Kerri Meister

My 29th birthday present....a melanoma diagnosis


I never thought I would be diagnosed with melanoma. I am 29 years old and last January was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma.  As a child I went yearly to the dermatologist as I am covered in dysplastic moles. Throughout my teens I had 5 of those moles removed and never had an issue, they were all just moles. From college to the age of 29 I didn't see my dermatologist as I didn't think it was important because all my moles were always normal. I made a dermatologist appointment at the recommendation of my surgeon who saw me to remove my gallbladder. He saw a very large abnormal mole on my back and recommended I make an appointment, so I did.

As soon as my dermatologist saw the spot he said he believed it to be melanoma. I had a punch biopsy and it came back negative. My Derm (30+) years as a doctor said he wanted to do a shave biopsy because he was so sure this looked like melanoma. The shave biopsy came back negative. Instead of fighting with my insurance company for a third biopsy he had me see a surgeon. When I went in for the surgery I had no worries as I had TWO negative biospies and was just placating my dermatologist. I had 15 stitches in my back, which was awful BUT I wasn't worried at all... On my birthday I got a call from the surgeon telling me he's sorry but I do have melanoma (Never told me the stage just said I had it and he would see me 5 days later for my stitches removal - Needless to say I called my Derm and he met with me to go over the results (I also don't see that surgeon anymore)). Because the margins weren't clear, I had to have a 2nd surgery a month later requiring 20 stitches! 

Does anyone else feel foolish for being so scared of melanoma? I feel stupid for being scared when there are more invasive cancers to other organs. My doctors tells me I am not foolish and I should never say "it's just melanoma".  My boss at work told me it was "just melanoma" when I had to tell her of my diagnosis so I could have my surgeries.

My past summer was awful, I have never laid out in the sun as I hate the heat but I was so fearful I didn't even want to go on picnics. Slowly my fear/"craziness" of getting this again is going away. I always wear sunblock now and a hat on my head outdoors. The strange thing is I have tanned once in my life in a tanning booth for a highschool prom 13 years ago. I have NEVER even had a sunburn that peeled. How do you get over the fear of the sun? My Derm tells me to live my life and we will catch anything wrong but my surgeon who specialized in melanoma basically tells me to never go outside again.

At my 6 month check-up with the dermatologist I was chanting a mantra of "He will tell me everything looks the same and send me on my way. I won't have to do this again."  Sadly, he told me, which I already knew that I have 12 moles that he thinks look suspicious. Because I had two false negative biopsies he won't bother to have me do them any more. Last Friday I had three more moles removed and I am so scared. I have a ton of dysplastic moles and after I was diagnosed all of my family and extended family got theirs checked and 3 out of my 5 great aunts had melanoma too.

Would it be crazy to ask my dermatologist to take all the suspicious looking moles at once so I don't have to go through this every six months?  I know this post is all over the place but I don't talk to much about this as I feel stupid for being afraid.

I have been trying to find out if I am blonde haired, light eyes, MANY dysplastic moles, family history (although not mom, dad, siblings) what are the odds that these others will be that?  If my lymph nodes feel normal to the touch does this mean it couldn't be Stage III?

I feel better just getting all my thoughts out. I know I have to stay positive and most of the time I am. Its just during this waiting period I am feeling like this.

Tue, 2014-10-14