No sign of spreading from the Stage IIB melanoma

I had the mole site cleaned up with a wide lateral excision and two nearby lymph nodes removed and tested. The lymph nodes were two that radioactive tracers injected into my neck indicated drained the mole site region.

Both the surgical site perimeter and the nodes were negative for melanoma cells. So, no signs of spreading at this time.

That is obviously welcomed news for the whole family.

This melanoma episode costs me a lot of copayments and co-insurance costs, two incisions on my neck (maybe 6″+ in total), a chunk of neck around and under the original mole site, and two lymph nodes. If that is the total damages for a Stage IIB melanoma, then I got off lucky.

I note that less than ten days passed from melanoma diagnosis to surgery, which is remarkably fast. In this case, the USA health care system moved at blazing speed and efficiency. If you must have a cancer diagnosis in your life, hope and pray it is in the USA. Our cancer survival rates tend to be the envy of the world.

There will be follow-up items, most of which will involve checking for other melanomas attempting to sprout on my quite sun-damaged skin.

The two incisions are healing nicely and the scarring will be minimal. The surgeon tried to align the cuts to blend in with existing creases in my neck.

Bottom line: I might have avoided a painful, expensive, and potentially life-threating episode had I worn wide-brimmed hats instead of baseball caps. Oh, and if I had used sunscreen, that also might have been helpful.

So, if you like to go outside in the Texas broiler-oven sun — wear a hat.


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