proven you're susceptible.

Get a copy of your pathology report for your own records.  Live life!  But maybe reevaluate your sun  habits of you (and your kids???).

 

LKN Captain - (1/14/2014 - 9:30am)

I'll get a copy of it and I will definitely limit sun exposure or put the sunblock on. I wouldn't have been surprised if I were twice as old as I am, though I grew up in southern CA and I can't find a picture of me when I was younger without a dark brown tan. I'm tired of my wife always being right.

JerryfromFauq - (1/15/2014 - 2:17pm)

Let the wife enjoy it this time!  (You don't have to acknowledge her being correct on many things. (EXCEPT to her!)

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.