To start I apologize for rambling on,,,
Last week I was diagnosed with Melanoma (nodular).
My wife has been pestering me to get a black mole on my side looked at,so off I went,as it was a health fair I had several doctors come look at it to give their opinion,and it was decided to have it removed A.S.A.P. Living at the bottom of the Florida has some disadvantages,namely the drive to Miami !!
The Dr. who initially saw me told me to call and she would take care of me,3 days and 31 stitches later the wide excision was done.then the wait for the Pathlab results (14 days),,the results were Clarks IV and Breslow of 3.1mm,and a summary of 2b malignant melanoma.This Friday I go back to Miami to the Sylvester Center to meet with an Oncologist to further discuss the next steps,,so my questions are wide ranging from how much is/does treatment cost(I have no insurance),as most of my research leads to the Sentinel Node Biopsy and the "blue"dye injection along with PET scan and possible M.R.I.
Being a typical Brit I expect the worst but hope for the best !!
BTW the wide excision,stitches etc was done by my new savior for FREE !!
Clinical trials ??
Whats Chemo like??
I am pretty fit (just completed P90X fitness course)so what dietary plans help (if any)??
So any suggestions/comments are greatly appreciated.
Wow - that's a bit of tough news to handle, isn't it? I know that a Breslow depth of 3.1mm seems really deep, but I have actually heard of people who have had 5mm and did not have the lymph nodes affected. With melanoma, anything can be possible.
Right now, you really need to concentrate on first things first. The next step is to get the SNB and see if, in fact, you do have any lymph nodes that are affected. If you do not, that could very well be the end of it. It really depends on what your Oncologist says. If your lymph nodes are affected, that will place you at stage III, and you will need to consider different options.
As far as cost? It can vary by state, by location, city vs rural. A doctor's office can usually put you into contact with agencies that might be able to offer assistance, especially if your treatment becomes very involved. When you speak to your Oncologist, ask about this. I'm sure s/he has heard this before. However, do not make cost your basis for care.
As far as diet, I found that after I was diagnosed with melanoma, I wanted to simply be healthy. I moved away from processed foods and started eating foods that were natural. There are some people who, once diagnosed with cancer, swear by eating a raw food diet or eating a vegetarian diet. Some say there is research to back this up, I don't know, as I've never looked that far into it. What I've figured out is that junk in equals junk out, so why put junk in to begin with? I would suggest you do what you feel comfortable with in your own skin and for your own family.
Now, for the truly bad news: there really isn't much out there for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Chemo really isn't an option. IL-2 does offer some positive results for some people - if they can tolerate the treatments. It is very dibilitating. There are quite a few clinical trials, and more crop up all the time. The big secret with melanoma is that research for this cancer is very much under-funded. It has never received the notoriety of, say, breast cancer, so it has not received the funding needed for research.
I don't mean to be so gloomy! YIKES! Please, take this one step at a time. I have met people who have been diagnosed with melanoma similar to you who have gone on and lived 10, 15, 20 years and longer! Talk to your Oncologist, ask LOTS of questions, and never forget: this is YOUR body. And we always look forward to having people share their journies here, as it can help other individuals.
Well it has been 16 months since the initial diagnosis,1 wide excision,3 sentinal lymph nodes in my left groin,2 moles (1 on my right arm,1 on the dead center of my back) later,I appear to be doing OK,,I guess,apart from lack of appetite occasionally,and the constant tired feeling after 1 p.m or thereabouts.
I go to see my Oncologist every 3 months and the same for my Dermatologist,blood-work and chest x-rays every 6 months,all at The Sylvester Center in sunny Miami !
Last month I developed a small lump (1 inch wide and 3 inches long)in my right groin area,which has grown a bit,,so off next week to the Oncologist I go,,,,jeez I hope it's a hernia !!