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Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Biopsy Results

I finally got a call back from my doctor, and I don’t feel like I really understand what he was saying, or more importantly, its significance. I really need to find a new doctor. I mean, he’s a nice enough guy, and seems very competent, but he must be from the old school of physicians, those that think that it’s not important whether the patient understands every detail, as long as the doctor does; or he can’t quite figure it out himself.

The gist that I caught from our brief conversation (he did catch me at a very hectic time) was that the lump seems to be a lymph node, swollen, of course, and it’s either referred to (perhaps in its current attention-seeking state) as a nodule, or it has a nodule in it. I don’t know what to make of any of it. Isn’t a swollen lymph node bad, signifying some other portentous battle under way in my body? And what’s that lymph node doing out there anyway?

I wouldn’t mind so much if my doctor hasn’t figured out what it is yet, and what is causing it, if he would just run down the list with me and tell me what has been eliminated, what is still in the running, and what we’re going to do about it. Instead, he wants me to come back in a month and he’ll check on it. Now, I’ve only been seeing him since this incident started; he’s a member of my regular oncologist’s medical group, but my oncologist just announced his retirement. Maybe I should look up my old surgeon. I could try getting my hands on the lab report and drawing my own conclusions, but that’s probably as advisable as being your own attorney (my current court room record acting on my own behalf: 3-1.) Still, I think it’s time to look around.

Oh – and the hole in my chest keeps leaking. Every now and then I feel it when I reach too high for something, or lift something too heavy, or twist around too hard. I can’t take it seriously enough to baby myself – it’s just too damned small – but I’m going to ruin a bunch of shirts this way.

Posted by Greg in Melanoma, Posts About Me


This entry was posted on Saturday, June 24th, 2006 at 05:56 PST and is filed under Melanoma, Posts About Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Biopsy Results”

  1. Nancy (from Boston) says:

    HI Greg,
    I’m not a doc just and MRI tech. So as far as the local being carried away from the site, i guess you are prob right. I would of insisted on IV sedation. nothing major, just to take the edge off. But you are any hospitals dream patient. No complaining.
    I would get a copy of the biopsy report and all of your records. Then I would shop around or interview new docs ASAP. you do not need to be kept in the dark. This is 2006, you should be in the loop with your results and know the plan (who needs an old school doc).
    As far as the chest wound still leaking, I would call my PCP and see if they have any answers, since the surgeon and you are not on the same page. Having an open wound is an invitation to infection and thats all you need to complicate thing. Didn’t they stitch you after the biopsy?
    Good luck, there are plenty of good doc’s out there, just start asking family and friends, you’ll find one who will work with you.
    take care
    nancy robibns

  2. Nancy (from Boston) says:

    Hi Greg,
    I’m checking in on the hole in the chest. how is that going, has it resovled
    just checking

  3. Karen says:

    Greg, I can’t say that I have extensively read all of your postings regarding Melanoma. I found you while trying to find PET scan information to educated my sister in law, now undergoing TX for a large b cell non Hodgkins lymphoma. The Melanoma information drew my eye, as I too am a survivor of level III MM……having had mets to a sentinel node. I was originally dx in Jan 1998, 1 week after finding out that I was pregnant with my third child. I had a difficult time getting treatment, since I would not terminate the pregnancy. It took a while, but I did get someone to sign off (malpractice toward fetus) for the sentinel node mapping and had it performed on the same day of my 2nd wide excision of primary site (L mid, anterior thigh) 2 weeks later I had a left groin dissection for he bed following uptake of sentinal node. At that time I was in my 2nd trimester and was unable to have any further testing (as fetal movement would obscure CT and MRI…..not to mention the fetus didn’t need any more dyes, or anesthesias)….
    I also was told that my child had a 60-70% risk of also having melanoma, as it is the only cancer known to pass over blood/brain barrier of the placenta. I determined (with my Onc) not to take the interfeuron…… with the studies that we just posted then (in 1998) for me, the benefits did not in any way outweigh the risks (not to mention a year of poking myself with a needle, and the flu like symptoms ontop of pregnancy…….) Original DX with primary site was Jan 1998……….5 MRI’s and 2 CT’s Q 6 months, with plenty of labs, incl LFT’s and I remain clean for what will be 10 years this coming January 2008. Also, baby was born free from any anomally as planned, will be 9 this August 30. I too had a poor prognosis with 20% chance of survival beyond 5 years with the lymphatic mets. As I approach 10 years s/p dx and surgeries……..I will remain (forever) with a 40% chance of recurrance. I know where you are with this.
    I can tell you about lymph nodes, since I not only have lymphedema of my entire left lower extermity (leg) secondary to my groin dissection of a large bed of nodes, with subsequent cellulitic infections……….and the face that I am also a RN……..
    Lymph nodes do in fact swell, as a matter of their natural processes……’s how they get the job done at times. When they are “hard” they are of greater risk, and need eval. If they are swollen, but pliable when squished…… could easily be that your lymphatic system (smaller straw like tubes that are somewhat like a cellulitic network in your skin) has been working on a site of infection, and they all empty into that node for re-uptake further into your emptying system. I have had several CT’s of the abdomen with reports of swollen nodes……I freaked for the 1st and second, as I thought that this was “what we were looking for in all the CT’s that I have had over the years”….but in fact, they do swell when they are working on an inflammatory process. You could have a infected gum/tooth and a node in your throat would and could remain swollen until the area is treated. My brother had swollen nodes found on CXR (with no pathology), and he had bx, and it was benign……….simply was one of the larger portals for emptying from a spot where he must have had some inflammatory process going on.
    The lympy system works very much like the blood system (as far as lines of defence are concerned), only the blood system is immediate response (WBC’s Macrophage, lysis and get rid of bacteria)……it takes the lymphatic system 2 – 3 days to even get to the area (depending on how distal it is) and it stays there for weeks, increasing lymphatic production…….then carrying whatever debri or inflammatory matter, bacteria, so on…..carrying them back through to re-up take nodal areas (larger nodes)….carrying it back to the larger more central system to be empties into the blood and eliminated.
    Since you had axillary node removal, you have also compromised lymphatic system in perhaps both your anterior and posterior torso, (chest and back) which makes it even more difficult for your system to work, and does cause more swelling at times, when the areas that do still have proper, not interrupted channels, have to work harder to cover the areas that have been interrupted secondary to nodal excision.
    My feeling is……..don’t mess with any Primary care physicians…….only see Hematology, Medical Oncology doctors, that specialize in Melanoma only, or primarially.
    Grace and Peace to you…
    Karen Davolos