Patients Skin cancer
Daily life with skin cancer
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In January 2009, I noticed a new mole on my left cheek. As I have loads of moles all over my body, sort of join the dots style, I didn't give it a thought. In August 2009 however, it became a little crusty and started to bleed, only very slightly. It was still only small, perhaps less than a centimetre, but my friend nagged me until I went to the GP about it.
He too thought it too small to worry about, but as it had gone from zero to bleeding in only eight months, he thought I should let a dermatologist look at it. I attended the hospital and again, the dermatologist didn't think it was really a problem but ordered a biopsy just to be sure.
When the results came back it was cancerous. I was completely floored, I had not expected this. I had to go back and have the rest of the melanoma removed. I was told that there was good and bad news - the good news was that they felt 100% sure they had got it all - the bad news was that this was jst as well, because there was no other treatment for it - just surgery.
I had the stitches out some days later, but that night, I turned over in bed and felt something wet on my cheek. I popped the bedside light on and was shocked to see my fingers bright red with blood - I dived to the bathroom and there was a gaping wound down the side of my face, the whole wound had opened up and was splitting and becoming larger.
It was now 3 a.m. - A & E here we come! They quickly determined that due to the depth and size of the wound, they would have to get me patched up by the maxillofacial unit, so they transferred me there. They did an absolutely amazing job and managed to patch me up. The stitches were left in even longer this time to try and make sure it didn't split again. I do have a scar almost from cheekbone to jaw, but it is really faint and does not show under long hair.
The cold bothers it sometimes, it can ache in the cold and we think it might have started this facial nerve pain I am now suffering as it is on the same side. It is thought to be either trigeminal neuralgia or temporomandibular disorder - still being investigated.
The following year another mole just above my left breast started crusting and bleeding. I was referred quickly this time and had another biopsy - this time it was pre-cancerous.
I went through a period of jumping at every shadow - every mole was scrutinized and photographed - I had to stop my phototherapy for my psoriasis as it was not allowed now, and brought wide brimmed hats, never went out without sleeves and generally flapped a little.
Now, 5 years since the last problem, I have settled down again and am not expecting every mole to start doing nasty things. I still watch the sun though, and never sit out without a large hat and heaps of heavy duty sun cream.
I never was a sunbather or sunbed person, but I did live on a boat for 5 years. You are much more in touch with the elements when living on a boat and I can only assume this was a contributory factor.
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