Category Archives: melanoma

Appointments

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Tuesday 15th May

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To Exeter hospital

Matching underwear day

The clinical drugs trial

Appointments underway

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Dermatology for skin

Blood and obs with my nurse

Then it’s time for a break

From the medical universe

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Then upstairs to x-ray

CT scan with contrast

Back and forth through the tunnel

It’s all over at long last

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And the final stop will be

With my oncologist

Scanxiety sets in

Have to be an optimist

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Now a long two week wait

For the consultant’s report

Just hoping all will be well

The days don’t turn out too fraught

.

Thinking of you my darling

Wishing you were with me

Wishing things had been different

That you, a survivor would be

.

Sweetheart Angel son

xxxxxx

Five years

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Wednesday 2nd May

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Five years ago today

‘Twas on this date in May

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The first of many operations

To oust the cancerous mutations

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The journey of my left foot began

All because of that teenage suntan

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An alien blob on my toe

What else can life, at me throw?

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A lymphadenectomy

Biopsies sent to pathology

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Malignant melanoma

Changed my very persona

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Hats, long sleeves and sunscreen

Oncologists routinely seen

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A five year clinical drugs trial

Has all of my details on file

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Continuing to be sun-aware

Particularly with my skin care

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So here’s to the next five years

I have my hopes, but also fears

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Thinking of you as always

And all your innocent ways

.

Darling Angel baby

Missing you like crazy

.

xxxxxx

Blue skies, but still a cool wind

Looking down on the harbour

My Left Foot – complete with Cinderella’s slipper, but without Daniel Day Lewis, and a lovely compression stocking on the right leg. (2.5.13)

PET scan

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Monday 18th December

  

On the last visit to my oncologist, following a CT scan, a small ‘gnurgly’ was seen on my spleen. It had been mentioned​ a couple of previous times to no consequence, but now the radiographer’s report suggested further investigation was warranted. So, no food since last night, and only water this morning. 

Upon arrival at the unit, just after 1:00pm, form filling was followed by blood sugar testing, which was fine. The technician then went to collect the radioactive trace injection. He returned carrying what looked like an extremely heavy tool box. I thought, ‘Wow, that must be a massive injection!’, but it was merely a huge lead-lined box to protect from the radiation. So then the liquid was pushed into my veins, the technician declared me radioactive ☢️☠️🤢☠️☢️  and I had to wait an hour for the liquid to reach all parts of my body……

The scan itself was fine: the first part was head to knees, taking about fifty minutes, back and forth, stop and start, don’t move…..Then I had to turn around for the second part: knees to toes, which only took twenty minutes. Time to go, and after over three hours in the unit, I was ready. It was now dark outside, the whole afternoon had disappeared through a tunnel…..And now I was starving and very thirsty.

A quick bite to eat and​ a cappuccino, then a drive home in the dark, whereupon I am now drinking copious amounts of water to flush out the radioactive trace. Apparently I must not go near pregnant women or young children for twenty four hours….

Glowing all the wayyyyyy………

Thinking of you my sweetheart, as always.

Beloved Angel son

xxxxxx


Homeward bound, after sunset

Lights of the cars mimicking how I feel…..

And, we came to say hello again

Your solar snowflake looked lovely

End of Year Four

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Tuesday 7th November

   

A drive up to Exeter early this morning, (in the lashing rain, with appointments at two hospitals, for my end of Year Four check ups), had me feeling rather anxious ~ scanxiety setting in……

I was diagnosed with metastatic malignant melanoma in 2013, and am on the Combi-Ad clinical drugs trial. It is an adjuvant therapy, combining two drugs to  (hopefully) stop the further spread of cancer.

First stop dermatology, for a full body skin check, (my unexpected excision a month ago came back as a benign melanocytic naevus). Both the trainee and consultant dermatologist agreed there was nothing unusual or suspicious to be seen. All is fine.

Second stop is to see my cancer trials nurse who takes vials of blood, and checks my blood pressure (a little too high, I think), temperature (ok), weight (too high, I think), and pulse (ok). I then fill out a “Quality of Life” survey. All is (mostly) fine.

Off down the corridor to medical imaging for a CT scan. Ouchy ouch, the radioactive contrast fluid was painful as it entered my vein. Hmmmmm, not too impressed ~ it has never hurt like it did today. Oh well. All is (now) fine.

Final stop is to see my oncologist, for another full body check. He has had a quick look at the scan, and can see nothing alarming, although he says I must wait for the full report from the radiologist. So all is fine. 

Another set of appointments are made for six months hence.

So there we are.

I just wish your treatment had proved successful. I wish that everyday. I am so sorry you had to suffer. I’m so sorry you didn’t make it. I’m so sorry.

My darling Angel son.

Thinking of you.

Love you forever.

xxxxxx


Wasn’t expecting that

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Saturday 7th October

  

Well, I wasn’t expecting that……

I had my yearly dermatology appointment today ~ yes I know, I thought it strange for a clinic at the hospital to be open at the weekend, but there we go. Normally these appointments are pretty quick…… “Strip off, and let’s check your skin….All’s good, see you next year…..”

But oh no, it was “Whoops, don’t like the look of that one on your back, we’ll take it off, as a precaution, right here, right now, into theatre you must go……..”.

So I’ve had surgery: local anaesthetic, an excision, with dissolvable deep stitches, and surface stitches which will come out in ten days time.

Wasn’t expecting that…….

But it is good to be looked after, and anything suspicious, or dodgy, then the ‘alien blob’ must be cut out and sent off to be biopsied, with results taking about two weeks.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Thinking about you, poppet

Fly high my darling

Love you forever

xxxxxx




Month 42

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Tuesday 9th May
  

Alarm goes at o-crack sparrow. I’m up early for my month 42 check-ups at two hospitals in Exeter. First appointment is with the dermatologist at 10:45am ~ thorough skin check of all my various moles, solar lentigo, actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratoses, dysplastic nevus and checking of scars from various surgeries to remove a malignant melanoma and lymph nodes, skin graft, biopsies and a basal cell. All seems ok, apart from some sun damage at the top of my forehead, for which I am given some cream: three days worth, that will take the top layer of skin off, repairing the damage.

My next stop is with my trials nurse ~ I am on the CombiAd trial, for the adjuvant treatment of Stage 3 Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. Bloods, weight, temperature, blood pressure and pulse, all duly taken and noted.

Then it’s on to the delightful CT scan with contrast, of the thorax, abdomen and pelvis. 

My final stop is with my oncologist, who can inform me, tentatively, that he sees nothing suspicious on the scan, but I have to wait for the official radiographer’s report, which will take about ten days.

However, I can finally leave, about 5:00pm, knowing that all seems well ~ with a massive sigh of relief. Breathe………..  

So, that’s it for another six months.

Wishing you were here sweetheart, to share with me. Wishing you had had good news, and were looked after as well as I am being cared for. 

Wishing……

If only…….

In hindsight……..

Why……..

Miss you more than ever

Darling Angel son.

xxxxxx

Month thirty six

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Tuesday 15th November
  

An early morning wake-up, followed by a two hundred mile round-trip for my month thirty six check-up. I have Stage 3 Metastatic Malignant Melanoma, and am on a clinical trial called Combi-Ad for the adjuvant treatment of this type of melanoma. 

A mole on my left foot, the Alien Blob, was removed in May 2013, but found to be cancerous. Following more surgery, a skin graft, then lymph node removal, I signed up to a double-blind trial, confident that I was doing something positive, regarding my health, but also grateful for the very close monitoring that this would entail.

Today I had a full body check with the dermatologist ~ all seems good, and she was happy there were no new ‘trouble spots’.

Then it was a drive to the second hospital where I met with my trials nurse, who didn’t need any blood today, but did check weight, temperature, pulse, blood pressure (a bit too high), oxygen saturation.

We sat around for a while; I drank 500mls of the obligatory water, waiting for my CT scan, and although slightly uncomfortable, the procedure was over in less than ten minutes.

The final appointment of the day was with the oncologist, skin cancer nurse and my trials nurse. So, stripping off for the third time today, I was given another full body check, questions asked, stethoscope used, and told it would probably take two weeks for the scan results to be reported. 

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Scanxiety. Not good. Crossing fingers, and all that……

Anyway, just before we arrived home, we hoped to drive in and see you. We honestly didn’t think the gates would be open, as they are usually closed at dusk. It was now dark, damp and misty, but amazingly, the heavy iron gates were still wide open.

So very quiet and peaceful, and although pitch black in a graveyard, we felt close to you; it felt right, and we told you all about our day.

Love you so much sweetheart.

Wish you were here to talk to.

Moon and back, my darling.

xxxxxx

Month 30

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Tuesday 17th May

Today I went for the Month 30 set of appointments as part of my participation in the clinical trial, Combi-Ad. This is a double-blind, adjuvant treatment, for patients with Stage 3 malignant melanoma.
(Three years ago today I had a second operation to take a wider excision around the offending alien blob on my left foot, having been told the tumour was malignant. I also had a skin graft from my thigh placed over the large wound.)

So, today I started off with a visit to my consultant dermatologist, who confirmed that the minor surgery I had had in February, following my previous visit, had successfully removed a basal cell carcinoma. No more to worry about, as far as that was concerned.
She did though, decide to ‘zap’ a few seborrhoeic keratoses ~ basal cell papillomas ~ sometimes worryingly called ‘senile warts’. Oh dear.
Using a pressurised spray of liquid nitrogen, I was uncomfortable for a few seconds, with a promise that these offending blobs would fall off presently. Happy days.

It was then off to a second hospital for an appointment with my trials nurse for bloods and observations.
I found out here that I should have received notification of a CT scan, but none had been forthcoming. A scan will be carried out at another hospital, closer to home, within the next week or so. A scan is part of the trial protocol, to check for the possibility of spread of tumours, so it is imperative that I have this carried out.
I think over the last thirty months I have had twenty CT scans. So many more than normal, but it is what the trial requires. Radioactive, moi?

My final appointment of the day was with my oncologist. All is good so far, no worries, no problems; we’ll just have to wait upon the results of the scan.

We stopped in at your resting place before we arrived at home, at the end of a long day. We had to check that you were ok: the rain had begun, but your flowers were still looking fresh. We talked with you, letting you know how the day had gone for us. Many times you had accompanied me on my hospital visits, asking questions of the nurses, looking around the newsagents, reading magazines in the waiting rooms.

We miss you so very much.
Love you sweetheart.
Precious Angel son.

xxxxxxx

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Three years ago today. Wider excision of alien blob, plus skin graft, resulting in lower leg encased in plaster.

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Another alien blob

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Thursday 25th February

I travelled to Exeter today with my husband, to have another alien blob, this time removed from my back.
At my previous dermatology appointment, the consultant spotted a suspect basal cell carcinoma.
Sounds dodgy, but not as bad as a melanoma.
The blob that was cut out was quite a sizeable chunk; it was put in a specimen pot, to be sent to the pathology lab.
I had a number of deep stitches, that will dissolve, six surface stitches, steri strips, and finally a bigger dressing.

In twelve days I’ll have the stitches out, and then in three to four weeks, the results. So I’ll have to wait patiently.

We’re staying overnight in the hotel where we would always stay with you.
So many memories….

We wish you were here with us.

It’s Thursday.
Fifty weeks ago today.
Three hundred and fifty days.

I miss you so much.
My darling Angel son.

xxxxxxx

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Hope

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Tuesday 24th November

Hope….  
Sometimes that’s all you have
when you have nothing else.
If you have it, you have everything.”

Today I travel to the hospital where I had the lymphadenectomy, two years ago this month. The lymph nodes at the top of my left leg were removed, as the cancer had spread from the original mole, The Alien Blob, on the top of my left foot. This is my month 24 check up on the Combi-Ad trial, for the adjuvant treatment of stage three malignant melanoma.

My first appointment is with the dermatologist, and she spots a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my lower left back that needs to be removed, so we’ll organise a date for that later. She wanted to do it there and then, but I have other appointments to attend today.
Time to get dressed.

Next I go and see my lovely trials nurse to be weighed, blood pressure, pulse and temperature taken. I also fill in a Quality of Life survey. Hmmmmmm.

From there we head down to x-ray for a CT scan of my thorax, abdomen and pelvis. After a fairly long wait, I’m called through, cannula and contrast inserted, and the imaging starts.
Time to get dressed.

Having finished that delightful experience, I can now have something to eat ~ no food is allowed four hours prior to the scan.

My final stop is with the oncologist, all seems well, and I don’t need to be seen for six months.
Time to get dressed.

So there ends my month 24 visit. Careful monitoring, checking and scans, keeping vigilant, a good deal of crossing fingers, and hope, and then I can breathe easy.

So that was my day, my darling.
We came to see you early this morning, before we set off.
For some reason Dad and I both broke down, and sobbed.
So many thoughts going around our heads.
We miss you so very much.
If only…..
Why…..

It is late afternoon as we set off from the hospital and drive away; we have the light of the full moon to guide us.

Is that you up there, smiling down, wishing us well on our way?

We love you to the moon and back.
And all the world.
Around the stars
And all the planets.

Sweetheart Angel son.
xxxxx

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