Not something you really want to do, but better to get things sorted than leave them!
I found that a mole on my leg had changed and took it to the doctor. By the end of next day I had seen a consultant and had the mole removed! About two weeks later I went back for the next hospital appointment and was told that they had removed a melanoma. Although it was not very deep, it was recommended that they remove a larger and deeper area of skin round the mole to make sure that all the cancer cells had been removed and also that they carry out a “sentinel node biopsy”. This means that they remove a lymph node or two which drain the melanoma area and look at it to make sure that the cancer has not spread.
It wasn’t urgent, so I had the operation about 2 months later, after everyone had had their holiday and not immediately after the doctors all change their posts! It was supposed to be day surgery, but as there was no-one to look after me it was arranged that I would stay in overnight. That was a good thing as the wound where the extra skin was removed started bleeding and had to be re-opened and sealed. That bit was under a local anaesthetic whereas the earlier bit (especially the sentinel node biopsy) was under a general anaesthetic.
I was discharged the next day and friends, especially K, were very supportive and took me places and helped with shopping. It took me longer than I expected to get my energy back and it was 3 weeks before I could drive and go to the gym again and 2 months before I started doing anything serious there. It took about 6 months before I got back to the programme I had before the operation – but maybe I didn’t try that hard!
Apart from two scars, everything now is back to normal – except that I will be going for check-ups for the next 5 years. The most annoying part of that is the large parking charges at the hospital and that one can wait a long time for about a five minute appointment! Also travel insurance needs either a medical questionnaire or to accept not being covered for any effect of the cancer.
Would I recommend it? Well certainly I would recommend going to the doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you go the less that needs to be done! If I had left my mole then it might have spread. On the other hand, operations are not to be recommended if you don’t need them!
I was also very much supported by friends and their prayers, and knowing that was very good.