The date is June 13, 2018. I had just finished a session with my dermatologist. We meet twice a year for a full body check. It's what Melanoma survivors are supposed to do. Everything was fine. See you in December.
The date is June 20, 2018. I found this mark on my toe. Just one week after my body check appointment. ONE WEEK!! Naturally, it couldn't have shown up a week earlier. Naturally.
I spent a couple of days checking this out. Is it a bruise? Is it Melanoma? I went to Google. Hmmm....looks like a bruise. Hmmm...also looks like Melanoma.
What should I do??
My current dermatologist, Dr. Em, is very good. She'd have the answer. The problem is because she is so good, it's hard to get into to see her. New patients have been told that she doesn't have openings for a year. I didn't want to wait that long so I figured a trip to my primary doc would be a good start.
He took a look at my foot and told me this, "Hmmm...could be a bruise. It could be Melanoma. Hard to tell. Wait a month, come back and we'll see if it changes." Well thanks, man. Very helpful. But that's what I did.
A month later, I checked in. Same thing. He couldn't tell....and he recommended I set up an appointment with a dermatologist. Once again, thanks man. Very helpful. But that's what I did.
I called Dr. Em's office and we found a date....in September....with her physician's assistant. I told you she was busy.
The date is September 6, 2018. The PA is looking at my toe. She's not sure if it's a bruise or Melanoma. She's going to get Dr. Em. Maybe she'll know. Guess what....she didn't. Again, very helpful. But she did have an idea. "We'll take a picture now, have you come back in six week, compare the photos and see if it's healing. If it is, fine. If not, we'll get a biopsy."
Okay, that sounds good to me because to biopsy a thingy under a toenail sounds really fucking painful....and Dr. Em confirmed that it would be. I got the hell out of her office before she could change her mind.
The date is October 17, 2018. Yesterday. Six weeks have passed. I'm back for another meeting with Dr. Em. Time to take another picture of my toe. I can't tell any difference from the last time but she can. "It's healing. Go home and be happy."
Really? You're sure? "I did go to med school; but we can do that painful biopsy if you like?" Noooooooo, nooooo, nooooo! I'll just go home, be happy and see you in December for that body check thing.
Phew! All of this is a good thing, even if it did take four months to get an answer. Plus, there's a actual teaching moment in all of this:
I'm pretty well versed in what is Melanoma and what is not. I looked at this and had no idea.
My primary doctor looked at it and had no idea.
The Physician's Assistant looked at it and had no idea.
The expert dermatologist, who sees this stuff every day, had no idea.
If we don't know, how is the average person with no experience in this supposed to know? You aren't!! That's why you need to do a body check every month to look for suspicious changes in your skin. If you see something you aren't sure about, get in to see your dermatologist. And even if you don't, see a dermatologist every year for a body check.
That's my story and my public service announcement for the day! Better safe than sorry, right? Now let's take care of this new kidney stone. Hmmm....who should I call?
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Filed under: Melanoma