Test results on 9/1/2020 report malignant melenoma, and I posted those results in my first post Newly Diagnosed. Met with Surgeon, Dr. Vivian Wu Sept 12, with Henry Ford Hospital. Because of the placement of the malignant melanoma at the crown of my head and the expected depth (she's not sure as initial test was not a punch) she expects that in the wide excision she will have to go down to my skull. She's recommending to the hospital's melanoma board that I get a Pet Scan prior to surgery to help guide her. She says although the Pet Scan doesn't point out specific cancer, she can see if there are lymph nodes flaring up particularly in the neck area. She couldn't identify any swelling in her hand examination. So we are waiting to hear from the board. She ordered a sentinel lymph node test the day of surgery for possible lymph node removal during the surgery. She said if the lymph node activity is aggressive, she might recommend neck excision but that's the worst case scenario.
She sees another area on my scalp she thinks may need to be addressed in this same surgery, but a smaller spot.
She advised she wants to leave the scalp surgical wound open until the test results come back to be sure she got all the cancer, explaining that the margins test for malignant melanoma doesn't happen like in Mohs surgery where they can test the margins right during the surgery. She said there are unique dyes and testing done specfically for this type of cancer in this satage. That's kind of freaky thinking about that. She is talking with the plastic surgeon as to approach to closure. So I assume it will be some kind of flap or taking skin from some other area. I am totally unclear on that next step but a separate surgery for reconstruction.
She explained immunotherapy to me and said I should mentally prepare myself for that possibility.
Doctor also said at this point, going to a specialized cancer center (for us, U of M) is not necessary, as the main difference is their range and large number of trial tests. She assured us she would tell us in future if she recommended we go to a specialized center. She is also talking with my current dermatologist to see if he wants to manage my melanoma. I assume I will also be assigned an oncologist, waiting to learn more about that. It's all very confusing right now. My PC is also in this hospital system, but he told me at this point I'm in the hands of the experts.
I have a possibility of getting the surgery this week, or waiting if I can't get all the scans and prep tests done. Latest getting surgery is September 25. Any advise or words of wisdom are very much appreciated. I plan to read through the links others have posted to help get educated on this disease. Sadly we lost a very close friend one year ago - someone in his mid 50's - to this disease but he had no external identifiers. . It has progressed to multiple areas of his body and from diagnosis to death he had 3 months of illness. He was getting physical therapy through workman's comp because he had a lot of pain in his body and doc thought it was problems from his job. I hope I've caught this early enough to have a chance at overcoming it. I had a light brown spot on my head that the dermatologist one year ago told me was a cosmetic age spot. In late August, 2020, I bumped my head really hard right on that spot getting out of a golf cart and the scab was very irregular and grew into a small tumor in a matter of 7 days. It may be that the golf card saved my life! Thanks for listening.