Just anxious, hoping for advice.

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3/11/2018 1:59pm
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Replies: 10

I haven’t received any sort of diagnosis - in fact, can’t call til Monday to even try to find a dermatologist. But I’m terrified right now. 

I have a spot about midway down my ribcage on my left side. I don’t think it’s even 5mm. But it’s a little oval almost that’s single-color tan in the center and rimmed by reddish brown. What’s driving me crazy is that I can’t remember how long it’s been there. It’s always hidden by my bra. 

I’ve never really concentrated on it before. It’s ever so slightly raised, but maybe it’s always been? And maybe that reddish brown has always been there too. But I’ve convinced myself it’s melanoma because I was an idiot 10 years ago and used a tanning bed occasionally. I’m 32, fair skinned, blonde hair and blue eyes. Can’t get much more high-risk than that. 

I’ve had other people look at it that say it looks like I gouged myself with my nail. But I don’t recall doing that, and why would it be brown still? And this has been there for a few months, I know that at least. Doesn’t appear to be changing. The center color matches a few other tiny spots I have down my torso.

I just don’t know what to do right now and my anxiety is destroying my life. 

Anxiety is always greatest when we don’t know.   Make that appointment, have it looked at and go from there.   It much else you can do at this point,  keep in mind that a huge % of growths examined, biopsied and sent to pathology turn out not to be melanoma.  Hang in there!

Thank you. I’m trying. I feel like all I’ve done is go in and out of doctors offices since August. Different issue, but I’ve had 2 abdominal CT scans, two chest x-rays ( most recent in January ), and three full CBC blood tests ( last also in Jan ), all of which were completely normal. Plus my first mammogram, a brain MRI, and a sinus CT scan.

I thought I was finally at a point where I could start recovering mentally. Now I’ve noticed this spot and I feel like I’ve been set back 6 months all over again. 

I know I sound nuts but I’m so scared that I pulled through all of that just to be smacked in the face with the worst possible thing, all from a spot. 

No change is very good.  Melanoma will continue to change.  The thing is - MOST things aren't melanoma.  Blond hair and blue eyes is a risk factor, but it's not a HUGE risk factor.  Tanning bed use is a risk factor but if you were a regular use, again a higher risk.  And risks are not cummulative so you don't just add up a bunch of factors and say I'm screwed!

Truthfully, the best thing you have in your corner is that you know about melanoma.  The vast majority don't even know what that is.  So tomorrow you call and get a derm appointment.  You can take a picture to confirm no change while you wait for your appointment.  My gut reaction from your description was not enough characteristics that I'd put it in my high risk category.  You realize that all any of us can do is guess based upon the info given and that's all I'm doing.  But some descriptions of lesions jump out at you and wave a red flag.  Your description doesn't.  Having said that, it doesn't mean you shouldn't have it biopsied.  You made it far enough to ask the question so just get it taken care of.  Most melanoma is very slow growing so the time to get an appointment would not be an issue.  And stop researching melanoma - absolutely not necessary or even helpful at this point.  Get a biopsy and if, in the off chance, it were to be melanoma -- come back here where we'd love to help navigate that road. 

Thank you. I called around to a few local places and was lucky enough to find one with a cancellation for today, since it snowed so heavily. I appreciate your reply. I actually read it last night and it helped me calm down in another of those panicky moments. 

Hoping for the best out of today, to be told that it’s nothing and to stay off the internet. I tell myself that it helps, but you’re right, it doesn’t. It just sets me off over and over. 

Going in this morning to have the place removed for biopsy. The doctor I saw yesterday looked at it and immediately said “Okay, it’s a mole. Tell me about the history.” I couldn’t tell her much, since I haven’t exactly studied it before this week. 

She said it may just be red because it’s irritated ( it sits right where my bra band hits constantly ). She also said that it doesn’t look like it’s melanoma at this point. But that it needs to come off to be sure it isn’t changing. She said a couple times that she doesn’t think it’s cancer, and just...honestly didn’t seem worried in the least. 

Would edit if I could but can’t figure out how. Everything went fine this morning. The doctor said it’s most likely a mild atypical mole that isn’t cancer yet. She told me at the end as we were leaving that she sees them all the time and though we won’t know til we get the report, she really thinks it will be fine. 

So now I wait and pray and try to distract myself. I wish I could sleep through the rest of this week and skip the waiting. 

So maybe now is a good time to take some pictures.  All over your body.  Since 75% of melanomas show up on new moles, if you take pictures of your body - say lower front leg, lower back leg.... and get a record of everywhere, you'll know if you have something new show up because you'll have a baseline.  I have baseline photos from 10+ years ago that I still use.

I’ll do that for sure. I don’t want to go through this again, where I’m sitting here stressing out wondering if I’ve always had that mole or if it’s new. 

Does that mean that if this mole is actually new, that it’s a greater chance it’s malignant?

I don't think you can say that because people get benign moles all the time. 

Thank you again for talking to me on this. I don’t have a copy of the report but got a message from my doctor today that said,  “It is NOT cancer, but it was atypical. We did get all of it out.” And just that we’d talk more when I have my stitches out Tuesday. So I don’t know what level of atypical yet. But she was right and I refuse to let myself read too much into the bit about getting it all out, other than to feel relieved.