Friday, March 19, 2010

Melanoma is NOT for the faint of heart - WARNING

A few months ago, Jeff's boss went in to get his moles checked and found out he had Melanoma skin cancer. Which got Jeff and I thinking that we should probably get ours checked out too.  Jeff saw a mole in the middle of my back that he was a little concerned about. After making a trip to the dermatologist, she did a biopsy of the same mole Jeff was worried about.  A week later, I received a phone call confirming that that mole was melanoma skin cancer.

Kinda made me sick to my stomach just knowing I had cancer, but I knew I'd be okay.  Luckily I have two wonderful friends who have been on this same journey. I was able to talk with them and realize what I was in for.  So last Monday I went in for a scheduled surgery to cut out the melanoma.  As I already knew, Melanoma can be an extremely dangerous cancer.  If not caught early, it is fatal.  Fortunately, Jeff caught it early.  
Melanoma is a tricky cancer. The cancer cells don't really stick together.  Some like to go off to the sides. So, in order to make sure they got it all out, they cut a large area.  Dr. Tuli  ended up cutting a big diamond shape in my back that ended up being about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide and about a half an inch deep.  Since they just numb the area that they cut, I was awake the whole time and got to see my diamond shape skin put in the dish that would be sent off for more testing. It was really weird, but interesting.  They ended up cutting all the way down to my back muscle. Jeff got to see it all. AND AMAZINGLY.... he did NOT faint!
 After they cut the diamond shape out, they pulled the skin together and then sewed it all up. I ended up with this....
I have since learned that every little movement that I make seems to be connected to my back.  Every reach, every stretch, sitting, even walking....which makes it so sore. There doesn't seem to be a comfortable position to sleep or sit in. Every thing is connected to the back.  Yesterday was the first day that I could move enough to dress myself without any help and shampoo and do my own hair.  Today I seem to be paying for it though.
I feel sorry for my kids. This week has been spring break and they've had to stay home and not do much. They have been amazing though. I am so proud of them. They are being extra loving and attentive and extremely helpful. They have really stepped it up!  Love those kids.
And all in all, I really can't complain.  It hurts, but it could be a lot worse. I don't have to do chemotherapy or radiation or anything. That is a HUGE blessing!  And most of all, I still have my life.  It may be a life that is different that before.  Staying out of the sun is going to be a MAJOR adjustment for me!  But, I'm grateful.  A little pain can teach you a big lesson.  

10 comments:

Holly said...

Oh--wow, what a picture. I hope you are feeling better soon. Send your kids down here next time! (Of course, I hope there isn't a next time...)

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Thank goodness for a phenominal husband who has your back (literally). I love you and I am so glad that you got treatment quick!

Rebecca Stay said...

Good thing Jeff and your doctor saw the problem: it's hard to keep track of what your own back looks like!
So very glad they caught it early.

Melissa said...

Wow, glad to know you are ok. Take it easy and hope you feel better soon.

Liz said...

Glad you could get that fixed so easily (you know compared to other major problems) heal up fast.

Katie said...

I'm so glad you wrote about that, it reminds me that I need to get mine checked too! Thank goodness y'all caught it early, I hope you will be back to fully functioning soon!

PattiH05k said...

Amazing that Jeff did not faint!!

Sam and Kat said...

omg i'm so sorry to hear about all that! it sounds really painful!! glad they caught it early though! Hope you are feeling better!!

Daily Comics said...

Kristen - no way . . .I'm glad to hear they caught it! Hope your recovery is soon over!

Tom and Corinne Bradshaw Family said...

Wow!! I had no idea. I am so Behind on reading this stuff. Finally got on facebook. Hopefully this summer I can put a few things up. Maybe will at least put some pics up later.