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Recently diagnosed with Stage One and scared

Forums General Melanoma Community Recently diagnosed with Stage One and scared

  • Post
    Butterfly74
    Participant
      Hi
      I am new to this forum. I’m hoping people can help, I have recently been diagnosed as Stage 1a with a thickness of 0.7mm with no ulceration or zero mitosis. My doctor says we have caught it early but I am very worried about the Clark Level which is 4, meaning it is deep. I’m worried that this makes me more advanced than Stage 1. I am having a wider exercision of 1cm around the site in a couple of weeks. I am struggling to deal with all this.
      Thanks for any advice.
    Viewing 3 reply threads
    • Replies
        MMH
        Participant
          Just wanted to say hang in there. I was diagnosed with stage 1 in August 2018. Same thing, they told me not to worry and nearly two years later I still worry daily. Try to take a deep breath and be grateful it is Stage 1. I think if they were worried about Clark’s it would have been staged higher than 1A. Educate yourself and stay vigilant, but do not panic. I am bad at staying calm, but do your best and visit here when you need support. All the best to you.
          LRS88
          Participant
            Hi there, I am very sorry to hear what you are going through but wanted to chime in as my experience sounds similar to yours. I was diagnosed with a Stage 1a melanoma in March 2019 (.5mm, no ulceration, zero mitoses and Clark’s level 4). I also was very concerned about the Clark’s level (and to be honest, it sometimes does still make me wonder). My dermatologist told me that Clark’s level is not used anymore in staging because the Breslow’s thickness is a much more accurate staging metric. She said the Clark’s level can be very subjective (i.e. one pathologist may say Clark’s level 3 while another says Clark’s level 4). My best advice is to be vigilant with your dermatologist appointments and be aware of your body and for anything new or changing.. Good luck with your wide excision and hang in there!
              Butterfly74
              Participant
                Hi, thank you both so much for replying. I will definitely post on here as feel quite alone, I have children I want to see grow up and need to stop looking at worst case scenarios. I have alot of moles so will definitely be vigilant with appointments. Can I ask if either of you had a node biopsy? I just want to make sure I’m doing everything I can.
                I find the Clark Level confusing as would think that if it’s a thin melanoma like yours at 0.5 or mine the level would be lower as a thin one wouldn’t be as deep down in the skin layers.
                I really need to stop googling info as it stresses me out. Although I feel relieved it’s been found fairly early I worry that it will come back. I have read I need to check my nodes every month but scared I’ll find a lump at some stage.
                I’m hoping this won’t always be such a weight on my shoulders and can enjoy life again without the worry but suffer from anxiety so really sad my life will never be the same.
                LRS88
                Participant
                  I completely understand how you are feeling and there are still times I am very anxious about all of the what-if’s. I still do not completely have clarity on the Clark’s level, maybe someone else on here with more knowledge can chime in! I did not have a lymph node biopsy but I also was told to check my nodes every month. I have been going to the dermatologist every 3 months and she also checks my nodes while I am there. I have a good amount of moles as well and since my melanoma have had 2 additional moles removed, they came back as mild and moderately dysplastic, but I am happy my dermatologist is taking a conservative approach with taking off anything that looks suspicious!
                  Butterfly74
                  Participant
                    Hi, thanks for replying.
                    How long from the first biopsy to when you had your WLE?
                    I had mine first taken out about two weeks ago, I now have to wait 2-3 weeks for the WLE. I’m scared that is waiting too long and if any cells are still there now they may spread?
                    Butterfly74
                    Participant
                      MNH, can I ask what the Barlow depth of yours was please?
                      LRS88
                      Participant
                        Mine was about a week later, however, I pushed to have it done ASAP because I was about to switch jobs and insurance. My dermatologist told me a couple of weeks would have been OK.
                        Butterfly74
                        Participant
                          Thank you. I’ve managed to get an appointment for next week now.
                          It’s really nice to chat with someone else who knows what I’m going through.
                          Butterfly74
                          Participant
                            LRS88
                            Would it be possible to stay in touch with you for support?
                            LRS88
                            Participant
                              Sure!
                              Butterfly74
                              Participant
                                Great thank you LRS88. Is it best to message via here or email?
                                I had my WLE last week, still a bit sore. I have found a dermatologist and have an appointment with him next week. Still not sleeping that well. How are you doing?
                                Victoria
                              Alce123
                              Participant
                                Hello! Just wanted to chime in to give you a little more reassurance. I was diagnosed with stage 1a in 07/2016, breslow depth 0.44mm. I’m perfectly healthy and have had a son since I was diagnosed. He is 16 months old. The beginning is the hardest part but sooner or later life succeeds in distracting you. It will resurface every now and then when you’re sick or someone else is but, for the most part, I predict you will likely go back to your normal life. Just with more sunscreen, hats and general sun awareness 🙂 take care.
                                  Butterfly74
                                  Participant
                                    Thank you so much for replying and congratulations on your son. I’m just so worried and feel like I can’t cope with this. Do you get regular checkups? I had a Clark Level of 4 so even though it’s at Stage 1a I worry about that making it a higher risk factor for spreading which I read on the internet. Can I ask what your level was? It’s nice to talk with other people going through this as I feel alone.
                                  Bobman
                                  Participant
                                    One thing everyone here can relate to is the shock of a cancer diagnosis . And the other thing is that yes, in time the intensity of the diagnosis eases. Sorry you’re struggling at the moment, but we all understand, and you’re in the right house (here) for the best information, and best people to help you navigate the mess of melanoma. So having a .7 with no ulceration, and zero mitosis in the world of melanoma is not bad. You’ll get the wide excision, and chances are good you’ll never deal with it again. Of course, regular checkups with your dermatologist a few times a year is standard for you now. If anything new pops up in between visits, get in earlier, and same applies if anything changes on existing moles. I did my fair share of freaking out over the diagnosis to, but all I got out of that was wasted time from not fully participating in my life.
                                    Best of luck to you…you got this. And you got the good people here too.
                                    Let us know how it goes!
                                    Aloha,
                                    Bob
                                      Butterfly74
                                      Participant
                                        Thank you so much for your reply Bob. I’m struggling with worry so much, it’s nice to talk with others who know what it’s like. It feels so overwhelming. I’m thankful that it is stage one but am worried because it is a Clark level 4 and I read that is not a great prognosis. I need to stop googling and reading the bad things.
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