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Questions about planned biopsy

Forums Cutaneous Melanoma Community Questions about planned biopsy

  • Post
    Rami
    Participant

      I posted previously under the topic subungual melanoma and question about second opinions. I had a second opinion appt today after I didn’t feel comfortable with the first doctors exam and opinion. Today’s visit was much better, the doctor heard my concerns and agreed that we should do a biopsy to know for sure. She plans to completely remove my nail and then biopsy a bump that I have under the nail as well as down into the skin fold. In her notes she called it a DS3 for nail plate avulsuion with biopsy of the nail matrix. Not knowing anything about this just wondering if that sounds reasonable? Will she be able to make any assumptions based on what she sees during the biopsy?

      My biggest issue right now is dealing with severe anxiety over this. I’m convinced it’s the worst and have felt so depressed all weekend. I couldn’t schedule the biopsy for another two weeks, I’m afraid my anxiety will push me over the edge during that time. I asked her today if she thought it was cancer and she said her gut said no but she’s been humbled in the past so it’s best to do a biopsy. I felt better initially after she said that but now I’m overanalyzing everything and just working myself up. 

       

      Any comments on the biopsy or how to deal with the anxiety leading up to it are appreciated.

       

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    • Replies
        mroulston
        Participant

          I was diagnosed with stage I melanoma earlier this year, and I dealt with an absolutely terrifying and overwhelming amount of anxiety leading up to my biopsy. The worst part of it was the waiting, which for me was more than four months. That's not a typo — more than four months of waiting just for the biopsy.

          I went to a walk-in clinic in mid January with a mole that I was certain was melanoma. It met every one of the ABCDE's, it was absolutely an ugly duckling, it didn't look anything like any pictures of basal or squamous cell carcinomas that I found online, and it looked exactly like some of the pictures of melanoma that I found online. The walk-in clinic booked an appointment for me with a dermatologist for the middle of May, four months later. That four months was the longest and most excruciating four months of my life.

          Even when I finally saw the dermatologist in May, he told me he didn't think the spot was anything to worry about, but he would remove it anyway just to be sure, and wanted to book an appointment for me two months later. I was horrified. I couldn't bare to wait two more moths. I ended up pleading with him and he managed to fit me in two weeks later to remove the mole, but even that two week wait was awful.

          So anyway, I can definitely relate to you when you say that the anxiety of waiting for the biopsy is overwhelming. I found that the uncertainty was what made the waiting almost unbearable, and the only thing that will take away the uncertainty is having the biopsy done and getting the results back. Until that happens, it's almost impossible not to run through all kinds of possibilites in your head.

          One thing I did start to do though is read about Buddism and meditation, and that helped a bit, and continues to help me out when I feel crippling anxiety coming on. Buddism teaches a lot about living in the moment, and not letting yourself become overwhelmed by what may, or may not, happen in the future. I'm sure there are other methods of studying that concept that aren't related to Buddism, but Buddism has helped me.

          So whenever I start to freak about about what may or may not happen in the future, I try to recognize that my thinking is heading in a direction where no good can come, and I try to relax, take some deep breaths, and remind myself that my thoughts are the only thing that I really have true control over, and running through countless horrible scenarios that haven't even happened, and may never happen, is not at all healthy.

            A
            Participant

              I am glad that your second appontment went better. As I said in my previous response, good thing is that the color is not dark and that the lesion does not extend to the skin fiold.
              The biopsy will give you a piece of mind, so you would know for sure. It could be benign melanychia, but only the biopsy will give the answer. Try to stay positive during this waiting period. Good luck!

              Rami
              Participant

                You have been such great support and I appreciate it so much. I’m trying to be keep positive but this could be so life altering. Will you give me your thoughts on something? In my original message I posted that this line had been there for about a year. I have gone back and looked through old pictures and it seems I’ve had it much longer than that. I found a picture back in July 2014 where it was visible in the picture. It doesn’t look like it has changed much, so is that a good thing or bad thing? I’m worried that if it’s melanoma it has been growing for over 3 years. Wouldn’t there have been more marked/noticeable change if it had been that long?

                 

                 

                A
                Participant

                  I think if it was that long and did not get darker and have not extended to the skin fold, it is a good sign! There is always a hope and try to stay positive. 
                   

                   

                  Rami
                  Participant

                    Thank you so much for your response! Your post is very helpful, I’m prone to anxiety anyway so this definitely does not help. Can you recommend a good book on meditation that you have used? I do have an app on my phone that i try to use when my anxiety is very bad but i think at that point nothing helps.

                    Im so sorry that you had to wait for so long to get a diagnosis, I can’t imagine waiting that long. Like you said the uncertainty is the worst….

                    mroulston
                    Participant

                      Since my melanoma diagnosis about five months ago, I've purchased and read eleven books on Buddhism. I just took a quick look at all of them and tried to remember which one was most helpful with regards to meditation (I read so many books so quickly that I forgot which ones were the best and most helpful), and I believe the best book that I read on that subject is "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki.

                      Also, in case it's helpful, I will tell you about another book recommendation that my walk-in clinic doctor told me about. The doctor was the most compassionate doctor I've ever dealt with, and he spent quite a bit of time calming me down the day that I first learned of the cancer diagnosis. One of his strongest recommenations for me was that I read a book called "Mind Over Mood" by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky. I bought the book based on the doctor's recommendation, and it was also very helpful in trying to get my anxiety under control.

                      Rami
                      Participant

                        Thank you so much for the support! I’m going to look into both of these books.

                        Rami
                        Participant

                          Thank you so much for your response! Your post is very helpful, I’m prone to anxiety anyway so this definitely does not help. Can you recommend a good book on meditation that you have used? I do have an app on my phone that i try to use when my anxiety is very bad but i think at that point nothing helps.

                          Im so sorry that you had to wait for so long to get a diagnosis, I can’t imagine waiting that long. Like you said the uncertainty is the worst….

                           

                        MelanomaMike
                        Participant
                          I hear ya, i just did my CT guided lung biopsy the 26th(Oct) and the night before i told my wife im leaving town! I dont like scans PERIOD CT, PET,MRI or the ones at the store i suffer claustrophobia and need Adavans before hand or it will go way bad fast..Biopsys are stressful, my results should be in shortly so, i know your stress, however, my last scan a month ago revealed all kinds of tumors and theres a good chance its Melanoma (have had 6 surgeries prior) all stage 3b, im stressin BIG LEAGUE now that its in both lungs…keep busy!
                            Rami
                            Participant

                              Thank you so much for your response and support. I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through now. I’m sending you positive vibes….

                              Rami
                              Participant

                                Thank you so much for your response and support. I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through now. I’m sending you positive vibes….

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