Monday 15th July
Plans for our whole summer hinge on today’s appointment . . . .
Just arrived home after meeting with a super, consultant plastic surgeon at Exeter. I had been dreading this appointment, wondering what he was going to say. He explained that he is going to carry out the staging procedure by injecting the radioactive dye into the site of my malignant melanoma, on the top of my foot, at 9am and in the afternoon, carry out the sentinel lymph node biopsy to see which lymph node this has drained to. If all goes well, I could be going home that same day. And then wait for the results.
(He commented that my scar was healing nicely, but my toes were still a bit swollen; looking like pork chipolatas!)
My big question to him was “When!!!!??? When would you plan on carrying out the surgery?”
He looked at my notes and saw that his colleague had written that we had booked our summer holiday. “No problem, we’ll wait until you get back ~ I do have a space tomorrow, but you wouldn’t be able to fly next week!”
Oh my goodness, I had come to this appointment fearing the worst. Lots of emotions flying around my head!
He explained that he has operated on pregnant women, to remove the melanoma, and then three or even six months later, after the baby is born, carried out the sentinel lymph node biopsy.
He could see no problem with waiting until September, and reassured us that I wasn’t being foolhardy or selfish in wanting to go on holiday. If there are any microscopic cells in the nodes, or in transit, they’re not going to get markedly worse in the time we’re away. Plus, as my CT scan had come back clear, he was really positive, and said we should go and have a good time!
Feeling much better, for the moment!
I have been using the internet to find out as much as I can about this disease, and the proposed next course of events for me.
Much of the information states that the sentinel lymph node biopsy should be carried out at the time of the wider local excision, so that the route to the draining lymph nodes can be tracked accurately.
There is a school of thought though, that thinks maybe some of the microscopic cells are still in transit, and so, could be missed.
I had the MM removed on 2.5.13, and then the WLE on 7.5.13. (6mm, Stage 2b). The CT scan was on 5.6.13. My consultant said he would get me on his theatre list for September. He said it probably wouldn’t be that much sooner anyway, (unless I had it done tomorrow), as August was looking busy for him, and he was probably off to Florida for a couple of weeks too.
I’m being looked after by the NHS, but two of the three consultants (male), I’ve seen have private practices, and I certainly feel as if I’m being treated as a private patient. I feel really lucky, and totally reassured.