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One week post-op, just got pathology results, need info

Forums General Melanoma Community One week post-op, just got pathology results, need info

  • Post
    Rendergirl
    Participant

    Hi everyone, I posted here a week ago about the lymphoscintigraphy (FYI I endured it, the peole were SO NICE, even let me bring my ipod to calm my nerves. Used no lidocaine. Stung like a bitch for about 5 secs, then it was over. 2 shots, pain in the ass, but not as strong as ME). The next day after that test I had surgery, wider excision for where the mole was on my chest. I was put to sleep and they took out a wide section and went deep (my mole was 3.8cm deep). They also did the biopsy under my arm of my lymph node.

    Hi everyone, I posted here a week ago about the lymphoscintigraphy (FYI I endured it, the peole were SO NICE, even let me bring my ipod to calm my nerves. Used no lidocaine. Stung like a bitch for about 5 secs, then it was over. 2 shots, pain in the ass, but not as strong as ME). The next day after that test I had surgery, wider excision for where the mole was on my chest. I was put to sleep and they took out a wide section and went deep (my mole was 3.8cm deep). They also did the biopsy under my arm of my lymph node.

    Now one week later I am still healing. Like I said before, it's a pain in the ass, but not as bad as I had thought pain-wise. I can do this. Healing is going slow, though. I know it's only been a week, but sometimes feels like forever. Since I had the surgery on my upper mid chest, I've had to wear this compression bra ever since I got out of the OR. This huge incision on my chest hurts more than the smaller incision under my arm where my lymph node is, but I have a feeling it's going to get worse.

    Got a call today from my surgeon's office. It wasn'y the surgeon, but someone (a nurse maybe?) that had my results for me. She said she didn't want me going all weekend without any results. Anyways, the chest area excision was clear, no cancer. But the lymph node under my arm had cancer in it. When my surgeon took out my lymph node, she said she could tell it was cancerous because it was darker than the ones around it. The person on the phone today said that my surgeon will want to do more surgery and take out more lymph nodes to biopsy, but she will talk to me more about that when I meet with her next week on Wednesday. I asked if they had a new stage for me, and she said no, the surgeon will discuss that with me next week. I'm currently a stage II.

    I read somewhere on here that if you have cancer in your lymph node, then you're automatically upgraded to a stage III. Is that true?

    Had anyone ever had to go back and do more lymph node biopsy? Did you have to have a drain? I didn't have one the first time but I want to prepare myself just incase I get one the second time.

    After I meet with the surgeon, I have an appt with my oncologist later that day to discuss my path results. Because of the biopsy results this just about insures that I'll have to have some kind of chemo, right?

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  • Replies
      Carol Taylor
      Participant

      Hi Rendergirl!

      I was just thinking about you.  Glad it's done and you lived through it! 

      OK, you're stage 3 if it's in a lymph node. I had two surgeries. The first time they took two lymph nodes, put in drainage, and then went back and took remaining 25 and put in a bigger drainage system in the same place and it was stapled in place. Tube ran from left of my armpit and collected in a collection tube that was taped between my breasts.

      I'm not sure I'd stop with a biopsy the second time, especially since they may decide later to go back what would be a third time. I wasn't given that option. My surgeon went back and took the remaining to be on the safe side and I've always been grateful he did.  Cancer was just in first sentinel all other 26 were clear and I've had no problem since Nov 2008 and no treatment, just checkups.  I feel like he gave me a headstart and a tool against melanoma by going ahead and taking them all.

      I was given the option of Interferon and opted against it. The way my onc explained it, Interferon isn't considered "chemo" though I never was really clear "why" since both are intravenous. But it was my choice and not even a "recommended" choice.  She just told me it was an option if I wanted it.  I researched it and decided I didn't given things were looking so good. I've been clear all this time.  Other people opt for Interferon, and you might, and I honor & respect their choice.  It's one we all have to make and we have to make the one that we feel is right for us.  Whatever choices you are given, research and know yourself well and make the best decision you can at the time and look forward with it, not backward.

      Stay positive.  No matter what happens and what your choices are, stay positive and keep that kick butt spirit!  THAT's your best weapon!  Attitude counts a lot!  More than we often realize.  You go Girl!

      Grace and peace,

      Carol

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      Carol Taylor
      Participant

      Hi Rendergirl!

      I was just thinking about you.  Glad it's done and you lived through it! 

      OK, you're stage 3 if it's in a lymph node. I had two surgeries. The first time they took two lymph nodes, put in drainage, and then went back and took remaining 25 and put in a bigger drainage system in the same place and it was stapled in place. Tube ran from left of my armpit and collected in a collection tube that was taped between my breasts.

      I'm not sure I'd stop with a biopsy the second time, especially since they may decide later to go back what would be a third time. I wasn't given that option. My surgeon went back and took the remaining to be on the safe side and I've always been grateful he did.  Cancer was just in first sentinel all other 26 were clear and I've had no problem since Nov 2008 and no treatment, just checkups.  I feel like he gave me a headstart and a tool against melanoma by going ahead and taking them all.

      I was given the option of Interferon and opted against it. The way my onc explained it, Interferon isn't considered "chemo" though I never was really clear "why" since both are intravenous. But it was my choice and not even a "recommended" choice.  She just told me it was an option if I wanted it.  I researched it and decided I didn't given things were looking so good. I've been clear all this time.  Other people opt for Interferon, and you might, and I honor & respect their choice.  It's one we all have to make and we have to make the one that we feel is right for us.  Whatever choices you are given, research and know yourself well and make the best decision you can at the time and look forward with it, not backward.

      Stay positive.  No matter what happens and what your choices are, stay positive and keep that kick butt spirit!  THAT's your best weapon!  Attitude counts a lot!  More than we often realize.  You go Girl!

      Grace and peace,

      Carol

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      washoegal
      Participant

      I had microscopic amounts of cancer in 2 of 4 sentinel lymph nodes.  3 weeks later I had all the rest of my lymph nodes removed from under my right arm.  The surgery itself was not a big deal.  It meant an overnight stay in the hospital and out the first thing the morning.  I had a drain tube, mine was in for an unusually long time (25 days) and still didn't reach the desired level when the doc finally pulled them, thank goodness.  The drains are not too bad, other than the inconvenience.  Pillows when you sleep help a lot.  No lifting over 10 lbs……

       

      Since the doc could see your Mel, then I suspect you'll be staged higher than I was (3a) so he may suggest a treatment.  Treatment options will depend on what if anything is found in the rest of your lymph nodes and what if anything the CT scan shows.

       

      For right now take it one step at a time and get through this next surgery.  When you see your Onc get a copy of the pathology report, that will give you a better idea of where you stand.  The waiting game is probably the worst part. 

       

      Good Luck,

      Mary

      Stage 3

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      washoegal
      Participant

      I had microscopic amounts of cancer in 2 of 4 sentinel lymph nodes.  3 weeks later I had all the rest of my lymph nodes removed from under my right arm.  The surgery itself was not a big deal.  It meant an overnight stay in the hospital and out the first thing the morning.  I had a drain tube, mine was in for an unusually long time (25 days) and still didn't reach the desired level when the doc finally pulled them, thank goodness.  The drains are not too bad, other than the inconvenience.  Pillows when you sleep help a lot.  No lifting over 10 lbs……

       

      Since the doc could see your Mel, then I suspect you'll be staged higher than I was (3a) so he may suggest a treatment.  Treatment options will depend on what if anything is found in the rest of your lymph nodes and what if anything the CT scan shows.

       

      For right now take it one step at a time and get through this next surgery.  When you see your Onc get a copy of the pathology report, that will give you a better idea of where you stand.  The waiting game is probably the worst part. 

       

      Good Luck,

      Mary

      Stage 3

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      lhaley
      Participant

      Usually your oncologist stages. They will probably order a PET/CT just to make sure that it hasn't spread further.  You will most likely be offered one of the following: interfuron, wait and watch, radiation, or a clinical trial.  They actually can't stage you until they do further testing and check more nodes.  So far if I understand you right you have one node that was malignant. In that case you would be stage 3A.  It all depends on how many nodes have cancer.

      When you go to the Dr. make sure that you have someone with you. Write down your questions ahead of time. You might want to ask the surgeon and the oncologist the same questions. After you've had both Doctors answer the questions you will have a clearer understanding. 

      It really depends on how many nodes they take if you have a drain or not. My last surgery I had 5 under the clavicle and 5 removed in my arm.  The drain was in the arm but within 3 days it was obvious that nothing was draining.  They did not take more for me since I'm stage IV. They know mine is sytstemic and were just trying to just get active cancer.  Some people have to keep the drain is longer than others. The best advice I can give you would be to keep it in as long as it's needed.  Those who keep it in longer tend to have less lymphodema. 

      Wishing you the best,

      Linda

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        Lisa13
        Participant

        I had a deep primary with 1 lymph node affected (macro) meaning it was black when they took it out. During surgery, I had my melanoma removed (10cms off my back) and 19 superficial lymph nodes removed. I didn't have s sentinel node biopsy, they just removed them to be on the safe side.  If your melanoma is ulcerated and lymph node has macro cancer in it, it's Stage 3c. The letters in the staging system are based on such small details sometimes, so it really comes down to lymph node involvement and ulceration. Having less nodes involved is better and ulceration often comes with deeper primaries.

        I had a drain in my leg for 4 weeks because there was so much fluid coming out. It was removed 2 weeks ago and I've had no lymphodema.

        All the best to you. 

        Lisa

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        Lisa13
        Participant

        I had a deep primary with 1 lymph node affected (macro) meaning it was black when they took it out. During surgery, I had my melanoma removed (10cms off my back) and 19 superficial lymph nodes removed. I didn't have s sentinel node biopsy, they just removed them to be on the safe side.  If your melanoma is ulcerated and lymph node has macro cancer in it, it's Stage 3c. The letters in the staging system are based on such small details sometimes, so it really comes down to lymph node involvement and ulceration. Having less nodes involved is better and ulceration often comes with deeper primaries.

        I had a drain in my leg for 4 weeks because there was so much fluid coming out. It was removed 2 weeks ago and I've had no lymphodema.

        All the best to you. 

        Lisa

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      lhaley
      Participant

      Usually your oncologist stages. They will probably order a PET/CT just to make sure that it hasn't spread further.  You will most likely be offered one of the following: interfuron, wait and watch, radiation, or a clinical trial.  They actually can't stage you until they do further testing and check more nodes.  So far if I understand you right you have one node that was malignant. In that case you would be stage 3A.  It all depends on how many nodes have cancer.

      When you go to the Dr. make sure that you have someone with you. Write down your questions ahead of time. You might want to ask the surgeon and the oncologist the same questions. After you've had both Doctors answer the questions you will have a clearer understanding. 

      It really depends on how many nodes they take if you have a drain or not. My last surgery I had 5 under the clavicle and 5 removed in my arm.  The drain was in the arm but within 3 days it was obvious that nothing was draining.  They did not take more for me since I'm stage IV. They know mine is sytstemic and were just trying to just get active cancer.  Some people have to keep the drain is longer than others. The best advice I can give you would be to keep it in as long as it's needed.  Those who keep it in longer tend to have less lymphodema. 

      Wishing you the best,

      Linda

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