A phone call from the Macmillan nurse


On Thursday afternoon, 16th May, the Macmillan nurse phoned whilst I was on the computer doing some school work. She had the results. As far as my back was concerned, the results came back negative, but they would probably err on the side of caution, and carry out a further, wider, deeper excision, at some point.

She then asked me if it was alright to continue talking over the phone about these results. There was something in her voice that told me it wasn’t going to be good news. And it wasn’t. The alien blob from my foot, was indeed a melanoma.

I couldn’t speak, I didn’t know what to say, nodding my head and tightening my fist until my nails dug into my palm.

I should be going to Derriford hospital tomorrow for a wide local excision with skin grafting. But she continued to tell me that I would probably just be going to Plymouth for a chat with my consultant, and then come straight home. It was unlikely that I would have the operation.

Continuing with her outlining of events, she said that the MDT had met the previous Tuesday morning, with my results appearing that same afternoon. It was probable I would be sent to Exeter for further surgery, but not until the team had met this coming Tuesday, and discussed their cases.

I would have a sentinel lymph node biopsy at the same time as the surgery on my foot, along with the skin graft. The biopsy meant injecting a blue, radioactive dye at the site of the wound, and then looking for an offending nodes that had turned blue. These would then be removed in the hope of stopping the spread of the disease. The nearest lymph nodes to my foot were those in my groin.

It was a long phone call, where she did most of the talking. It left me scared, confused, unsure, and made for quite a sleepless night.

What should we do?

Will the operation go ahead?

Will it be worth driving to Plymouth at all?

And what of the melanoma, what were the implications for me?

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