“So how did it go?”. . .
We got into Houston around 10:15pm. Crashed hard and slept fast and woke up at 6:00am so that I could say hi to some family before they left for school/work. We decided to go ahead and venture into town so that we could beat some of the traffic.
Didn’t work. Traffic is EVERYWHERE in Houston. Just FYI, in case you didn’t know 😉
We grabbed some breakfast and made our way to MD Anderson. Wow, what a place. We valet parked (which was nice) and found our way to the melanoma wing. There are people stationed everywhere to help patients find their way around, another plus.
Even though we arrived about an hour earlier than our appointment, we were quickly sent through the paperwork and admissions process. I realized my driver’s license is expired. Happy birthday to me… Whoops 🙂
Maybe another 10 minutes went by and we were being called to the back. Height, weight, temp, blood pressure, and we were in the exam room. “Effie” the nurse comes in and is very nice. My age (young :)) She tells me that I am very lucky that we found it so early and makes it sound like it is no big deal. I have mixed feelings about that. Yeah, it’s not a big deal for y’all, but it is 100% of my cancer experience so far, and it’s a pretty big deal for me.
She leaves and I have to put on the lovely, notorious, backless hospital gown. Good times. Nurse practitioner comes in. She is a petite, thin middle-aged women with a sweet smile. I’m instantly put at ease in her presence. She goes step by step on what having melanoma means to me and my body. She explains how some grow out and some grow down, but they are all growing and heading for the lymph nodes, where they can then spread throughout the rest of the body.
I have melanoma, so the least of my treatment is cutting it out. They have learned over the years that you can’t just cut out the spot itself. It will come back. In order to be absolutely sure you have ridden the body of the cancer, they must take 1 cm of healthy tissue from around the tumor. This ensures that no little iddy-biddy cancer cells that are left behind will grow back. Since it is circular cut that they will do, they also can’t just close it up. They will make an elliptical excision so that the skin can be stitched together to cover the hole. Something like this…
Which means a nice 3-4 inch battle scar on my leg for the rest of my life. But that beats dying, I suppose 😉
So, even if they don’t find anything else, I will have this surgery. It’s already booked.
My problem is that we don’t really KNOW anything about my little spot, yet. The doctors in Houston were not impressed with my report from Louisiana. They are waiting for their guys to do it again. To get a better idea of what is going on. We were hoping it would be done while we were there, but alas…. my luck got in the way. No report yet.
If the cells look like they are active and aggressive (metastasizing), I will have my sentinel lymph node checked by some nice radioactive fluid they inject into my leg, and it will be removed and tested to see if the cancer has made it there. If that is what they have to do… well, we are opening up a huge new stinky can of worms and I don’t want to address that if I don’t have to. We will wait for the pathology.
So that’s where I am at. Still waiting. Still not knowing. And it sucks.
I will go back to Houston on Nov. 17th for my lab tests and pre-op. Wait down there on the 18th, and have my surgery on the 19th. What a way to start Thanksgiving break! The surgery is outpatient but they will have to put me under. Sounds good to me. I have a feeling it’s going to hurt like a mother-gun for a while afterwards so I hope I get some good drugs. And I guess it’s best it is right before my break because I can only imagine how non-functional I would be going back to work afterwards.
As far has “how am I doing?”, I don’t know. Scared still. Pissed off because I don’t have time for all of this. It has taken over my brain and preoccupied all of my thoughts. Pissed off because of all the worry I am putting people through. Not the kind of attention that I respond well too.
But I guess I’m going to have to get over all of that.
I’ll let you know when I find out something. Anything.