On July 5th, Dr. Gifford called back to let me know that my mole had Melanoma. I didn't know what it was at first, but then he said skin cancer. He immediately told me that I had to meet with a surgeon and have a WLE (Wide Local Excision). Ok, so I panic a little, but not too much.
July 10th, I go and meet with Dr. Kutner, and she explains the Melanoma & surgery more than Dr. Gifford did. Oh no, this is not what I was expecting. My surgery is going to be 1.5 hours, and she is going to remove all of the skin/tissue around the knee area, where they removed my mole, and then a few lymph nodes also. The only thing is that we had a vacation scheduled in two weeks, so it was going to have to wait for that.
July 19th, I go and have my lab work & chest x-rays done. Normal procedure before surgery.
July 22 - Sebastian, me, Reanna, Paige and I drive our RV to Las Vegas! Oh yeah, we brought Peanut & Butter with us. My mom came by and we had a great time! We ate at Circus Circus, gambled a bit, and the girls played some games.
The next day we drove over the Hoover Dam and then walked around for a bit. Boy, was it hot! I do not know why - but for some dumb reason I did not wear sunscreen. So we had to hurry, because Dr. Kutner told me not to go outside without it! Yes, it was hard to hurry when it is that hot! Luckily, we got back to the RV, turned on the A/C and had a nice lunch. We had sandwiches and a Spinach dip I made before we left. It was GOOD! After lunch, we finished our drive to Williams KOA. The next morning, we took a cab to the Grand Canyon Railway. While there, we saw a wild west shoot out - pretty cool, it even sprinkled a bit during it. Then we took the train into the grand canyon. It was a beautiful day! There were a few clouds, but you could still see for miles! I must say that it is quite breath-taking there. I would love to go back someday! The next day we were supposed to relax at the RV park, but in the middle of the day, Sebastian decided we should drive home! So that is exactly what we did. We packed up and drove home. What a drive that was. Glad that we will never do that again (we sold our RV immediately after the trip).
August 6, 2007 - Sebastian & Reanna came with me to have my physical done. I had to have a physical before my surgery. I guess they called it a pre-op appt. The physical wasn't that bad, but I felt like I was there all day! I had to do that, do some more lab work, go meet with some other surgery people, pay for my surgery ($5) and sign paperwork, etc. Not fun at all.
August 12, 2007 - Maria's birthday. I called her, and she wasn't home. She had just left to a baby shower. I called again at 6pm (9pm her time) and there was no answer :( I was bummed that I did not get to tell her Happy Birthday! Anyway - Sebastian & I took Reanna & Ben to SF for the day. It was Reanna's birthday the next day, but I would be in surgery, so we went to the Wharf & Pier 39. We ate lunch at Pier 39, and Sebastian was making me mad. We didn't finish our fries, and he carried them with him for about an hour. He was trying to feed the pigeons, but they didn't want them. I told him not to do it, but since he saw them eating them in the restaurant, he thought they would want them. Sometimes he's a bit too stubborn! Anyway, after lunch we went to Ripley's Believe it or Not! There were a lot of interesting things in there! Then we walked around for an hour or two, and then made our way to the Wax Museum. I think Sebastian read EVERYTHING in there, because he took forever. We had to send Ben back in, because we thought maybe he got lost or something. After that, we went right next door to have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Reanna picked that out! We had a great time on her 17th Birthday!
August 13, 2007 - Reanna's Birthday & Surgery Day. WLE. I have to be at the hospital at 8:30 in the Nuclear Medicine Dept. The dr. gave me 4 shots in my knee, and boy were they painful! The radioactive dye should've shown up about 10 minutes later, but of course, NOT. Finally, 45 minutes later, it shows up. The dr comes back, marks my leg up, and sends me on my way. I make my way to the surgery center. The nurse asked me about 100 questions, then I had to go to the room and get changed (or should i say undressed) for surgery. A few minutes later, Sebastian shows up. He is there with me up until they wheel me away. While in surgery, he went and got my prescription. Right when I got out, he was right there. He was so helpful! I stayed for about 45 minutes and then he helped wheel me to the car, etc. My leg brace was big! I wasn't expecting it to be that big! I go home and just take my vicadin & rest. I really couldn't do much more. The next morning, I was extremely sick. I was throwing up my food, water, everything. All I did was sleep. I felt awful. I did not want to talk to anyone. Not even him :( I could not help it at all.
August 15, 2007 - I meet with Dr. Paek, my new dermatologist. Dr. Gifford referred me to her because she specializes in melanoma. I meet with her, and I have no clue why. She went over my whole body, and the remaining of my moles are fine. But she does not have any info for me because the results from my surgery are not back yet. All she told me was that I was minimum melanoma Stage II.
August 21, 2007 - Post Op follow up with Dr. Kutner. Good news - the surgery in my knee was successful. All of the cancer was removed. Bad news - the cancer spread to my lymph nodes, so they are going to have to do another surgery. Just what I didn't want to hear. She left the room for a few minutes, and I had tears in my eyes. I just could not help it. Sebastian was with me, and he was so kind and understanding. We went to the surgery scheduling area, and I scheduled the surgery for Oct. 5th. I got home and called Selina, I could not help but cry. She was so strong for me. I know she was upset, but she stayed so strong for me! That was what I needed. Then I called my dad. Once again, I started crying on the phone. And my dad too stayed strong. He told me he would help me in anyway he could. Barbara even got on the phone and said to call her anytime, she would come down and help in a heartbeat. That really meant a lot. The next call was my mom. This time I had to be strong. No more crying. I finally called her, and she was really upset, and she too, like everyone else, stayed strong.
August 29, 2007 - I met with Dr Kwong, an Oncologist that Dr Kutner referred me to. He gave me a lot of info, and treatment methods. He was very understanding, and offered to give me support group info. I learned that my Breslow's depth is 2.01mm and my Clark's level is IV.
August 30, 2007 - PET Scan. I went in, and of course it's freezing cold. Yep, I did not blow dry my hair, so that made it worse! I brought a Sudoku book, because I have 45 minutes to do nothing. The nurse tells me I can't read, do Sudoku, nothing! She turns the lights out and tells me to go to sleep. Luckily she gave me a blanket, but I was still cold with WET hair! Right when I fall asleep, she wakes me up and makes me go into the room with the scanner. I'm in the scanner for 45 minutes! It's not that bad. Guess I'm not claustrophobic! So after that, I go to work, then to meet Dr. Hickey, a PT. She gives me some exercises and measures me for a sock that I'm going to have to wear after my next surgery. On the drive home, I get a call from Dr. Kwong. Can you believe they already had the PET scan back! Earlier that day his assistant Linda (I wonder how I remembered her name?) called me and made an appt for me to get the results on Sept. 6th. It's the same day and he already was calling me? Well, he said he had good news and he did not want me to wait worrying for the next week. The cancer is confined to the lymph nodes in my left groin area. This is GREAT news. Oh yeah, I also have gall stones and a cyst on my right pelvis. LOL...
Sept. 05, 2007 - I go to Dr. Kutners office because the stitches in my knee are really starting to hurt! I need them removed. OMG - now that was painful! I did not know it would hurt so bad. She was pulling them out, and I was sliding off the bed! I wanted to scream SOO bad, but I refrained from screaming only because I did not want to scare patients that may have been in rooms near me. I can still remember how painful that was. Next time she said I'll have the dissolve able ones. Thank God!
Sept. 12, 2007 - I had my ob/gyn appt. Every 3 years is too much! Can't you just go once in your lifetime? Anyway, I had to go because of the cyst that was on my pelvis. My Dr. scheduled me for an ultrasound in Nov. to look at that, long after my surgery. Yep, I have to drink (4) 8 oz. glasses of water 1 hour before my appointment, and I can't pee. Like that's going to happen??? I can't believe they make pregnant ladies do this! Guess I should be glad I'm not pg.