My Mother Has Melanoma Cancer in Three Places

Melanoma Cancer

Melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the skin cells called melanocytes (cells that color the skin).
Melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the skin cells called melanocytes (cells that color the skin).
Malignant Melanoma
Malignant Melanoma
My Mother: 82 years young; dances Sunday and sings, Monday plays golf, Tuesday dances, Wednesday drives 80 miles round trip to dance, Thursday, Friday and sometimes Saturday dances at Madonna's. Raised very poor, now wealthy including possessions..
My Mother: 82 years young; dances Sunday and sings, Monday plays golf, Tuesday dances, Wednesday drives 80 miles round trip to dance, Thursday, Friday and sometimes Saturday dances at Madonna's. Raised very poor, now wealthy including possessions..


A Stitch in Time Saves Nine & Your Life...

My way of dealing with anxiety is to share my angst. My mother who I have been writing about has become quiet. We took a walk along the beach at Pismo Beach, California. She had a large bandage on her neck and a small reddish circular cavity on her nose. I asked her, “What happened?” She nonchalantly replied, “I had three skin cancers taken off.” I have had melanoma skin cancer removed and asked her if they were melanoma cancer. She replied, “Don’t worry, it is OK.”

Since I am a melanoma cancer survivor, I know that there are three types of cancers that account for virtually 100% of skin cancers. The non-melanomatous skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Malignant melanoma is the third, and most deadly, type of skin cancer. When they remove melanoma cancer, they remove a huge amount of material. It usually is about a three inch diameter hole then they stitch back to make a straight-line scar.

I asked how come they did not take more material out where the cavity is on her nose. She replied, “The specialist who does that will do it next week. It is a cosmetic surgery and requires skin graft.” I asked her again what type of cancer, “Are they melanoma?” She replied, yes.”

My mother is a feisty red head with fair skin. She has worked as a youth in the fields picking grapes, fruit and farm labor. She was “dirt poor.” The exposure to the sun had created this monster. This is the second time she has developed melanoma cancer as well as the other two types of skin cancers.

Survivors of invasive melanoma have an increased risk of developing subsequent primary cancers due to a number of factors, including impaired immunological status, genetic susceptibility, and behavioral issues.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer, and people with fair skin and light eyes whose skin has a tendency to burn easily in the sun are most susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be detected in their early stages since skin tumors are more visible than tumors of the internal organs. Not until the biopsy is done on the second (first time skin material removed, was when melanoma cancer was discovered requiring much more material be removed) procedure, I will know the melanoma cancer was removed before it spreads throughout her body. Should this occur, my world as I know it will drastically change…

Hopefully, within a week from today, we will hear great news that all three melanoma cancer sites were removed completely…

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes (area just below skin surface). Because most of these cells still make melanin, melanoma tumors are often brown or black. But this is not always the case, and melanomas can also have no color. Melanoma most often starts on the trunk (chest or back) in men and on the legs of women, but it can start in other places, too. Having dark skin lowers the risk of melanoma. But it does not mean that a person with dark skin will never get melanoma.

Melanoma can almost always be cured in its early stages. But it is likely to spread to other parts of the body if it is not caught early. Melanoma is much less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers (described below), but it is far more dangerous.

Melanoma is one of the most common cancers. The chance of developing it increases with age, but this disease affects people of all ages. It can occur on any skin surface. In men, melanoma is often found on the trunk (the area between the shoulders and the hips) or the head and neck. In women, it often develops on the lower legs. Melanoma is rare in black people and others with dark skin. When it does develop in dark-skinned people, it tends to occur under the fingernails or toenails, or on the palms or soles.

When melanoma spreads, cancer cells may show up in nearby lymph nodes. Groups of lymph nodes are found throughout the body. Lymph nodes trap bacteria, cancer cells, or other harmful substances that may be in the lymphatic system. If the cancer has reached the lymph nodes, it may mean that cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body such as the liver, lungs, or brain. In such cases, the cancer cells in the new tumor are still melanoma cells, and the disease is called metastatic melanoma.

Surgery is generally not effective in controlling melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body. In such cases, doctors may use other methods of treatment, such as chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these methods.

Time is very important. Melanoma if removed in time is highly successfully treatable/cured. Do yourself a favor and do the following…

What steps are involved in performing a skin self-exam?

The best time to do a skin self-exam is after a shower or bath. You should check your skin in a well-lighted room using a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror. It's best to begin by learning where your birthmarks, moles, and blemishes are and what they usually look and feel like.

Check for anything new:

•A new mole (that looks abnormal)

•A change in the size, shape, color, or texture of a mole

•A sore that does not heal

Check yourself from head to toe. Don't forget to check all areas of the skin, including the back, the scalp, between the buttocks, and the genital area.

1. Look at your face, neck, ears, and scalp. You may want to use a comb or a blow dryer to move your hair so that you can see better. You also may want to have a relative or friend check through your hair because this is difficult to do yourself.

2. Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror, then raise your arms and look at your left and right sides.

3. Bend your elbows and look carefully at your fingernails, palms, forearms (including the undersides), and upper arms.

4. Examine the back, front, and sides of your legs. Also, look between your buttocks and around your genital area.

5. Sit and closely examine your feet, including the toenails, the soles, and the spaces between the toes. By checking your skin regularly, you will become familiar with what is normal for you. It may be helpful to record the dates of your skin exams and to write notes about the way your skin looks. If you find anything unusual, see your doctor right away.

PS

My mother has had her successful surgery! She is doing great! All of the cancers were removed. Everything is shifting back to "normal." A great ending...! We danced last night with her nose in stitches. She has stitches from her corner of her eye down to the tip of her nose... With no bandage, she stands tall. Most people are not aware of her surgery! Great ending to life's challenges and opportunities...

book: www. eyeswideshutanenigma dot com

or enter into Google: Eyes Wide Shut: An enigma

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Comments 51 comments

Diane hamilton 6 years ago

Tell my Auntie I am saying prayers for a clean report! She is a fighter and the mental , spiritual state of a person count VERY much towards success too.! Meditate and focus in on these invaders and order them GONE. But ABOVE ALL...tell her I LOVE her. Great info on here!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Thanks Diane..! I will...


kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Oh I am so sorry to hear that. I wish her all the best and a full recovery. You have written this Hub very well though.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

kaltopsyd,

Fingers crossed. She is very tough and resilient... Thanks.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I wish you and your mother well. My neighbor from Brazil, also fair of skin is a melanoma survivor like your mother, and walking proof this can be beaten. I will include her in my prayers -- what is her name? I'd like to have another title than Dallas' Mom. Lynda

PS She is a beautiful woman.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Lynda, Thanks. Her name is Glenda. I am sure she will beat this too. It is the "not knowing" that presents the angst... She has one on her neck, by her ear... this one concerns me. The lymph nodes are near her jaw...


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

dallas-I am also putting Glenda on my prayer list. I really appreciate the clearly written information on this cancer. I have had a couple friends with this and they are doing great. You are a great example of hope and survival of skin cancer. Please keep us posted.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

So sorry to hear about your Mum, Dallas, and I hope that the news will be good. Very useful information about melanoma


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

CMHypno, I am eagerly counting the days until the biopsy comes back... Thanks!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Minnetonka Twin, Thanks I need all the help I can muster...


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Thank you for this very informative Hub, and Heartfelt too...You are probably saving lives by sharing your hope & concern. Putting Glenda on our Healing list


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

LillyGrillzit, My hope is others will take a proactive self-examination and have an annual checkup by their doctor. "A stitch in time save nine," and perhaps your life... Thanks for the prayers... Hope to get positive biopsy end of this week...


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I will maintain the most postive thoughts of healing and a light heart as your mother makes her way through this. She is a lovely and inspiring lady. Thanks for sharing her with us.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

katiem2, Thanks. Appreciate it.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

dallas very sorry to hear about your mom. Yet she reads as a tough redhead and I am confident all will end well. I to had a mild case of skin cancer on the side of my face up near my left eye.

It was brownish and the doctor examined it and told me it was a mild form of skin cancer caused from the sun. I spent a lot of time in the sun with the left side of my head exposed while I drove for long periods of time.

He removed it and left about a half inch scar in it's place. One has to stay watchful as they can return. I will keep your mom in my prayers thank you for giving us her full name. Peace my friend.


World-Traveler profile image

World-Traveler 6 years ago from USA

I understand. This is a difficult time. With the modern cures now available I think this too will pass. My prayers are with both you and your mother. She is fortunate to have you for emotional and spiritual support.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

saddlerider1, Thanks! Chances are it will be fine. The process for skin cancer is to have a questionable area removed. Normally they remove enough the first time and that is the end. With melanoma, they call you back and remove a 3" diameter chunk and have it biopsied. If they got all of it removed, no problem... My mother has not received her results yet from the second procedure. It is is not all removed... It present options that include chemical treatments that are not very successful... One is on her nose... The other is on her neck by her ear, the other is on her shoulder. The shoulder is the "best" place to have a "problem" because the lymph nodes are in located in the arm pit. The nose present a challenge because the brain is behind it... The neck is a challenge because the lymph nodes are in her lower jaw... Both present a high risk...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

World-Traveler, Thanks I appreciate it...


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Your mother is beautiful and courageous Dallas. She is an inspiration and I will pray for her and for you as well as "visulizing" a positive outcome. Very good hub, informative and personal. God bless...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

vocalcoach, Each of us have our on way to cope, "deal" with challenges. Obviously my mother is very important to me and a friend. I have learned a lot about myself writing about her past. She is an inspiration. My purpose in sharing my angst is partly selfish, to make me able to cope, but also to educate others. Thanks for your prayers. There is more than anecdotal evidence that prayers make a difference; scientific evidence support that prayers work. In addition, I have faith... There is an author that I recommend that investigates "intent." Lynne McTaggart combines first-class investigative reporting with rare scientific acumen, providing compelling evidence that our "intent" (faith) thoughts and intentions make a difference.


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

thank-you for this valuable informative hub, I pray that your mom will get better soon. Thank-you for sharing this with others.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

dawnM, Good news; mostly... as of today, 10/14/2010 - two of the cancers were completed excised. No problems. The third is scheduled for plastic surgery with a positive expectation from her doctor. She feels good about the outcome and I am slowly letting out my breath... Breathe in, breathe out.... Next week the last surgery is scheduled...


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

I am so happy to hear that dallas that is great news!!!!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

dawnM, Thanks! Great news indeed...


ExpandYourMind profile image

ExpandYourMind 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Thanks for relaying this vital information, Dallas. You willingness to share you and your Mom's experiences will help many others. I hope for a full recovery for your Mom.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

ExpandYourMind, My purpose is to make a positive experience for myself and others. Life is about how we respond to "challenges." Thanks. I hope this episode will be over by the end of this week. The pre-surgery meeting went well.


metaphysician profile image

metaphysician 6 years ago

I'm sorry to learn about your mom's news. I hope that she will be fine eventually and my prayers go to her. I could feel that she is quite optimistic and that's the essence of life that makes everything great!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

metaphysician, You 100% correct! I know she will be fine... It is the finale of acceptance and the doctor confirming my "feelings."


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Hope Glenda is doing well now. Has the last surgery been done? Positive thoughts and prayers to you and her.

Love and peace

Tony


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

tonymac04, the last surgery will be Wednesday (10/27/2010). First one surgeon removes more tissue and then the plastic surgeon does re-constructive work. Thanks!


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 6 years ago from Arizona

Wishing for the best, hope and pray all has gone well.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Jeremey, Today, Friday, October 29th I spent the day with my mother driving 600 miles round trip to my cousin's funeral. We discussed the status as of today. She is concerned about my reaction to my knowing and understanding the facts. Between her "confused, scared, and concerned state, I have not received the "full disclosure."

The facts as I know them:

Two melanoma cancers were successfully removed. The one on her nose was as I had indicated earlier was removed. However, not enough material was removed. Melanoma cancer is a deadly fast growing cancer. Aggressive measure are taken to eradicate. She finally told me the "rest of the story" in terms of the seriousness of the procedure. It requires two surgeons. The first removes all of the indicated melanoma cancer. After my mother has been completely "put under anesthesia." The second surgeon is a plastic surgeon to reconstruct and repair the results of the large area removed from the mid-section on her left side of her nose. The melanoma cancer is about the size of a blue berry.

The procedure is schedule to take "about half of the morning." The procedure is scheduled November 12, 2010.

She cannot dance, consume a long list of foods that could cause blood thinning and a lot of other restrict activities for a MONTH! This has got her attention. She has been assured, the end result, she will look "normal."

My sister and I will be with her during the surgery and make sure she is a "compliant" patient...


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Wishing you and your Mom all the best. I'll send a prayer your way. Keep us updated.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

suziecat7, Thanks! I am sure everything will be OK. My desire and intent is to share my angst so others may learn and get those medical skin cancer check ups...


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 6 years ago

May she have a rafuah shlemah - a complete healing in mind, body and spirit. She is looking young and vibrant.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Debby Bruck,

Thanks! appreciate your comments.


gulam farid 6 years ago

I am so happy to see your comment on my hub Cagsil. You have really made my day great. I appreciate your comments. May you have a nice day too.


riaz hussin45 6 years ago

Didnt know one of those, thanks for the list, good backlinking


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

gulam farid,

Thanks! An update: My mother had pre-op conference and medical exam yesterday. Other than her Thanksgiving plans must be cancelled, everything else is OK.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

riaz hussin45,

Knowledge is power. Learning is part of the process...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

My mother has had her successful surgery! She is doing great! All of the cancer was removed. Everything is shifting back to "normal." A great ending...! We danced last night with her nose in stitches. She has stitches from her corner of her eye down to the tip of her nose... With no bandage, she stands tall. Most people are not aware of her surgery! Great ending to life's challenges and opportunities...


Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 6 years ago from Arizona

Dallas that's just awesome news! I had to come back and see. So glad all is well, your mothers strenght and courage is an inspiration to all!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Jeremey,

Thanks! I share my mother with the world! I am proud of her! I look forward to sharing Thanksgiving with her and my sister, Rachel... Both are outstanding.


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 5 years ago

Glad to hear the happy ending! Melanoma is scary and the information you provide here could save a life.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

mulberry1,

Education is my goal; to make a difference...

Thanksgiving was shared with my mom and extended family and was great.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I've somehow missed out on these trials and triumphs of your amazing Mom. Tell her I am so happy that she has successfully overcome the invaders. And this has made me more aware, too. So thank you, Dallas.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Happy New Year!

Our awareness may save our lives! I appreciate your comments. Thanks!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

God Bless your mother Dallas. I am sure the Lord will watch over her. I really hope it all works out. I am not sure if this type comes back. Thank you for sharing this information, very useful. I am sure it will help many others. Great article. Best to you and your family.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

thelyricwriter,

There is a good ending to this! My mother is OK!

I wanted top share as the drama unfolded... Hoping others would benefit...


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin

So, your Mom is okay? I am so happy about that! My Mom is my absolute TREASURE! She is 83 and I can't imagine life without her. This hub was so well written, Dallas93444. You were also very thorough in your research and the knowledge you shared. Thanks.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

pedrn44,

Sandi...Your medical background shows! Thanks!

Dallas

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