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Need some advice-what questions to ask

Forums Cutaneous Melanoma Community Need some advice-what questions to ask

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      Hi all,
      I was dx with a stage 1 melanoma a few weeks back. As I mentioned here before, surgeon said there was nothing to be concerned about -they got it all…. no further treatment necessary. Today I go back so she can do a wider excision on another mole that my derm found in my June regular skin check that is NOT melanoma but is unusual and he wants a wider margin. Since I will be with the surgeon, I am going to ask her to look at a mole on my chest and my leg that I have noticed (I suspect I am super duper hyper vigilant at this point). Are there any other questions I should ask her— I just don’t know what I don’t know….. and I am always reluctant to check google. I don’t think she or my derm would have any reason to mislead me on my diagnosis– but I have this low level anxiety about this now (plus I have barely gone outside during the day since April except when we were on our family vacation or to go to work—this is crazy!!!!

      I so appreciate your wisdom-thanks so much

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          Hello to you! I wanted to let you know that I think you are doing the right thing by taking it seriously and asking questions. I was diagnosed Stage 1 in 2018 and my life has not been the same since. The anxiety is tough, and I also avoid the sun as though somehow that will erase the 44 years of sun exposure prior to my diagnosis. It gives me some sense of control even though in reality I know I have none. Hang in there, ask questions and do not let them tell you it is not a big deal. Thinking of you!
              She did did the re-excision of the non-melanoma. She then looked at 3 sites i mentioned and biopsied two– she did not think they would turn out to be anything, but just to be safe…. we reviewed the pathology from the actual melanoma and she was very reassuring, as she had been in my first visit. I have some prior cancer experience and one thing I know is that they don’t speak lightly- if they think it is a big problem, they tell you. If they think it is just a “bump in the road” they also tell you that. Of course, there are no guarantees, as there are none in life, but I have found that when people deal day in day out with a certain cancer, they have a pretty good idea of what they are looking at and how to talk to patients about it. I don’t know what will happen in the pathology of these other two moles, but it was helpful to hear her say that they were unusual but she would not necessarily say they were melanoma…..

              I was not a big sun person, which is why this is so surprising– so now I will be even more careful–buying spf clothes, a tent for the beach (I go rarely, but if I go, I will be covered) , staying indoors from 10-4…. crazy stuff!!! I was always slathered in sunscreen, now even more so. Sorry to hear about the anxiety– when I had breast cancer, I was hyper anxious-I ended up seeing a counselor and it was so very helpful. Hope you can find some peace. thanks for responding to my note

                It sounds like you found a doc who listens and you’re willing to advocate for yourself – two HUGE things!! Even if we don’t know what questions to ask, a good doc will lead you down the path of what you need to know. And advocating for yourself is the best thing you can do for your own body. It sounds like you are being extra cautious outside, so one thing to think about is getting your Vitamin D checked. Low levels of Vitamin D are linked to worse outcomes in melanoma (and fighting cancer in general). A simple blood test will help guide you and your supplement regimen.

                Health and Happiness,

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