As the title says this blog is one man’s effort to make sense out of his journey fighting melanoma. I have enjoyed reading some of my fellow melanoma warriors’ blogs and thought it might be an interesting way to share what this journey has been like for me. If you find this interesting great, if not that’s great also. Selfishly this is more about me getting this out and moving on from being a cancer patient to being a cancer survivor.

Let’s clear up a few things. Yes, I know how to use spell check and no I don’t always use it. I majored in accounting, not english. I have always been a below average writer, which is why I find the therapeutic value of doing this surprising. I think for this blog to make any sense you pretty much have to go to the archive and start from the beginning which is titled “Life Is Good”

I am not a doctor or medial professional of any type. My blog is not endorsed by any medical professional or facility mentioned in it. Every decision I have made about my care was done after careful consultation with my medical team. Decisions I have made were right for me but should not in any instance be considered right for anybody else. I don't recommend taking medical advice from an accountant.

Key West

Key West

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving eve I got the call first from Dr. W.  The skin he had removed showed no signs of melanoma and he felt comfortable now that enough tissue has been removed around the original site and as far as he was concerned everything looked great.  I saw him a week later and he removed the bandages and pulled my stitches and I haven’t had to see him since.  Dr. M called later that afternoon and had some mixed news for me.  One of the nodes he had removed showed microscopic traces of melanoma.  This was mixed news because it was a very small amount and only in one node.  Of course any was more than I wanted but this now brought the question of what to do next.  There are a lot of statistical oddities about melanoma.  I was about to come face to face with one of them.  The recommended action when one has a positive test in the nodes is a procedure where they remove all the lymph nodes from the suspected area.  This is an invasive procedure and statistically people who have this procedure done don’t live any longer than people who don’t.  Dr. M was recommending that I have the procedure done.  By the power of Google I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to do it if the test came back positive.  Why subject myself to this if it wasn’t going to make me live longer?  I called my oncologist to get his opinion.  One of the things I like about him is I can always pick up the phone and call him.  I sometimes get to talk to him immediately or he always calls me back the same day.  He very strongly suggested I have this procedure done and thought I was being foolish if I didn’t.  I appreciated his directness but wasn’t convinced.  I called doctor M and we had about an hour discussion on Thanksgiving eve about all the studies I had read and how they collected the data and what it meant and what it didn’t mean.  I felt fortunate that he took this time with me.  I am sure he had plans on this evening that didn’t include discussing statistical analysis of patients who have had a lymphectomy procedure done with me.  You couldn’t tell however and I think if I had wanted to spend 5 hours talking about it he would have stayed on the phone with me.  It’s kind of funny in the end after over an hour of a statistics discussion he said to me that it boils down to this.  Cancer is bad, there is a high probability that since I had one positive node that I have more, and they should be removed.  Why would you leave cancer in your body knowingly?  I agreed and we scheduled the surgery for December 8th.  This journey was about to get much more difficult.  I wasn’t going to be able to hide this from my family anymore.  At this point only my older sister, my kids; my ex wife, two coworkers and the NG know about what I was going through.