Yesterday's appointment with the surgical oncologist was positive. The doctor gained my confidence which was on my checklist. Being a doctor in a specialty where the majority of your patients are there to seek hope for grim situations cannot be easy labor.
The good news, she did a full physical in search for other candidates of melanoma on my skin, head to toe; found nothing warranting concern. So big sighs of relief were in order with that news.
The waiting game continues however while I wait for some procedures to be scheduled. Next up is a PET Scan, the picture up there is of a random image I found. So what is a PET Scan, I did not know before this discussion. Long story short this procedure will help illuminate anywhere in my body where cancerous cells may exist. I should hear today from my medical oncologist, different person than my surgical oncologist, when that scan can be performed.
Then within a few days or so after the PET Scan is complete & results read I'll go in for the sentinel lymph node biopsy. Long story short this procedure will result in a very specific lymph node being identified and then removed for analysis to determine if the melanoma that was removed from my forehead had a chance to spread via the lymphatic system. If it has, it will show up in this specific node. Obviously were are hoping this node is clean which would mean the cancer has not spread that way.
At the same time the oncologist surgeon is hunting down that lymph node (can take 2-3 hours) the plastic surgeon will go back to work on my forehead and remove more tissue around the original scar as a precaution to ensure any rouge cells from the melanoma site had not deposited in that area; another ugly characteristic of melanoma. Hence when you see pictures of very advances melanoma tumor sites they are spread out in irregular patters, they spawn rouge cells that move out a few millimetres to a centimeter from the original and get nasty there.
For all of this I will be knocked out, which was a bummer; I asked if I could be awake for it all as I am a science geek; they said nope, this is not something you want to be awake for. I think the real answer is that THEY don't want me awake through it asking questions.
There are two ways melanoma spreads (metastasizes), the via the lymphatic system or via the blood stream. Hence why the PET Scan, that procedure is primarily being used to see if this has spread via the blood stream.Obviously were are hoping this scan looks as clean a fresh sheet of canvas.
So thats the nut-shell version of where I am at. In an hour I will call the scheduling desk at the hospital and schedule the PET Scan, and we'll go from there.
Please tell me you have more exciting happenings go on in your lives today!
Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!