So, I had a *little* scare a few weeks ago and I thought I would share my experiences with you.
It all started April 1. My youngest twin, Luke, had been referred to a plastic surgeon/dermatologist for a consult on a birthmark that had been on his belly since birth. Over the years, it has grown quite a bit, changed texture, changed color, etc. We had seen several derms over the years, but since our insurance had changed, it was time to find a new doctor. Our pediatrician referred us to this new doctor, Dr. C, to let her have a look. She took one look and immediately decided it needed to come off, so he had surgery earlier this year. Luckily, the pathology on the birthmark was clear. I was so impressed with her, I decided to check her out for myself. This all leads me to the office visit I had with her on April 1.
As she looked over a few spots that had been removed previously (see that post HERE), she mentioned that I shouldn't need a full body scan because I had been to my last doctor within the last 6 months. I looked at her puzzled and I think she immediately realized, I had NEVER had a full body scan. "You've never had a doctor look over your body for suspicious moles?" she asked. Nope. Never thought to ask for one, and the previous derms have never asked to do one, so I really had never even considered that this might be something of importance. Never mind that I have had 3 spots removed over the last 3 years.
She immediately told me to disrobe and for all you ladies out there, well...let's just say I wasn't "prepared" to get naked. But I did. And she found 5 spots that "she really didn't like the looks of" She went on to discuss melanoma, how she wanted them off ASAP and proceeded to book me on April 14 to have them cut off. I left the appointment feeling uneasy. How had I not realized the spots didn't look "normal"....why had I never thought about having a doctor examine the rest of my body? I called J and sobbed to him, but then quickly composed myself as I realized that God was just as much in control at that moment as he was before she identified those 5 spots. Oh, and for those of you that were wondering: the reason they were "weird" is that they aren't raised like a "normal" mole, the color is dark and inconsistant throughout, and they are not perfectly round...in fact, they appeared like a blot of ink.
J and I drove in silence to the office on the 14th. I think we were both a little more nervous than we let on, especially because I knew the doctor was not normally in the office that day, but she had come in specifically to remove these spots. When I arrived, the nurse let us know that our insurance would only cover 3 spots to be removed at one time and Dr. C had decided that the two on my upper back and one on my belly were the most important to remove. The nurse applied the numbing cream and we waited for Dr. C to arrive (she had been in surgery all morning).
The procedures weren't that bad. I'm sure the numbing cream helped. J sat on the chair across the room and admitted later that he tried not to look as she put needles in me to numb the spots. He said he glanced my way long enough to see a bloody stitch coming up and decided that was all he needed to see. I left nice and numb with a promise from the doctor that I would get a call with the results as soon as she got them. I came home and surfed the net. Bad idea. Those spots DID look like the spots they showed on melanoma sites. I stopped surfing the net. I did talk to two friends on the phone who are both melanoma survivors. Both were AMAZING and gave me all the info I needed to not feel so scared of a diagnosis.
Finally, on Tuesday, I got the call from the doctor. No Melanoma. I felt like I let out enough air to fill my lungs for an eternity. I don't think I realized until that moment how much I had subconciously worried. The bad news? They are dysplastic which means that aren't normal. The worse news? On one of the spots, they didn't get "clear margins" which means they didn't get it all and in her opinion, it would have turned into melanoma, so I have to go back May 14th to get more of that area removed. She is also going to cut out the other two spots that day. She feels confident that they will come back the same as these last three, but it's important to go ahead and get them off before they do get funky.
I guess the reason I am typing this is that I want people reading this to be more proactive than I was. If you have a spot that looks odd, go to a doctor and get it checked out. If you need one in Nashville, shoot me a message...I think Dr. C is great and would be happy to pass on her number. A big thank you to those of you that knew about this and were praying for us...we felt it and that is the only reason that I was so calm in this whole process!