Today is the one year anniversary of my WLE (wide local excision) to remove a 3 cm margin of tissue and muscle from my right calf where my melanoma was. I just posted on Black is the New Pink blog a response to Al's blog "Does Melanoma Hurt? Here is what I said.
"I didn't answer the facebook question "Does Melanoma hurt?" Like Chelsea mentioned, the emotional pain is the worst. But also, Gigi said, the incisional pain is still there to remind you that you have been in battle. The scars are there to remind us to be ever vigilant. Both physical scars and emotional ones. My incision still hurts one year after surgery (today, March 31st). Especially when it gets cold. Your blog reminds me that I'm terribly remiss in keeping mine up to date. My friend Bobbie with the ocular melanoma - stage 4 - is on the precipice of life ever after. That's been terribly emotionally consuming. Always makes me shudder "will that be me some day?" There again, emotional pain.
Keep posting and blogging. You touch us, even though you don't have melanoma. Your brother had it, and that's close to your soul."
I took some pics on this momentous anniversary and compare them to my initial surgery pics. The scar looks very well healed. Still a little messy looking right where the "golf-ball sized" hole was. But I had 2 infections there, so all in all, looks good.
5 days post op
1st dressing change
I almost fainted lol
all very colourful
3 weeks post op
removed all the small stitches
left in the huge ones to try to keep the holes closed
open areas eventually got infected
had to take 2 rounds of heavy antibiotics
to finally clear it up
One year post-op
Most of incision looks really good
The messy part in the middle is where the golf ball sized hole was
There were 2 infections there, so no nice neatly healed incision line
Still looks ok
This pic was taken 3 weeks post op to show what a huge chunk they took out of my leg
Tissue, muscle, skin - looks like a shark bite
When they said a 3 cm margin, I was expecting a 3 cm incision
But they meant 3 cm in all directions
Then to close it up they had to make an 8 inch incision to accomplish that
I was shocked
One year later, it sure has filled in a lot!!! Pleasantly surprised!!!
Can't complain, except I still do occasionally. lol. The scar area does still hurt, esp. when I bump it or someone bumps it accidentally (my hubby usually). I have numb areas below the incision line that will likely always be numb. That's ok. As long as the beast never again rears it's ugly head, I can live with that. I am so very lucky and so very blessed. I truly did "Dodge a Bullet". But I will be ever vigilant and be ever educating people that think "won't happen to me", "I'm too young to have cancer", "it's only skin cancer, you cut it out and you'll be fine". Tell this to Bobbie, or Samantha, or Eric, or Steve or any other of the thousands of warriors that are out there who have lost their battle or are dealing with Stage 3 and 4 Melanoma. Respect must be given to this taker of lives. New stats show that Melanoma is the cancer that has the highest mortality rate. 75% of all cancer deaths are from Melanoma. 75%!!!!
We have to stay ever strong in getting our message out there. There has been lots of evidence lately that people are listening. There has been a public outcry and support of the cause. Stay strong. Bond together. The mole-mates community is a force to be reckoned with.
Can't let this anniversary pass with out thanks to God for keeping me healthy and safe. Thanks to my family: my husband, children, mom, grandmother, brother and everyone connected to us for keeping me safe and connected to earth. And very special thanks to Laurie!!! My rock. Without her I would have surely gone insane. Happy Anniversary to me!!!!!!!!!!! And many more!!!!!!!!!!!!!