Update - Surgery Details

I wanted to provide an update to my previous post re my diagnosis, so here is a recap of my recent doctor visits at Dana Farber and upcoming surgery details.

Both Jim and Chrissy had the great suggestion that I go to Dana Farber for a second opinion regarding my diagnosis, the pathology report, and the surgery.  I felt very unsure about going with MGH for the surgery, especially considering how I received the original diagnosis through the patient portal. Moreover, I felt the body scan at MGH was rushed and they didn't pay very much attention. I also thought that they took the whole diagnosis/surgery very lightly and didn't seem to really care.

Now I know, I went to the surgical oncology department at MGH and they deal with some really serious cases. I am SUPER thankful that I am not one of those serious cases. However, it is serious to me. I needed a little more from the doctors and surgeons there - and I wasn't getting that. My original surgery was scheduled for last Friday, 7/26 at MGH. However, I ended up rescheduling it with Dana Farber on 8/15. I appreciate all the calls/texts/messages last Friday though. Here's why I decided to go with DF....

Thankfully Chrissy was in town last week. Since she knows her stuff when it comes to skin health, she and I visited the Dana Farber Cancer Institute for the first time. Surprisingly, it was a very good experience.

We went in and quickly met with the fellow first. We went over family history, the lab report briefly, and other tips and tricks to avoid sun exposure. Naturally, she went over SPF lotions, SPF clothing, and other typical topics. However, she also focused on SUN AVOIDANCE. I felt that this was really necessary and obvious - yet no one really says that. She suggested going to the beach in the mornings or evenings, staying in the shade (umbrella or tent) or completely avoiding the sun altogether which is difficult, but she made it sound easy. We also talked about the new sunscreen craze with the "no more use of spray sunscreen".

After a bunch of questions and suggestions, and after the whole body scan, she then advised the the Dermatologist would come in to check out my body as well and go over more about the melanoma. She asked if it was okay if she came in with a few students, usually about 4-5 people. I of course said it was fine. I am not kidding when I tell you the room was full with about 8 people, not including Chrissy and I. It was hilarious. Everyone was looking at my body under a microscope. I felt good about it though! I felt like if there was anything additional that was suspicious, it would be found.  I joked that I didn't think I have had that many people in a small room since I had the twins.

Here's an updated pic of my leg -

A few days after the consultation at DF, I met with the surgeon Dr. Yoon. He was FANTASTIC.  He drew different diagrams and really explained what is going on - how he things I acquired the cancer and how the surgery will go down. He explained that some people have melanoma-prone moles, mostly "dysplastic nevi". These are often are flat, irregular or assymetric moles. They occur primarily on sun-exposed skin, but also in areas that do not see any sun. Typically, these people have a first-degree relative with melanoma (I do not, which is about 1% - 2% of the population).  Rather, I have close relatives with melanoma, but not my immediate family. So essentially, he said it is a genetic condition. He agreed with MGH that once the surgery is done, I will have a very small (practically 0%) chance of having melanoma in the same area again. Yet, I have a considerably higher chance of developing melanoma in another area of my body. 

I thought he was great and personable, not to mention I loved the doctor on Monday, so we went ahead and scheduled the surgery for Thursday, August 15 at Dana Farber. I am feeling really good about it.


In other non-medical news, we are having a great summer. We have been able to get down the Cape a ton, and we even drove up to Maine for a few days to visit my friends Julie and Katie. AND we had Chrissy and Lindsey's baby shower at our house! (blog post pending!).

We've had tons of fun with the boys. They started using their golf clubs in the backyard - taking a few swings at a time. We have gone swimming a bunch in friends' pools, and had fun in the neighborhood with the friends next door.

Aunties Chrissy and Lindsey gave the boys sparklers while they were here last weekend. Conor LOVED it, Cal was curious, and Caden liked to watch. ;) I love all their different personalities...and the fact that no one except Lindsey and Chrissy are wearing pants! Hahaha...

All for now! Will keep you all updated on the progress...



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