Saturday, December 7, 2013

A cut for me is a good thing and moving on to the next step

I had an appointment to see my dermatologist yesterday.  I got a call from his office over the Thanksgiving holiday to tell me I was on a waiting list to see him for a routine 6-month melanoma follow-up appointment in February.  I told his nurse that would be fine but to please let him know I have been experiencing pain around my incision site.  I didn't realize that little comment would spark an immediate phone call by the doctor himself (which never happens with my HMO unless it's to tell you bad news) followed by a next-available visit with him.  What's basically been happening is that I have been having significant pain and tingling at the tip of my back scar from the cancer surgery and it had been happening all of a sudden so I was concerned.  He ended up looking at it and prescribing some steroids for me to help with the pain.  While I was there, we did my regular appointment so that  wouldn't need to wait until February.  That entails a full body scan.  It's a less than thrilling appointment because the doctor looks at you from head to toe, literally.  He found two moles that are "concerning" to him in addition to taking a biopsy from my back where a spot had grown in size and changed shape.  So now I have a portion of my back cut out a few inches above the surgery site and it huuuuurts. The way they do it when you get a skin biopsy is they give you a shot of a local numbing agent and then essentially take a blade and shave off the area.  The size he cut off my back is about the size of a thumbnail.  When the shot wears off, you're left with a lot of pain.  So that's been sent off to be evaluated.  Meanwhile, the two moles he found made him very silent when he was looking at them and told me to diligently watch them.  That didn't sound good.  However, I'm trying to stay as positive as possible and be guided by my faith.  I've had two other biopsies that ended up perfectly fine so I'm assuming this one will as well.  As for the other two moles he saw today, I don't want to think about worst case scenarios because, right now, they are just little moles.  With my skin type, I have dark freckles that make it hard to distinguish sometimes between that and a mole.  I do have to say that, with all of my experience in dealing with a dermatologist, I have a great respect for the profession.  When I was younger, I had the misinformed perception that all a dermatologist really did was give botox injections and maybe help with acne.  I couldn't be more wrong!  It was a dermatologist that saved my life - if he had not treated my melanoma as seriously as he did, I wouldn't be here today.  I'm so grateful for my wonderful doctor and his empathy with me.

In other news, I received a message from the Options program that I am moving forward towards the next step of the weight loss surgery process.  I have to go get lab work done now.  That includes give lots of vials of blood samples (someone told me it's over 20 vials but I have a hard time believing that's true), a urine sample, EKG and providing a stool sample.  That last part makes me less than thrilled but, whatever, I gotta do what I gotta do.  I'm really happy I can keep moving forward.  For some reason, I had myself convinced that they would reject me from my answers in the questionnaire.  I know it's silly, especially given I have co-morbidities that make me the perfect candidate for the gastric bypass, but I have to be honest that it was a concern of mine.  I have discovered how very much I want to pursue this surgery that any disappointment along the way, perceived or actual, affects me greatly.  I found a really great group on Facebook that is a great source of support.  If you're interested, search for "Gastric ByPass Surgery Stories".  There are about 5,000 people in the group and the only people that can see your posts are other members, not everyone on your Facebook friends list.  It's a really active group with great before/after pictures, advice and people sharing their experiences.  I have come to really understand how absolutely necessary positive support is for long-term success with the surgery.


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