My Experience With Melanoma-in-situ and Skin Graft
hi thanks for taking the time to do your blog. I have found it very helpful, like you i wasnt given a lot of information. I was done on 2o/12/12. Mine is very similar to yours. Thanks again.
I am so glad this blog has been helpful. Thank you for taking the time to comment!
Thank you so much for writing this blog. I happened upon it while researching care of skin grafts/scars/makeup application, etc. I had my MOHS surgery on Dec 4th for basal cell along the side of my nose (diagnosed in October). A very large defect closed with FTSG from my clavicle. Your blog is very inspirational for me. You are a beautiful woman wrapped around a loving spirit and you give us a great blessing by sharing your story with us. Be wellLynn
Lynn, I appreciate your kind words so much! I read your note aloud to my husband. Wishing you well as your skin heals.
I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences and pictures. It was very comforting. I am going to have melanoma surgery and a skin graft on my forehead very much like yours in a few weeks and was scared - not so much now after reading your blog. You look beautiful! You must be thrilled with how far you've come and also happy to have your health back. I do have one question - I noticed you have horses. So do I. How long do you think it will take until I am able to do barn chores again? I am contemplating boarding the horses if there will be a very long healing period, to avoid having horse care be a burden to my family. Thank you and have a wonderful shady day. Leah
Hi Quiet One,Well, we are all grateful you haven't been a quiet one, blog wise! Somehow I have just discovered your blog despite the fact that I had my first melanoma in situ, a tiny little freckle on my cheek (Stage 1, thankfully) removed in November, 2009. We must have been going through this at pretty much the same time; mine was restructured with a flap however instead of a graft and eventually looked pretty good-until I noticed couple of tiny dots of pigment last month along the scar line. Both turned out to be melanoma again. This time rather than going to a local, very well respected plastic surgeon in our college town of about 40,000, my dermatologist sent me to the big city a couple of hours away to a skin cancer specialist who has a big four story building and a huge practice devoted entirely to skin cancer. Today, April 22, he took the big chunk out, about the size of a large bottle cap, maybe a little bigger and will wait for the path results. He is a MOHS specialist but felt this warranted the wide excision since it was a double reoccurence. Rather than using the MOHS stain technique, it was placed in parafin which supposedly will be more accurate to make sure there are no stray cells lurking. I will go to his partner, a plastic surgeon, who will do a graft and put me back together on May 9. Oh, yea, I get to wear the big white bundle of bandage for 17 days, packing it with vaseline and keeping it sealed so it won't "heal" itself in the meantime. It's not as scary this time around because I have already experienced this once but what a pain to deal with. . . again. But given all the worse things that could happen to me, I will continue to be positive yet irritated! :-) It's been quite a year. . . since last April, arthroscopic knee surgery with poor results, then a total knee replacement in June, totalled my car (well someone else ran a light and totalled it for me!)in October, other knee replaced in November, inadvertantly discovered a stuck kidney stone which refuses to break up (2 centimeters!) now this. I'm afraid to say, "gee what else could go wrong!" All in all, it's all been stuff that can be handled and isn't life threatening as long as I take care of business. Guess it's all a part of that getting old thing-turn 63 on Friday!In any event, even though I've found your blog just recently when I was googling melanoma in situ graft, that I found you. What a wealth of info you have shared with so many people, a true testament to your willingness to tell your story and in doing so, reassure so many that they are not in this alone. Even this week, it gave me some ideas about some questions to be sure to ask before my graft. Now. . . off to bed to see if that CPAP is going to be compatible with my big ole bandage! Thanks again. . . and continued good luck to you.
Thank you BZTX! I wish you didn't have to go through that again. Sounds as though you've been through more than enough already. Must have been very disappointing (and scary) to find dots of pigment there again -- that's a worry of mine. Your positive outlook is a very good. I just received a note yesterday from someone who is only 34 years old going through a similar procedure on her face. I'm pleased that my blog has been helpful. I wish you all the best. Big bandage and all! Happy Birthday Friday.
Thanks for the support. Nurse called Friday to tell me to return this Tuesday to let him carve out another half centimeter since the margins were not all clear. Then I'll have to wait and see again. If the next path report comes back clear, the graft will be May 9. I am ready to be done with this yet I guess we never really are because of having to vigilant for new or recurring ones. Argh! I have other fish to fry instead of dealing with this! Later...
I have noticed that you wrote about the raised border. Have you ever thought of mechanically dermabrading the edges of the graft? Is there a particular reason that you and the PS chose re-excision of the edges vs. other techniques? Thank you for your blog and your honesty therein. I was trying to find people who have been dealing with scars on their cheeks (like me).
For some reason, the plastic surgeon felt that my scar hadn't "matured" enough for scar revision, or any other technique, until the scar had softened for two years! Felt like such a long time to me. I don't know anything about scar tissue except what I learned about massaging it. They did tell me about dermabrasion, but it is my surgeon's preference to revise the scar by cutting away a small amount of the scar tissue, wait several months to a year for that to heal, cut a small bit away again, etc. until the graft gets smaller. There are risks in that too, since there are no guarantees how the incisions will heal each time. So I decided to only go through this procedure one time to get rid of the thickest section of raised border. The remaining scar has softened enough for me to feel comfortable leaving it alone at this point, and I don't intend to have any further surgery done. If I were more familiar with dermabrasion I may have considered that too. But I'm ok with the scar now.
Hello Quiet One and the rest of you who have posted here. I am so appreciative of your sharing your experience. What a shock it would have been for me if I had not come across your Blog prior to my excision on May 31st, 2013. My next surgery for a skin graft is scheduled for June 10th, though the pathology results are not yet in - hopefully they will arrive the morning of June 10th. I may need additional excision prior to the graft, depending on the results. I am still recovering from the shell shock of seeing the size of the excision on my cheek when they removed the bandage a couple of days ago. Quiet One, I am so touched by your beauty and gentle nature. I decided to go public with my experience, too, and am thankful that your courage inspired me to do so. I have called my Blog www.facing-forward.net
Laurie, Your note means so much to me, because this is exactly the reason why I posted all of these pictures - to give people like you [like us, I should say] some idea what to expect. When we hear the scary news about needing excisions, I think it's natural to start researching immediately. I wasn't able to find anything online prior to my surgery which made that day seem so hugely daunting. The anxiety was nearly unbearable. If I'd known the scar would look fairly good after the passage of time, I probably wouldn't have been as nervous. So thank you very much for your lovely note. I appreciate it so, so much. Thanks for the link to your blog. I will spend more time reading through it this afternoon. By the way, I'm one of those fortunate girls who did have ponies as a girl, and we have a small Welsh pony on our farm now. As a matter of fact, the first conscious thought that came into my mind when I was waking up from my graft surgery was an image of our pony's cute round chestnut rump, oddly enough! I have no idea why that is the first thing I thought of. Makes me laugh when I think of that.
Hello again- thanks for your kind reply. I am so grateful to find someone who understands, and I look forward to staying in touch.
I had my graft surgery yesterday- the pathology results came in early in the morning, indicating that the excision was successful at removing all signs of the melanoma. I decided to have the skin harvested from the top of my thigh/groin area rather than my neck. Now I have the big yellow mushroom on my cheek until next week. It has not been pain free, but I am on the road to recovery. I probably won't go outside in public much this week.I have been wishing for some kind of support group of people with melanoma surgeries on the face, where there is such a visible and long-term effect on appearance. It's not like some surgeries on other parts of the body that can be concealed under clothing. It's right there, for everyone to see. After the excision, when people looked at my bandages, I thought they must be wondering what is going on. Sometimes I wished I could just wear a sign. Other times, I wanted to turn away and hide. I'm trying to imagine what it will be like after next week. Thanks again. I think of you daily with gratitude.
I can relate to everything you wrote today. First of all, it great to hear the excision was successful. It is difficult to face the public with this at first. I wished it had been ANYWHERE else on my body other than my face! And I felt exactly how you did about "people must be wondering what it was." I definitely wanted to turn and hide. It took many months for me to get comfortable in public after this, but I'm a shy person so I'm not comfortable in public anyway. It's not something common, so people generally don't know why someone would have such a large wound on their face...which is why it truly would be helpful to wear a sign sometimes! But everyone was kind, and gradually their stares dwindled and I realized my face didn't look so bad anymore. One woman who went through this recently told me she bought a "Phantom of the Opera" mask which covered that side of her cheek (because she teaches drama classes). In some situations during the first couple of months, a flesh colored bandage/bandaid was how I chose to cover up the startling appearance of the graft, even though the bandage was no longer required. I think you will be amazed by how quickly it changes and heals! In a couple of weeks you will probably see quite an improvement. Nutritious foods will help your skin heal, and from reading your blog I saw that you are a healthy eater already.Thank you for writing. I will be continuing to check your blog from time to time. Feel free to update me here as well.
I really appreciate your kind words, which brought a tear to my eye - the first I have shed throughout this whole ordeal- which I quickly wiped away so it wouldn't wet the pressure bandage! I am counting the hours until I get it taken off- 58 and 1/2 hours from now. We went for a walk this evening, and I couldn't help but watch people glance at me and quickly avert their gaze. We spontaneously stopped at a quiet restaurant, and I had to force myself to go in, as long as I could sit facing the back of the restaurant, with my pressure bandage next to the wall. I am typically not a shy person, yet I find myself avoiding eye contact, and trying not to smile, because it hurts. I am so glad to know from you that things will get better.
I got the pressure bandage off earlier this week. The graft has taken well, according to the Physician's Assistant who removed the bandage. For photos and other details, see my blog at www.facing-forward.net.
i had similar surgery 3 weeks ago, thanks for letting me know i m not alone , have a lot of the same feelings as u had , wearing sunglasses alot, waiting to heal, but mine was bcc.