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Why it is always advisable to seek a 2nd or even 3rd opinion..
Hi fellow melanoma fighters. Since my 3A diagnosis nearly 3.5 years ago , I have been visiting the forum on a daily basis, but I don´t write that often.
4 weeks ago I had my last CT and MRI scan (in Germany the guideline suggests to stop CT & MRI scans after 36 months of beign NED) and everything seemed to be ok. However, this time a young and rather inexperienced doctor did conducted the ultrasound examen and saw a couple of lymph nodes in my groin, which she considered very prominent and suspect in terms of shape and size. Also the CT report had mentioned slightly bigger lymph nodes ,but the size was still below the limit.
Blood work (S100 ,LDH etc.) are normal and have not changed since my initial diagnosis 3.5 years ago.
The clinic told me to come back in 4 weeks and to check again if the lymph nodes continue to grow or change in structure.
What can I tell you ? These have been among the worst 4 weeks of my life. I sought a second opinion with one of the top melanoma experts in Europe and together with one of the most experienced ultrasound experts they also checked the nodes with a high resolution – last generation – ultrasound equipment, which apparently can detect an metastasis in lymph nodes bigger than 1mm and even identify cell groups if they are large enough to affect the blood flow in the nodes.
Thankfully, they both called it a false alarm. They told me that all lymph nodes look perfect in every regard and there is nothing to worry about. 2 days later I went back to the clinic in my home town (4 weeks have passed) and a different doctor also confirmed that there is nothing troublesome in the Ultrasound images.
I thank the Dear Lord that I seem to continue being NED ,although I will never get back these 4 weeks of utter anxiety and utter terror.
With Ultrasound examinations it seems that 2 things are important.
a) get a true melanoma expert for your check ups, one who knows what he is doing and how to review node status.
b) Make sure they are equipped with the latest Ultrasound technology. It seems the resolution and precision has dramatically improved over the bast 5-10 years. Many hospitals and clinics in Europe have older equipment.
Stay strong and thanks to Bubbles (Celeste ) , Mark and others, who have given so much valuable advice over the years. Their selfless service to the community is one of the most beautiful things, I have experienced.
Good to hear from you, Christian!! So sorry for such a worrisome situation. However, so glad that it worked for the best in the end. Thanks for your kind words and thanks for sharing your story, sound advice and great news!! Take good care! celeste
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