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Big words and arm pats from the doctor

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fair-skinned people. Higher susceptibility to... yeah, skin cancers. A friend at work had recently had a spot on her arm looked at and frozen. Made me think about this one spot on my own arm which I had sort of become conscious of changing this year. I went in to have the doctor have a look. He did a "punch biopsy". The labs came back yesterday. The fancy long words are Actinic Keratosis. This is a pre-cancerous condition, and needs to be treated, lest it progress to true cancer.

Some of you are probably far more savvy than I am about this kind of thing. But the bottom line is that I will have a little bit of my arm excised in a few weeks. Because the spot isn't just a little mole sized thing, it's about the size of a nickel.

Just a heads up... if any of you need the nudge of "this happened to my friend, I might want to have my own looked at"... you just got it.

I'm OK... what needs to be done will be done. But the doctor kind of patted my arm like he expected I might have trouble with the news. Kind of puzzled me later... am I responding abnormally to be calm, or am I still sort of in denial?

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    I have a family history of melanoma and get checked every 6 months with bits biopsied out from time to time -- you're doing exactly the right thing and that's why you deserve to stay calm!! When they catch it early -- precancer-- it's very treatable. That's exemplary taking care of yourself. All the best!
    2922 days ago
    Both your action and your reaction seem typically sensible Barb. What a good job that you went to the doctor and got this sorted out. Treatments these days are very effective and I'm sure that you'll do well. Thanks for telling your story so that you can get support if you need it and for giving others a timely nudge about this important issue.

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    2922 days ago
    I hope all goes well with your next visit to the doctor. Try not worry about it over the few weeks you are waiting. Everyone should have a skin exam done once a year or more often if they see changes.

    My husband and I both have skin exams every year. My father died from melanoma at the age of 53 so we take this very seriously. I am glad you went for the exam. I am also glad you wrote this blog. it may change a person's life.

    2922 days ago
    Sounds like it's a very early stage, and it's being dealt with in a way that should completely remove it and take care of the problem, so... makes me think he's had a wild reaction from a different patient at some point and maybe he now expects people to react with anxiety or hysteria or something. So no, I don't think you're being abnormally calm or unconcerned or anything. I'm fair-skinned too. So I wonder - do you, or have you, spent a lot of time in the sun? I know they say we should get a modicum of sunlight if only for the Vitamin D process, but are you one who normally would (or used to) spend hours outdoors in sunlight?
    2922 days ago
    Your reaction sounds very reasonable to me.
    I had a skin cancer removed two years ago -- and even THAT didn't make me feel all that nervous.
    It happens to lots of people - and it gets taken care of easily.

    I, too, am a fair-skinned person who got lots of sun damage as a child. That was before we knew about the connection between sunburn and skin cancer.

    2923 days ago
    I think you're having a normal reaction. You were wise to go in and have it looked at and praise the Lord it's pre-cancerous. Cut it out and get on with your life. Good public service message, Barb!
    2923 days ago
    A good reminder to be aware of what is going on with your body and don't ignore something and think it will go away! Take care!
    2923 days ago
    Sorry to hear that you have to have more done to your arm BUT, it's wonderful that you got right on having yours looked at. I don't think it is unreasonable to stay calm considering you caught it before it became "true cancer." I think that is great. Keep looking at the brighter side. You are an awesome example for others in so many ways!
    2923 days ago
    I had a mole removed recently (I am fair-skinned also). My doc was pretty sure it would be malignant, but it wasn't.

    I suspect your doc has seen enough of these that he has that feeling that it could be bad -- though not necessarily.

    You, however, are at the point where you want to wait and see -- so you don't freak out unnecessarily if it turns out to be fine.

    Whichever way it turns out, stay in prayer about it. Have your friends pray for you. I will be praying.
    2923 days ago
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