My First Cancer Scare – Post NED

My First Cancer Scare – Post NED

I was 19 when I was diagnosed with melanoma. After several surgeries and many, many stitches, I became NED. For a while I had skin checks every 3 months as you are more likely to develop cancer again in the first 5 years, with that percentage decreasing each passing year. A process that seemed to take forever finally lead me to having skin checks every 6 months. I choose to stay at 6 month appointments due to my age and development of new moles every day.

New moles, new stress

I am now 3 years out from my NED diagnosis when I found 2 new moles on the back of my calf. As I mentioned earlier, I’m still getting most of my moles right now as the continuously develop through my 20’s. These particular new moles were slightly concerning to me as they were in addition to an already present mole in the same birth mark. I have established an awesome relationship with my dermatologist so I sent her an email with a couple of pictures of these new moles to calm my nerves for a couple of weeks until my next appointment, which happened about 3 weeks ago.

When it finally came to my appointment, I insisted she remove it as it was in a weird spot for me to accurately watch. I also found it more difficult to notice a change in shape, size, and color when it was already on a slightly darker surface, my birth mark. She cautioned me not to worry but she would still take it off even though it did not concern her. By now, I know the drill. They take it off, I wear a bandaid and vaseline, and I wait patiently to let it heal. Usually, I hear from them within a couple of days. I didn’t put much thought in to my appointment when I made it but it fell right after a holiday.

The waiting game

I waited patiently 6 days after the appointment when I had enough of losing sleep waiting. I decided to call my doctor’s office to see if I could find out the status of the biopsy. (When I had my first biopsy, I learned the hard way that no news doesn’t necessarily mean good news. I waited 4 weeks to find out that I had melanoma and the reasoning it took so long is because when it is thought to be melanoma, often times they send the sample to another lab for verification.) She let me know it was still processing, to which I had the courage to ask, “If they need to send it on to another pair of eyes at a second lab, will you be informed to tell me?” When the nurse answered that they don’t receive that up-to-date information, I lost a little bit of hope although she let me know that the holiday and a new DermaPathologist could be slowing down the process. Additionally, I was not the only one still waiting on results from that same day, however I could not find peace in any of those answers.

Wishing it really was “just skin cancer”

Sometimes, being a survivor really stinks. Yes, I love to have this life, but I can’t even remember what it’s like to not have these worries. Cancer seriously wasn’t even in my day-to-day vocabulary…until it was. And now it is. And it will be. I love my survivorship and my new found attitude for life with all of my heart. But sometimes I really hate the negative sides that come from life after cancer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I don’t have life with cancer, but I do wish it was “Just skin cancer” like many suggest. Sometimes I wish I just didn’t acknowledge my cancer survivorship so I could try to get back to the worry-free life I once had. I’m 23 and I struggle with the statistics that I am still growing the majority of my moles. I’m at an age that it is very normal to get new and growing moles. I’m also in a mental state that new and growing moles are anything BUT normal. Some days I just look in the mirror or look down my arms and think, “UGH. Not today,” and look away.

I received results 9 days after my biopsy that everything was fine, and now all I think about is my PetScan in 20 days and the hopeful overall peace that will bring to my mind. Cancer scares are very real and very awful. But we keep on keeping on.

Thank you to all those that read, I’m sorry that you have the same feelings/experiences/scares!!! We are in this together!!!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (2)
  • riley0003
    3 days ago

    It is so frightening to see a new mole or sore after going through melanoma. I get panicky and it’s hard to be objective. I’ve had 4 biopsies on separate moles following my diagnosis, and 2 were basal cell and 2 were completely benign. I’m glad for this – but still very nervous and anxious.

  • Nina M moderator
    3 days ago

    It is so completely understandable to feel this way, @riley0003. While the fear and anxiety will probably always be there, I hope hearing that others understand can be a bit of comfort.

    If you ever want some further reading, these two articles talk about a range of our advocate’s reactions, and how they try to cope: https://skincancer.net/life-with-skin-cancer/advocates-mental-health-recurrence-risk/ and https://skincancer.net/life-with-skin-cancer/advocates-treatment-recurrence-positivity/.

    Please reach out anytime you need! Even if the results turn out quite treatable, it’s still okay to need help and support! – Nina, SkinCancer.net Team

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