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5th surgery in a year, head melanoma

Forums General Melanoma Community 5th surgery in a year, head melanoma

  • Post
    TracyLee
    Participant

      Hello,

      I have a scalp graft that was successful last May. Since then I've had 2 recurrences and 2 pinch graft surgeries. I'm now having a scalp resection to cover the bald spot, as I need radiation. I've also got nodes back in my neck, despite a neck dissection last June.

      Hello,

      I have a scalp graft that was successful last May. Since then I've had 2 recurrences and 2 pinch graft surgeries. I'm now having a scalp resection to cover the bald spot, as I need radiation. I've also got nodes back in my neck, despite a neck dissection last June.

      I'm so discouraged! For whatever reason, this surgery next Monday is bothering me more than any of the others, including the original graft which was no fun whatsoever. I'll have 2 surgeons on Monday: plastic surgeon working on my scalp, and my regular oncologist doing bumps under my scalp and the neck nodes.

      Everything has spiraled down so quickly that I can barely breathe. I'm going today for an ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy of my neck (to confirm what they all suspect). I can't find much info about what to expect on the ultrasound, other than it will take 2 hours.

      Has anyone done radiation after head grafts? What do I need to do to prepare myself? I work full time, and shudder at the time I'm going to miss from work once I start radiation.

      I'm still Stage III, so I guess that is a ray of sunshine in a gloomy outlook.

      Thanks,

      TracyLee

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        Terra
        Participant

          I'm sorry I can't respond to your upcoming surgery and radiation except to say I hope it goes well and I know that feeling of things spiraling down and not being able to breathe.  One day at a tim e is so cliche, but what else can you do.  I'm sure others will let you know what to expect. Thinking of you.

          Terra

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          Terra
          Participant

            I'm sorry I can't respond to your upcoming surgery and radiation except to say I hope it goes well and I know that feeling of things spiraling down and not being able to breathe.  One day at a tim e is so cliche, but what else can you do.  I'm sure others will let you know what to expect. Thinking of you.

            Terra

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            Sharyn
            Participant

              Hi TracyLee,

              I haven't had a scapl resection, but I have had a craniotomy and brain radiation, both whole brain and SRS targeted. If you're worried about pain from the radiation, then don't! Radiation has to be the easiest, most relaxing treatment there is. Granted, the thought of what they're doing is scary, but seriously, you just lie down on the bed, they line up the rays, and shoot for however many seconds or minutes your dose is. You do nothing, you feel nothing, then you leave and go home, or back to work, or shopping — whatever you want to do. Actually, it's probably a good thing that they're radiating, just to give those stobborn mel cells an extra kick in the pants.  So rather than worry, try to be thankful for the treatment you are getting, and focus on how well you'll feel when it's all over. Try to stay positive. :>)

              Hugs

              Sharyn, Stage IV

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              Sharyn
              Participant

                Hi TracyLee,

                I haven't had a scapl resection, but I have had a craniotomy and brain radiation, both whole brain and SRS targeted. If you're worried about pain from the radiation, then don't! Radiation has to be the easiest, most relaxing treatment there is. Granted, the thought of what they're doing is scary, but seriously, you just lie down on the bed, they line up the rays, and shoot for however many seconds or minutes your dose is. You do nothing, you feel nothing, then you leave and go home, or back to work, or shopping — whatever you want to do. Actually, it's probably a good thing that they're radiating, just to give those stobborn mel cells an extra kick in the pants.  So rather than worry, try to be thankful for the treatment you are getting, and focus on how well you'll feel when it's all over. Try to stay positive. :>)

                Hugs

                Sharyn, Stage IV

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                Carmon in NM
                Participant

                  Hi TracyLee – I'm so very sorry you are going through so much! I've only had gamma knife and as was already said, it was incredibly easy with a little fatigue as the only side effect. I'm heading in for surgery too this month and I know the anticipation can be so hard to deal with. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

                  Carmon in NM Stabe 3b 9/2008, Stage 4 6/2010 brain and adrenal mets

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                  Carmon in NM
                  Participant

                    Hi TracyLee – I'm so very sorry you are going through so much! I've only had gamma knife and as was already said, it was incredibly easy with a little fatigue as the only side effect. I'm heading in for surgery too this month and I know the anticipation can be so hard to deal with. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

                    Carmon in NM Stabe 3b 9/2008, Stage 4 6/2010 brain and adrenal mets

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                      TracyLee
                      Participant

                        Carmon,

                         

                        I'm sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery.  I know if I NEVER am in a hospital again it will be too soon!

                        Do you mind telling me what you have to have done? My scalp re-section was truly a medical piece of engineering, and I had the best surgeon. Virtually no pain, how awesome is that?!

                        Best wishes,

                         

                        TracyLee Stage 3c

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                        TracyLee
                        Participant

                          Carmon,

                           

                          I'm sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery.  I know if I NEVER am in a hospital again it will be too soon!

                          Do you mind telling me what you have to have done? My scalp re-section was truly a medical piece of engineering, and I had the best surgeon. Virtually no pain, how awesome is that?!

                          Best wishes,

                           

                          TracyLee Stage 3c

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                        Carol Taylor
                        Participant

                          Hi TracyLee,

                          I can't speak to the medical part either. Just want to let you know I'm holding you in prayer.  I'm stage 3b but mine was in upper left arm & sentinel node under that arm.  Nothing as major as yours.

                          Lord, in Your mercy, hold TracyLee through this time. Ease her fears and enable her to breathe. Speak Your peace to her heart and soul. Let her feel Your presence and help her take comfort in knowing that You can handle this even if and when she can't. She is not alone. May Your rod and Your staff comfort her, still her, and change her gloom to hope. Thank you, God. Amen.

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                          Carol Taylor
                          Participant

                            Hi TracyLee,

                            I can't speak to the medical part either. Just want to let you know I'm holding you in prayer.  I'm stage 3b but mine was in upper left arm & sentinel node under that arm.  Nothing as major as yours.

                            Lord, in Your mercy, hold TracyLee through this time. Ease her fears and enable her to breathe. Speak Your peace to her heart and soul. Let her feel Your presence and help her take comfort in knowing that You can handle this even if and when she can't. She is not alone. May Your rod and Your staff comfort her, still her, and change her gloom to hope. Thank you, God. Amen.

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                            CKasper
                            Participant

                              I had a brain tumor in 2006, but did not have surgery until 2007, I was just too darn weak from two previous surgeries and INF therapy. 

                              The tumor was about the size of a quarter and the surgery was somewhat successful, a little was left behind because it was attached to a major vessel so if it comes back i'm told the next step is radiation, which I can tell you I will not do.

                              Best of luck

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                              CKasper
                              Participant

                                I had a brain tumor in 2006, but did not have surgery until 2007, I was just too darn weak from two previous surgeries and INF therapy. 

                                The tumor was about the size of a quarter and the surgery was somewhat successful, a little was left behind because it was attached to a major vessel so if it comes back i'm told the next step is radiation, which I can tell you I will not do.

                                Best of luck

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                                nicoli
                                Participant

                                  Hi TracyLee,  I too have scalp melanoma. Diagnosed December 2009 and 2 recurrances since. My skin graft was removed and a "flap" was done March 4th. Huge incision all over my scalp. I am starting radiation tomorrow to hopefully kill the remaining cells in that  area.

                                  While I certainly won't tell you not to worry about the melanoma, you shouldn't worry too much about the radiation. The hair follicles are killed by radiation and you will be permanantly bald in that area. About half of my head will be bald in a few weeks. But better than dead.

                                  The side effects include a sunburn (mine will be 2nd degree) and some fatigue. It will be inconvenient going to the cancer center for 1/2 hour, every day, five days a week for several weeks (mine is 6 weeks). Fighting cancer can be a full time job.

                                  You do have to wear a horrible "mask" with which you can't see or speak during the radiation and I really hate that. But, once again, better than dead.

                                  I was concerned about bone and brain damage from the radiation but the technology is able to arc the radiation over your scalp so it doesn't hit the bone and brain so much.

                                  I have had surgery, biochemo and now radiation. I expect radiation to be by far the easiest of the three.

                                  Nicki, Stage 3b

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                                  nicoli
                                  Participant

                                    Hi TracyLee,  I too have scalp melanoma. Diagnosed December 2009 and 2 recurrances since. My skin graft was removed and a "flap" was done March 4th. Huge incision all over my scalp. I am starting radiation tomorrow to hopefully kill the remaining cells in that  area.

                                    While I certainly won't tell you not to worry about the melanoma, you shouldn't worry too much about the radiation. The hair follicles are killed by radiation and you will be permanantly bald in that area. About half of my head will be bald in a few weeks. But better than dead.

                                    The side effects include a sunburn (mine will be 2nd degree) and some fatigue. It will be inconvenient going to the cancer center for 1/2 hour, every day, five days a week for several weeks (mine is 6 weeks). Fighting cancer can be a full time job.

                                    You do have to wear a horrible "mask" with which you can't see or speak during the radiation and I really hate that. But, once again, better than dead.

                                    I was concerned about bone and brain damage from the radiation but the technology is able to arc the radiation over your scalp so it doesn't hit the bone and brain so much.

                                    I have had surgery, biochemo and now radiation. I expect radiation to be by far the easiest of the three.

                                    Nicki, Stage 3b

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