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Just Diagnosed… Little Scared

Forums General Melanoma Community Just Diagnosed… Little Scared

  • Post
    kpcollins31
    Participant

      I am 37, the father of three young boys, and the sole provider for my family. I was just diagnosed with melanoma on Friday (2/18/2011) and am wading through all this new information. It is intimidating and frightening. I had a growth on my forarm… was large and unsightly but the doctor was not concerned. Initial diagnosis was keratoacanthoma. Now I get this report on a malignant melanoma… Breslow thickness >8mm, Clark level V, ulceration present, mitotic rate of 7. All Greek until I start doing some reading. Now I am almost wishing I had not read anything.

      I am 37, the father of three young boys, and the sole provider for my family. I was just diagnosed with melanoma on Friday (2/18/2011) and am wading through all this new information. It is intimidating and frightening. I had a growth on my forarm… was large and unsightly but the doctor was not concerned. Initial diagnosis was keratoacanthoma. Now I get this report on a malignant melanoma… Breslow thickness >8mm, Clark level V, ulceration present, mitotic rate of 7. All Greek until I start doing some reading. Now I am almost wishing I had not read anything. Still a little shocked and scared. I am scheduled for a sentinal lymph node biopsy in a week on my birthday of all days. Hoping for the best present ever which would be a negative result.

      Happy to have found this forum in my reading. Wish me luck.

      Kevin

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    • Replies
        Vermont_Donna
        Participant

          Hi Kevin,

          You came to the right place for supprt and information. You will be staged after the SNB (sentinel node biopsy). It is IMPERATIVE that you seek care from a MELANOMA ONCOLOGIST. Other oncologists do not know this disease as well. All of us have been where you are….newly discovered to have melanoma, getting staged, asking questions, wondering about treatments, prognosis and if we are going to make it. You will see that even with melanoma you can live your life, its just going to be different now, lots more doctor appointments, skin checks, possible treatment, etc. Just live each day to your fullest, make a list of questions, dont get too bogged down in STATISTICS, as we all here can blwo those statistics to pieces!

          Good luck, keep coming back here,

          Vermont_Donna, stage 3a,stable after 4 infusions of Ipi (and many other previous treatments)

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            Vermont_Donna
            Participant

              oops, didnt mean to post as anonymous….the above post is by Vermont_Donna

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              Vermont_Donna
              Participant

                oops, didnt mean to post as anonymous….the above post is by Vermont_Donna

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                csmith8431
                Participant
                  Vermont_Donna do you have any recommendations on melanoma oncologist in Vermont?

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                  csmith8431
                  Participant
                    Vermont_Donna do you have any recommendations on melanoma oncologist in Vermont?

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                    csmith8431
                    Participant
                      Vermont_Donna do you have any recommendations on melanoma oncologist in Vermont?

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                    Vermont_Donna
                    Participant

                      Hi Kevin,

                      You came to the right place for supprt and information. You will be staged after the SNB (sentinel node biopsy). It is IMPERATIVE that you seek care from a MELANOMA ONCOLOGIST. Other oncologists do not know this disease as well. All of us have been where you are….newly discovered to have melanoma, getting staged, asking questions, wondering about treatments, prognosis and if we are going to make it. You will see that even with melanoma you can live your life, its just going to be different now, lots more doctor appointments, skin checks, possible treatment, etc. Just live each day to your fullest, make a list of questions, dont get too bogged down in STATISTICS, as we all here can blwo those statistics to pieces!

                      Good luck, keep coming back here,

                      Vermont_Donna, stage 3a,stable after 4 infusions of Ipi (and many other previous treatments)

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                      sharmon
                      Participant

                        Hi Kevin, 

                        You have found a great place to be.  There are many people here who are going through what you are and we all felt the same way.  We are here to help in anyway we can.,  Ask questions and be a part of your treatment decisions.  Read and learn as much as you can and don't forget we have all been where you are.  There are so many more treatment optionst than there was a few years ago.  So heres wishing and hoping for a good result on the next test.

                         

                        Sharmon.

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                        sharmon
                        Participant

                          Hi Kevin, 

                          You have found a great place to be.  There are many people here who are going through what you are and we all felt the same way.  We are here to help in anyway we can.,  Ask questions and be a part of your treatment decisions.  Read and learn as much as you can and don't forget we have all been where you are.  There are so many more treatment optionst than there was a few years ago.  So heres wishing and hoping for a good result on the next test.

                           

                          Sharmon.

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                          sharmon
                          Participant

                            Hi Kevin, 

                            You have found a great place to be.  There are many people here who are going through what you are and we all felt the same way.  We are here to help in anyway we can.,  Ask questions and be a part of your treatment decisions.  Read and learn as much as you can and don't forget we have all been where you are.  There are so many more treatment optionst than there was a few years ago.  So heres wishing and hoping for a good result on the next test.

                             

                            Sharmon.

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                            sharmon
                            Participant

                              Hi Kevin, 

                              You have found a great place to be.  There are many people here who are going through what you are and we all felt the same way.  We are here to help in anyway we can.,  Ask questions and be a part of your treatment decisions.  Read and learn as much as you can and don't forget we have all been where you are.  There are so many more treatment optionst than there was a few years ago.  So heres wishing and hoping for a good result on the next test.

                               

                              Sharmon.

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                              TAC
                              Participant

                                You have come to the right place so…..let us help you!!! There is a wealth of experiences here so ask your questions and if you don't know the questions to ask, we'll help. The first advice is great…get to a melanoma specialist…not every oncologist is specialized in melanoma. Tell us where you live…what the next steps are that have been proposed for you….etc. There are many major melanoma centers around the US that you can contact….where you live will help us to direct you to one of them. Google Sentinel Node Biopsy and read and become informed…It is a diagnostic tool to determine next steps for you…maybe surgery followed by clinical trials , etc. Breathe deeply, you have arrived at a special place with so many who have walked in your shoes….we'll be here, always..so let us help.

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                                TAC
                                Participant

                                  You have come to the right place so…..let us help you!!! There is a wealth of experiences here so ask your questions and if you don't know the questions to ask, we'll help. The first advice is great…get to a melanoma specialist…not every oncologist is specialized in melanoma. Tell us where you live…what the next steps are that have been proposed for you….etc. There are many major melanoma centers around the US that you can contact….where you live will help us to direct you to one of them. Google Sentinel Node Biopsy and read and become informed…It is a diagnostic tool to determine next steps for you…maybe surgery followed by clinical trials , etc. Breathe deeply, you have arrived at a special place with so many who have walked in your shoes….we'll be here, always..so let us help.

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                                  MichaelFL
                                  Participant

                                    Hi, and welcome to the forum no one wants to be a member of by choice. Sorry you have to be here, but this is a good place to be to ask questions.

                                    If you do not mind me asking, where are you being seen? Is it a melanoma center of excellence? Due to the Breslow depth and some other pathology factors you mention, a melanoma center should be considered.

                                    You also say you are scheduled for a SNB (sentinel node biopsy) soon. Is it safe to say that a WLE (wide local excision)will be performed right after the SNB as well? A SNB should be performed before a WLE as to not disturb the lymph node drainage path.

                                    Michael stage 1b

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                                      kpcollins31
                                      Participant

                                        Thanks for all the immediate support. I am located in upstate NY in the Albany area (Niskayuna, NY to be exact). So far, I have only seen my primary care physician and a plastic surgeon who was going to perform the wide local excision. It was the plastic surgeon who immediately referred me for the sentinel node biopsy as he indicated this should be done prior to the wider excision. The followup for the SNB is at Albany Medical Center with a Dr. Ankesh Nigam. It looks like he is in the general surgery group but his specialy is surgical oncology… not specific to melanoma though.

                                        I think the intent was to do it very quickly, but this particular doctor was out of town this coming week and they believed it could wait until the following week. If anyone knows of a melanoma center of excellence in this area, I would be very interested. At this point, I have a much better idea of where to take my car if it has a problem vs where to take myself smiley.

                                        Thanks,

                                        Kevin

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                                        MichaelFL
                                        Participant

                                          Here are the melanoma centers in NEW YORK:

                                          Cancer Research Center
                                          Albert Einstein College of Medicine
                                          Chanin Building, Room 209
                                          1300 Morris Park Avenue
                                          Bronx, New York 10461
                                          (718) 430-2302
                                          David Goldman, M.D., Director

                                          Roswell Park Cancer Institute
                                          Elm & Carlton Streets
                                          Buffalo, New York 14263-0001
                                          (716) 845-5772
                                          David C. Hohn, M.D., President & CEO
                                          Nathalie Zeitouni, MD (Dermatology)

                                          Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
                                          P.O. Box 100
                                          Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724
                                          (516) 367-8383
                                          Bruce W. Stillman, Ph.D., Director

                                          NYU Cancer Institute
                                          New York University Medical Center
                                          550 First Avenue
                                          New York, New York 10016
                                          (212) 263-8950
                                          Steven J. Burakoff, M.D., Director

                                          Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
                                          1275 York Avenue
                                          New York, New York 10021
                                          (212) 639-2000 or (800) 525-2225
                                          Harold E. Varmus, M.D., President & CEO
                                          Allan Halpern, MD, Chief, Dermatology

                                          Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
                                          Columbia University Medical Center
                                          1130 St. Nicholas Avenue
                                          11Suite 201
                                          New York, New York 10032
                                          (212) 851-4680
                                          Riccardo Dalla-Favera, M.D., Director

                                          James P. Wilmot Cancer Center
                                          University of Rochester Medical Center
                                          601 Elmwood Ave. Box 704
                                          Rochester NY 14642
                                          (866) 4-WILMOT
                                          (585) 275-5830

                                          Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
                                          New York-Presbyterian Hospital
                                          161 Fort Washington Avenue
                                          11th Floor, Room 1153, New York, NY 10032
                                          (877) 697-9355 (1-877-NYP-WELL)
                                          (800) 227-2762 (Physician Referral)

                                          Michael
                                           

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                                          MichaelFL
                                          Participant

                                            Here are the melanoma centers in NEW YORK:

                                            Cancer Research Center
                                            Albert Einstein College of Medicine
                                            Chanin Building, Room 209
                                            1300 Morris Park Avenue
                                            Bronx, New York 10461
                                            (718) 430-2302
                                            David Goldman, M.D., Director

                                            Roswell Park Cancer Institute
                                            Elm & Carlton Streets
                                            Buffalo, New York 14263-0001
                                            (716) 845-5772
                                            David C. Hohn, M.D., President & CEO
                                            Nathalie Zeitouni, MD (Dermatology)

                                            Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
                                            P.O. Box 100
                                            Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724
                                            (516) 367-8383
                                            Bruce W. Stillman, Ph.D., Director

                                            NYU Cancer Institute
                                            New York University Medical Center
                                            550 First Avenue
                                            New York, New York 10016
                                            (212) 263-8950
                                            Steven J. Burakoff, M.D., Director

                                            Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
                                            1275 York Avenue
                                            New York, New York 10021
                                            (212) 639-2000 or (800) 525-2225
                                            Harold E. Varmus, M.D., President & CEO
                                            Allan Halpern, MD, Chief, Dermatology

                                            Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
                                            Columbia University Medical Center
                                            1130 St. Nicholas Avenue
                                            11Suite 201
                                            New York, New York 10032
                                            (212) 851-4680
                                            Riccardo Dalla-Favera, M.D., Director

                                            James P. Wilmot Cancer Center
                                            University of Rochester Medical Center
                                            601 Elmwood Ave. Box 704
                                            Rochester NY 14642
                                            (866) 4-WILMOT
                                            (585) 275-5830

                                            Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
                                            New York-Presbyterian Hospital
                                            161 Fort Washington Avenue
                                            11th Floor, Room 1153, New York, NY 10032
                                            (877) 697-9355 (1-877-NYP-WELL)
                                            (800) 227-2762 (Physician Referral)

                                            Michael
                                             

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                                            kpcollins31
                                            Participant

                                              Thanks for all the immediate support. I am located in upstate NY in the Albany area (Niskayuna, NY to be exact). So far, I have only seen my primary care physician and a plastic surgeon who was going to perform the wide local excision. It was the plastic surgeon who immediately referred me for the sentinel node biopsy as he indicated this should be done prior to the wider excision. The followup for the SNB is at Albany Medical Center with a Dr. Ankesh Nigam. It looks like he is in the general surgery group but his specialy is surgical oncology… not specific to melanoma though.

                                              I think the intent was to do it very quickly, but this particular doctor was out of town this coming week and they believed it could wait until the following week. If anyone knows of a melanoma center of excellence in this area, I would be very interested. At this point, I have a much better idea of where to take my car if it has a problem vs where to take myself smiley.

                                              Thanks,

                                              Kevin

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                                            MichaelFL
                                            Participant

                                              Hi, and welcome to the forum no one wants to be a member of by choice. Sorry you have to be here, but this is a good place to be to ask questions.

                                              If you do not mind me asking, where are you being seen? Is it a melanoma center of excellence? Due to the Breslow depth and some other pathology factors you mention, a melanoma center should be considered.

                                              You also say you are scheduled for a SNB (sentinel node biopsy) soon. Is it safe to say that a WLE (wide local excision)will be performed right after the SNB as well? A SNB should be performed before a WLE as to not disturb the lymph node drainage path.

                                              Michael stage 1b

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                                              lhaley
                                              Participant

                                                Kevin,

                                                I'm sorry you've had to join us.  I agree with all that has been said about getting to a melanoma specialist.  Since you live in Albany you might also want to consider going to the Boston area.  We have another poster that goes to Beth Israel which is part of Harvard's medical system.  Also Boston Mass has a very well known melanoma program. 

                                                You are in the scariest part of the journey. Gathering knowledge, and the waiting.  Second opinions is the norm in melanoma world. Your Doctors not only will expect it but many will suggest it!  I personally have had all of my pathology read at more than one institution.  I travel to my melanoma specialist but have a local oncologist also.

                                                Let us know how the SNB goes, wish it wasn't on your birthday!! 

                                                Linda

                                                Stage IV since 06 

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                                                lhaley
                                                Participant

                                                  Kevin,

                                                  I'm sorry you've had to join us.  I agree with all that has been said about getting to a melanoma specialist.  Since you live in Albany you might also want to consider going to the Boston area.  We have another poster that goes to Beth Israel which is part of Harvard's medical system.  Also Boston Mass has a very well known melanoma program. 

                                                  You are in the scariest part of the journey. Gathering knowledge, and the waiting.  Second opinions is the norm in melanoma world. Your Doctors not only will expect it but many will suggest it!  I personally have had all of my pathology read at more than one institution.  I travel to my melanoma specialist but have a local oncologist also.

                                                  Let us know how the SNB goes, wish it wasn't on your birthday!! 

                                                  Linda

                                                  Stage IV since 06 

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                                                  jim Breitfeller
                                                  Participant

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Kevin,

                                                    Just to let you know, I am from Upstate NY (Rochester),

                                                    Your best bet for Melanoma Specialist would be Sloan Kettering.

                                                     

                                                    Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD
                                                    Director, Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, Dept of Medicine
                                                     

                                                    Associate Attending Physician, Melanoma-Sarcoma Service
                                                    Associate Director, LudwigCenterfor Cancer Immunotherapy
                                                    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
                                                    1275 York Avenue, Room Z-1462
                                                    New York, NY 10021
                                                    Phone: +1 646 888 2395
                                                    e-mail: [email protected]

                                                    If you need someone to help you through the Melanoma Maze just contact me  through facebook or

                                                    Melanoma Missionary

                                                    http://melanomamissionary.blogspot.com/

                                                    Just Diagnosed

                                                    http://www.box.net/shared/c8yuko9a28

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                                                    jim Breitfeller
                                                    Participant

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      Kevin,

                                                      Just to let you know, I am from Upstate NY (Rochester),

                                                      Your best bet for Melanoma Specialist would be Sloan Kettering.

                                                       

                                                      Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD
                                                      Director, Immunotherapy Clinical Trials, Dept of Medicine
                                                       

                                                      Associate Attending Physician, Melanoma-Sarcoma Service
                                                      Associate Director, LudwigCenterfor Cancer Immunotherapy
                                                      Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
                                                      1275 York Avenue, Room Z-1462
                                                      New York, NY 10021
                                                      Phone: +1 646 888 2395
                                                      e-mail: [email protected]

                                                      If you need someone to help you through the Melanoma Maze just contact me  through facebook or

                                                      Melanoma Missionary

                                                      http://melanomamissionary.blogspot.com/

                                                      Just Diagnosed

                                                      http://www.box.net/shared/c8yuko9a28

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                                                      Phil S
                                                      Participant

                                                        Kevin     You have been given some great advice here and good references for melanoma doctors.  We also live in upstate NY (not too far from you, in Ballston Lake) and my husband who was diagnosed last Jan. 2010, goes to Dana Farber in Boston and see Dr Hodi and Dr Russell there. We have heard wonderful things about Sloan Kettering, but Boston was a better match for us.  My husband had his initial surgery at Abany Medical Center and we have a great local doctor in Saratoga, but we really wanted to be followed by a melanoma specialist.  This is a difficult time for you, adjusting to your diagnosis, and awaiting the next step, and then waiting the biopsy report.  But things will all calm down soon, and you will feel better about your situation after you have lined up a melanoma doctor.  Take Care!!

                                                        Valerie (Phil's wife)

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                                                        Phil S
                                                        Participant

                                                          Kevin     You have been given some great advice here and good references for melanoma doctors.  We also live in upstate NY (not too far from you, in Ballston Lake) and my husband who was diagnosed last Jan. 2010, goes to Dana Farber in Boston and see Dr Hodi and Dr Russell there. We have heard wonderful things about Sloan Kettering, but Boston was a better match for us.  My husband had his initial surgery at Abany Medical Center and we have a great local doctor in Saratoga, but we really wanted to be followed by a melanoma specialist.  This is a difficult time for you, adjusting to your diagnosis, and awaiting the next step, and then waiting the biopsy report.  But things will all calm down soon, and you will feel better about your situation after you have lined up a melanoma doctor.  Take Care!!

                                                          Valerie (Phil's wife)

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                                                          kbc123
                                                          Participant

                                                            Hi Kevin –  Obviously you can see you are not alone.  I just had wide excision and sentinal lymph node biopsy a week ago Thursday.  My "melanoma madness" started the first week of January.  I know how you are feeling.  I have three kids myself and 42 yrs old.  This is a scary time for you but do know you are getting all of this VERY IMPORTANT information right from here.  The people you are hearing from do know their stuff, they are goin' thru it. 

                                                            Take all the advise you can get from here.  My next stop is either University of Penn or Sloan in NY. I am in New Jersey (and that is happening whether the results are fabulous or not so fabulous.  I want to try to be a step ahead if I can!

                                                            God Bless and hoping for good news from you.

                                                            Kathy (stage who knows as of yet?) :)

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                                                              kpcollins31
                                                              Participant

                                                                Thanks for all the great information and support. It definitely helps to know I am not alone in dealing with this.

                                                                Kevin

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                                                                kpcollins31
                                                                Participant

                                                                  Thanks for all the great information and support. It definitely helps to know I am not alone in dealing with this.

                                                                  Kevin

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                                                                kbc123
                                                                Participant

                                                                  Hi Kevin –  Obviously you can see you are not alone.  I just had wide excision and sentinal lymph node biopsy a week ago Thursday.  My "melanoma madness" started the first week of January.  I know how you are feeling.  I have three kids myself and 42 yrs old.  This is a scary time for you but do know you are getting all of this VERY IMPORTANT information right from here.  The people you are hearing from do know their stuff, they are goin' thru it. 

                                                                  Take all the advise you can get from here.  My next stop is either University of Penn or Sloan in NY. I am in New Jersey (and that is happening whether the results are fabulous or not so fabulous.  I want to try to be a step ahead if I can!

                                                                  God Bless and hoping for good news from you.

                                                                  Kathy (stage who knows as of yet?) :)

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                                                                  Rydell
                                                                  Participant

                                                                    I was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma in January 2011. This is all so overwhelming. I am currently on Temodar and just found out I tested positive for the B-RAF mutation.

                                                                    Anyway, hope you had a nice birthday and your biopsy went well!

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                                                                    Rydell
                                                                    Participant

                                                                      I was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma in January 2011. This is all so overwhelming. I am currently on Temodar and just found out I tested positive for the B-RAF mutation.

                                                                      Anyway, hope you had a nice birthday and your biopsy went well!

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                                                                      RMcLegal
                                                                      Participant

                                                                        Kevin, you've received some great advice in prior posts and all I can add is this.  I was diagnosed at Stage IIIc (14 malignant nodes) in 2003, received biochemotherapy treatments at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and today am healthy with no evident disease.  Hang in there and keep the faith that you too will blow away any statistics you may have read.  I've blogged about the lighter side of the journey at http://www.hotelmelanoma.blogspot.com and it might provide some smiles and encouragement.  Take care.

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                                                                        RMcLegal
                                                                        Participant

                                                                          Kevin, you've received some great advice in prior posts and all I can add is this.  I was diagnosed at Stage IIIc (14 malignant nodes) in 2003, received biochemotherapy treatments at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and today am healthy with no evident disease.  Hang in there and keep the faith that you too will blow away any statistics you may have read.  I've blogged about the lighter side of the journey at http://www.hotelmelanoma.blogspot.com and it might provide some smiles and encouragement.  Take care.

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                                                                          ShariC
                                                                          Participant

                                                                            Great Advice – all around.  I only have a few things to add. 

                                                                            1.  DON'T spend too much time on the Internet – not this early.  There are sites out there and statistics that will scare the crap out of you – and that's not good at this stage.  You'll hear from doctors and oncologists that nothing has proven to be effective in fighting this type of cancer.  But, they're NOT on the cutting edge and they won't be able to give you the best advice or outline the best treatment options. 

                                                                            2.  DO make sure you see a Melanoma Oncologist as soon as you can – even before surgery (I know that seems not intuitive).  Just keep asking for referrals until you end up at a Melanoma Center with a Melanoma Onc.  For example, even being referred to the Mayo Clinic…and driving 12 hours there TWICE…I wasn't seeing a Melanoma Specialist.  I had assumed that since I was at Mayo, I was seeing the best. 

                                                                            …what else do i wish people had told me when i was just starting out?…

                                                                            3.  Believe that this IS the hardest part.  You will become more comfortable living with the idea that you have this.  Honestly.  But, early on, just LIVE and try not to think too much about it.  But, don't put off moving forward to get medical attention. 

                                                                            4.  Take somebody with you on every single consultation.  You WILL hear different things and its VERY helpful to compare those messages. 

                                                                            Good Luck on the Sentinal Node test and please keep posting.  – Shari

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                                                                              kpcollins31
                                                                              Participant

                                                                                Turned out the biopsy was not on my birthday afterall… but I did go through it yesterday. Long day at the hospital, but glad it is over with. I am left handed and my left arm is in a cast due to the wide excision and the need for a skin graft taken from the same arm. Under the arm is a little sore but not too bad. The tentative good news is that the surgeon said the lymph nodes were small and looked very normal. Still need to wait on the results from the biopsy, but I am hopeful for the moment. I will hopefully have the results by the time I return to work this coming Monday. Thanks again for all the support and information.

                                                                                Kevin

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                                                                                kpcollins31
                                                                                Participant

                                                                                  Good news to report. Got the biopsy results yesterday… everything was clean. Lymph nodes were clear as well as all the flesh taken from my forearm. My arm looks like it was attacked by a small shark, but this I can live with. They still want to do a PET scan in coming weeks to make sure nothing was missed, but they appear confident that it is gone.

                                                                                  Thought I would share the good news.

                                                                                  Kevin

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                                                                                  lhaley
                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                    Great news Kevin!!  I'm glad they are doing follow up with a PET. Better to be proactive then reactive.  Ask them what the future follow up will consist of.

                                                                                    Enjoy your family today with the stress off of you!

                                                                                    Linda

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                                                                                    lhaley
                                                                                    Participant

                                                                                      Great news Kevin!!  I'm glad they are doing follow up with a PET. Better to be proactive then reactive.  Ask them what the future follow up will consist of.

                                                                                      Enjoy your family today with the stress off of you!

                                                                                      Linda

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                                                                                      kpcollins31
                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                        Good news to report. Got the biopsy results yesterday… everything was clean. Lymph nodes were clear as well as all the flesh taken from my forearm. My arm looks like it was attacked by a small shark, but this I can live with. They still want to do a PET scan in coming weeks to make sure nothing was missed, but they appear confident that it is gone.

                                                                                        Thought I would share the good news.

                                                                                        Kevin

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                                                                                        kpcollins31
                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                          Turned out the biopsy was not on my birthday afterall… but I did go through it yesterday. Long day at the hospital, but glad it is over with. I am left handed and my left arm is in a cast due to the wide excision and the need for a skin graft taken from the same arm. Under the arm is a little sore but not too bad. The tentative good news is that the surgeon said the lymph nodes were small and looked very normal. Still need to wait on the results from the biopsy, but I am hopeful for the moment. I will hopefully have the results by the time I return to work this coming Monday. Thanks again for all the support and information.

                                                                                          Kevin

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                                                                                        ShariC
                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                          Great Advice – all around.  I only have a few things to add. 

                                                                                          1.  DON'T spend too much time on the Internet – not this early.  There are sites out there and statistics that will scare the crap out of you – and that's not good at this stage.  You'll hear from doctors and oncologists that nothing has proven to be effective in fighting this type of cancer.  But, they're NOT on the cutting edge and they won't be able to give you the best advice or outline the best treatment options. 

                                                                                          2.  DO make sure you see a Melanoma Oncologist as soon as you can – even before surgery (I know that seems not intuitive).  Just keep asking for referrals until you end up at a Melanoma Center with a Melanoma Onc.  For example, even being referred to the Mayo Clinic…and driving 12 hours there TWICE…I wasn't seeing a Melanoma Specialist.  I had assumed that since I was at Mayo, I was seeing the best. 

                                                                                          …what else do i wish people had told me when i was just starting out?…

                                                                                          3.  Believe that this IS the hardest part.  You will become more comfortable living with the idea that you have this.  Honestly.  But, early on, just LIVE and try not to think too much about it.  But, don't put off moving forward to get medical attention. 

                                                                                          4.  Take somebody with you on every single consultation.  You WILL hear different things and its VERY helpful to compare those messages. 

                                                                                          Good Luck on the Sentinal Node test and please keep posting.  – Shari

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