Husband just diagnosed - surgery scheduled - advice?

Posted By
3/17/2014 4:29pm
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Replies: 8

Hello all-

My husband was diagnosed with melanoma last week  - a mole on the back of his thigh which the dermatologist removed. He saw an oncologist; she said the tumor was 1.1 mm and he is stage 2. He  is scheduled to have surgery to remove more tissue around the site and test the nodes in his groin (yikes!). He is really downplaying this, and doesn't want to talk about it much  but I am worried. He has always been very healthy and doesn't handle being down well.  I need some advice about how to help him best post-surgery, and any other advice you may have.  Thank you!



So sorry you have to go thru this.

Well first of all mine was a mole on my earlobe.....42 at the time...stage 1 /2 depending on who was reading it.

had the WLE to remove mole and tissue and the SNB to remove and check nodes....mine were negative and I healed from the surgery and continued on with scans. 

Mine actullly returned a year later and progressed is a tricky beast.

Dont let him down play it to the point he doesn't get checked afterward.


My best recomendation would be to get to a Melanoma Facility and Specialist.

Not sure where you are from...but thats my two cents.


Be vigilant about post surgery stuff to include, patholiogy, scans, check ups, etc....


Since i buried the lead....


My advice is to make sure you are at a Melanoma Specialist and a Proper Facility....not just a standard oncology clinic.


Thank Matt. His surgeon is Jennifer Garreau, recommended by his dermatologist.  Looks like one of her specialties is melanoma. I don't see any melanoma specialty clinics listed in Oregon - we are fortunate to live in the Portland Metro area. If the lymph nodes come back positive we will look at the options.



Providence has melanoma specialists and participates in many ciinical trials.  I saw Dr. Curti for the AntiPD1 trial last year.  You have a wonderful city.  I came from California to participate in this trial.  The people at Providence and throughout the community were wonderful.

Maureen Elise

Hi Kath

Sorry to welcome you to this forum, but be glad you found it!  My husband started his journey with a mole on his arm that was overlooked by many doctors as 'nothing', but he was insistent as was another nurse.  Like your husband, mine does not do being sick or laid up well.  I can tell you that just a little over a month ago my husband had his 3rd surgery from this frustrating disease.  Although he has advanced to stage 4, I'm convinced that because he doesn't like to sit still has helped him through all of this.  Yes he has gotten frustrated with not being able to do the things that he wants, but he is 6 weeks out from having his last surgery and is back at the gym.  Being healthy is very important, and I won't lie and say I'm not worried about him, but I was told by nurse friends that it is good to let him get back to as normal as possible when he feels ready.  It sounds like medically you are in good hands.  I hope that the surgery goes well and the margins are clear and lymph nodes as well.  Good luck and keep us informed.



Thank you all so much for the warm welcome and advice. This is just so hard to process, still reeling. 

I was ready to ask him to change to Providence, but he seems ok with his derm's referral. I did some research on her background and she has great credentials and reviews. And Megan, she coauthored a study on the effects of vigor - energy and optimism- and found it to help recovery. So I will keep my thoughts positive as well and try not worry so much. Try try try. 

So.... deep breath. Surgery is in 2 weeks - postponed until after spring break family vacation. I will post an update then. In the meantime, keeping you in my prayers. 

Many thanks,


Hi Kath, so sorry you've had to join us here, but welcome. This is a great community for offering information, advice, and just plain moral support - you came to the right place.

Our husbands sound similar in lots of ways - particularly the not wanting to talk about it part. When we were at this point in the disease - between initial diagnosis and wide local excision/sentinel node biopsy - even I, the extrovert of the pair, didn't want to talk about it. I learned a lot about myself during that period.

Yesterday I wrote a blog post for spouses and other caregivers of newly diagnosed melanoma patients. You might connect with some of what I wrote. It's at Some of my early posts talked about the period post-surgery. But it's an individual thing, depending on the extent and site of the surgery.

If you have specific questions about your husband's care, let us know what's on your mind and we'll try to help.

If you do have more questions about your husband's case, it would help us to have more details from the pathology reports. You could post them in your question and/or on your profile page.

We'll be thinking of you and wishing the best for both of you.

Kindest regards,

blogging at

Thanks Hazel.  I will check your post. And if I can get him to show me the pathology report, I will gladly share more details. It's frustrating.