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Author Topic: First ever melanoma fear  (Read 439 times)

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Offline mollyfin

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First ever melanoma fear
« on: May 05, 2014, 03:57:43 AM »
Is this a rite of passage here?  Melanoma is one thing I never worried about, until I realized that a mole I've always had that's always looked strange has started looking stranger. 

It's very dark compared to my other moles.  The edges are irregular, and there's a ring of light brown around the bottom edge that perfectly matches the weird shape of the mole.  It looks like a shadow. 

I've had this mole forever, and it's always been dark.  I've never looked too closely at it - it's always been there, and the size hasn't changed, but the shape and border have changed somewhat, and there's a new small dot next to it.  I'm terrified that it's become cancerous, the cancer has spread (because I have a giant lymph node under the arm the mole is on that my doctor is unconcerned about) and I'm going to die shortly.

I'm trying to do the sensible thing.  I'm going to call the dermatologist who removed my last scary-looking mole (smudgy blurred borders and irregular colors; totally benign) tomorrow and ask if I can get an appointment soon (okay, I plan on begging for an appointment soon - hopefully they can squeeze in someone who's worried about a dark, changing mole!)  She's one of the best dermatologists in my city and she was part of the treatment team for a coworker of my mother's, who did in fact have melanoma that had spread (last I heard she was doing well, though mom retired some years ago).  I'm trying to remind myself that I've had moles with messed-up borders before that weren't cancerous.  I'm trying to tell myself that if it were melanoma it probably would've changed more drastically.  And I'm trying to tell myself that panicking about it isn't helping anything anyway. 

Yeah, it's not helping.  All I see is a changed, irregular mole, with a new tiny dot by it, by a huge lymph node. 
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2014, 09:00:30 AM »
And now I've started fretting about the moles on my feet.  There's one that's been there for about two years - it's grown and lightened a bit since it showed up, but otherwise no big changes.  And there's one on the sole of my foot, which looks more like a round discoloration than an actual mole.  I'm waiting for the derm's office to open, but every time I get myself pulled together, I start worrying again. 
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Offline makeitcount

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2014, 09:35:45 AM »
Hi! I'm going through my first melanoma anxiety as well, as I'm sure you know from our other posts. I do think it's a rite of passage of some kind for HA sufferers! Haha.

I've been reading a lot about this stuff lately. The first one you described sounds to me like a halo nevi. They are not usually malignant, and it can sometimes happen when your body recognizes the mole as being abnormal for your skin and tries to fight it. That can sometimes be triggered by getting a sunburn where the mole is. Usually fine but all moles that make you uncomfortable should be checked out!

As for the small dot next to it, all I can tell you is on Friday I had a tiny mole removed that the doc was "concerned" about and it too had another spot, like a freckle, right next to it. The doc left the spot alone even though he was concerned about the mole beside it. So that may not be a sure fire sign of any kind of spreading. (:

The one on the sole of your foot is probably nothing either, but that's probably the one you should get checked out. Those are more uncommon and  your doc might feel more comfortable if he removes it and it doesn't have a chance to develop into anything.

You can at least rest assured that you're not alone! I'm losing it waiting for the results of my biopsies haha. We're all in this one together, it seems, because this is one of the few areas of medicine where something that looks scary can turn out to be fine, and something that looks fine can turn out to be scary! It psyches us out, I think. That fear of the unknown is what gets me!
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Offline Kershtums

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2014, 12:59:06 PM »
Hello there, I'm on a sort of rebound after a terrifying melanoma scare.

Im 24 and have only been suffering from the crippling anxiety for a few months but I know how the fear feels, and the constant checking, and researching, and convincing yourself. My dermatologist didnt even do a biopsy but after getting a second opinion I'm about 50% to the way of realizing that they are possibly right, being experts and all.  The spot was new, on the sole of my foot and fit all the descriptions of melanoma apart from diameter (was about 3.5mm).

I know how horrible it is, but you are never alone with this, even when I'm feeling like the only person in the world with these issues and fear when I'm trying to sleep at night, you're not alone. And its probably nothing! :)

Keep on keeping on x
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 06:24:47 PM »
Yeah, I never worried too much about melanoma until now because I thought it was easy to spot.  Then I googled.   :sprachlos020:  In this case, I'm not really sorry I did because it's good information to have - except for what my brain does with it.  I have a lot of weird spots I've been meaning to get checked out for a while.  Now of course I'm mad at myself for not doing it sooner, when I reacted like a normal person and thought "Huh, that's weird" instead of spiraling into a panic...but for some reason I always wait.

The one on my foot is a round spot that's slightly darker than the surrounding skin, not raised at all.  I used to have a normal mole in that area that went away, then this popped up.  Don't think it's the same place so I don't think it's a scar, but it never occurred to me to worry about it until now.  Well, I'm seeing the doctor Thursday so hopefully I'll know more then.  I thought melanoma was usually raised but I don't want to google that so I'll just hope I'm right.

This is a crappy time to be out of anti-anxiety medication, and my psychiatrist canceled on me today, so I won't have any for another week.  I was kind of counting on it...sigh.

Edit: oh for cripes's sake I just turned on the news to check the weather - and what's on but a story about a melanoma survivor telling us to stay out of the sun because melanoma is serious business!  *facedesk* 
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Offline firecracker777

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 11:02:41 AM »
I have the same kind of mole right now that I am having checked next week. Its a fairly round mole but has some shading off to the side of it. Was yours benign?
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Offline fishmanpa

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 02:11:10 PM »
As far as a right of passage? Perhaps. It seems that people read other posts and invariably end up worrying about the same thing. Case in point are the ebola posts. You'll see cycles of node posts, rabies, heart etc. It's the nature of the beast really.

Normal operating procedure is to have your GP take a look and/or a dermatologist but as with 99.9% of the fears, it turns out to be benign.

Positive thoughts
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"Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings in your life. Live. Love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest doesn't matter!."  King Solomon.

Offline mollyfin

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2014, 01:05:48 PM »
This is actually an old post of mine that got bumped - I did have my GP look at my moles while I was in for something else and he told me not to bother seeing a derm.  Hopefully your doctor will have the same response, firecracker :)  Mine hasn't changed much if at all since May so I assume it's nothing bad.
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Offline firecracker777

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2014, 01:27:55 PM »
Mine sounds pretty identical to yours so fingers crossed!!! I see my GP at 2 today and I go to the dermatologist next Thursday.

I actually had scheduled a dermatologist appt schedule back in August just to remove a skin tag I didn't want in my wedding pictures and was planning on having a full body check while i was there anyway. Things got messed up because of the referral process and I had to miss the appointment. We shall see!
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Offline partyonwayne

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2014, 12:46:03 AM »
I have a lot of moles and freckles and very fair skinned so I understand the concerns about melanoma. My dermatologist provided some cool advice. He said that he will be working and just notice a mole as well and he will say to himself "what a second? this mole looks different.." so he understood my concern about just noticing a mole (that I might have had for years).

He said to take a picture of it and then wait 30 days and then take another picture. Since we are in the digital age, he suggested to take a picture of all of your moles and just store it on your computer. Then take another set in another 30 days. He said for him it helps because you can notice any noticeable changes. Granted I know he has that little magnifier. But I had a mole that I was concerned about and he took a look at it under his magnifier and said he appears benign, however, that is when he  mentioned taking the picture. He took the picture and asked for me to come back in 30 days. Everything was fine. But I thought that was great advice.
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Offline firecracker777

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Re: First ever melanoma fear
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2014, 10:12:33 AM »
That is a really good idea. Especially for someone who has a lot. I have so many but I know theres a few certains that have always been there. 3 medium size ones by my neck, since I can see them in every picture! lol and the big one on my leg since it has always been so big.

I think after this appointment I am going to start taking pictures for both prevention and my own sanity. I may just let my husband take them and ask him to review them instead of me doing it. I think I will look and make something out of nothing.

Thanks for the advice! :)
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