Once a patient, always a patient

“Ugh….I just finally stopped being scared.” “ I will get checked. I just hate it. I feel uncomfortable every time.”

                After having an in-situ melanoma removed a friend of mine thought she was done. Unfortunately, this is still just the beginning. No treatments other than the cosmetic repairs that were needed. But an understanding the risk level she is now, and the regular skin checks she will need to have. Every time, worried that another spot may be a found, and a positive diagnosis will be given. There are theories on what and how melanoma is triggered. It is almost certain that it takes a combination of things to create a melanoma. And having had a single diagnosis means you must have had all the ingredients at some point and are probably still carrying them.

                Most cancer, in a simplistic description, is to many of some cell continuing to multiply at exponential rates. Thus, flooding an organ and causing a disruption which affects the whole body. With melanoma regular skin exams can usually catch these events before becoming complete disasters. Here is an analogy most people will relate to:

                You use your toilet and flush it before going to bed. AS you lay down you still hear the water running. You enter the bathroom to find the tank just about to spill over and shut of the water just in time. You flush again and wait but it works normally. But for the next month you continue to wait and check before leaving in case it happens again. One morning when running late you do not wait and run off to work. You get home later and find it had been running all day. I was confined to the bathroom for the most part and with a shop vac, towels, a mop, and some sweat equity you manage to get the bathroom back to normal. You inspect the floor and do not find and soft spots. No major damage. Disaster averted. But say you had gone on a month-long vacation. The overfill would have flooded the whole house. Carpet, flooring, drywall, and many possessions ruined. A major disaster needing a major renovation.

                Regular skin checks, prevention, awareness, and vigilance are the key to survival and averting a major disaster. Do not let fear prevent you from saving your own life.