So, in case you missed it at the party, I had a spot cut off my arm that turned out to be melanoma - skin cancer, and not one of the cut-it-off-and-fuhgeddaboutit kinds. Now, all indications are that we got it all off, and that it was a tiny, early cancer, so I'm definitely on the better end of the scale.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
But, this is melanoma, and you don't mess around with melanoma. Unlike a carcinoma or squamus, a melanoma can shed cells and spread. So here's what I get to do next Thursday: I get a blue-dyed radioactive tracer injected into the spot. After a couple of hours, they take an x-ray and see where that ends up in my lymphatic system.
Then I trundled off to the operating room, presumably in one of those getups that leaves my butt crack hanging out. I get a general anesthetic. On my forearm, they make a football-shaped cutout about an inch wide and a couple inches long, because they want a one centimeter margin of clean tissue cut away from the melanoma site. That'll be a nice line o' stitches, there.
After that, they get out a Geiger counter and use that, the blue dye, and the X-rays from earlier to locate the lymph nodes where the tracer went - presumably in my armpit. This would be the gateway that melanoma cells would have to pass through to get to the rest of me. Those nodes get cut out and sent off to pathology. If they come up clear, with no signs of cancer cells, then I'm good. If not, well, it's off to the cancer specialists for further action (presumably some sort of chemotherapy).
After all that, I still have to start going to a dermatologist to have all my spots, moles, freckles, and skin tags mapped and checked for changes every year. And I'll have a follow up with an oncologist somewhere in there, too, 'cause one way or another cancer's part of my life - once you have it, you're more susceptible to it.
At best, this is a huge and expensive pain in the ass (well, arm and armpit, I guess). At worst, it's... well, put it this way - if all the tests come up clear, I can honestly say that Kirsten, who was the driving force in getting that spot removed, saved my life. That's pretty cool, but I'd just as soon not have had the need to have my life saved.
So, moral of the story! Simple, short, and very to-the-point, and at the first team ride I'll have a lovely pile of bandages for emphasis:
WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN.
Posted by did at 12:36 PM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Just a few short days until we officially kick off our 6th Ride season! By now, you should have received the Evite to the party this Saturday, March 13. If you didn't, contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org for all the details.
Arrival is around 6:00pm, please bring a dish to pass and your beverages of choice. Plenty of room and activities for the kids, so bring the herd!
Details and directions on the Evite page. Let me know if you need info!
Posted by Nicole at 4:10 PM
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Follow the links for more information.
Also looking for volunteers for the Family Fun day from 9:00am until 12:00pm. Contribution to your ride account will be comparable to working at the Van Andel but no $1 beer or hot dogs.
See you there!
Posted by Chris R at 1:10 PM