Back to the Dermatologist
This week was another three month skin check with the dermatologist. And as much as I’d like to say all was well, I can’t, yet.
When I was in Bethesda in November, the doctor there (a neurologist who is running the Parkinson’s Disease study group looking for early biomarkers) did a quick physical, and commented on my ‘Mark of Zorro’ scar at the melanoma site on my back. It’s the first time I’d been back to Bethesda, and he hadn’t seen the scars before. It was the nurse practitioner in Bethesda who first suspected skin cancer of some sort, and that was eighteen months before this past visit (which is, as it turns out, my last visit to their site.)
He noted that there was an emerging new spot on the Z-shaped melanoma scar that looked suspicious, and asked me to have the dermatologist take a look at it. And so when we went into Brighton this week, the dermatologist agreed that it warranted another biopsy.
The same thing had happened three months ago with the melanoma site on my forearm. He did a biopsy there, and it came back showing melanocytic nevi, which he explained were cells about to become melanoma. He did a second biopsy right away on the site (actually, a double biopsy each time, as there were two emerging spots on my forearm’s scar) and the second repeat biopsy showed that he had reached the outer edges of the nevi and reached clear tissue.
Optimistically, he’ll do the same with this site. As he hasn’t called in four days, it’s possible that with this biopsy he’s already reached clear tissue and there is no need to go further for now. That would be the good news. The down side is that we continue to find sites to be concerned with, including the sites we’d already surgically dealt with. He said with these repetitions he’s unwilling to move me to a six month schedule of skin checks; we agreed to four months for the next visit instead of three, with the understanding that if I or another doctor spot anything, I’m to schedule earlier.
And so I will. If I hear anything from the dermatologist when I call in on Monday, I’ll update here again. But for now, the biopsy site is beginning to heal; Rick is doing his fine work with the wound care, and the discomfort is minimal. Bless him. And the antidepressants are doing their thing, for this round of suspicion has not provoked any anxiety in me. I guess I have normalized the routine. Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis has definitely taken a back seat to Recurrent Malignant Melanoma.