Freaking Out-

February 25, 2013 - 13:00

I'm probably freaking out too much, but in a weeks time I have an appoitment with a Dermatology doctor to check a mole in my chest. In 2002 my GP at the time took around 7 moles from my chest ( kind of laser them out) but for what I remember they never did any Biopsy. One of the moles came back to grow almost straight away, but because they never told me anything about skin cancer or melanoma I did not think twice.A few years later my dad had colon cancer stage 3 , had the operation and chemio and a couple of years later they found skin cancer ( no melanoma)on his forehead.
A month a go I told my new GP about the mole in my chest because it kind of changed a bit and has two different colors, black on top and tan on the bottom. As I said I'm freaking out. Been having tingly sensations under my left armpit too and the wait feels impossible. I'm the mother of a 6 year old and a 2 year old and the thoughts are running wild on my head!
I know nobody can tell me anything until next monday when I go to the doctor but I have been feeling so anxious, and I do not want to freak out my family in case is nothing.
thanks

February 28, 2013 - 14:55

Dear Nuns,

We are sorry that you have not heard from any other posters yet on the message board. We can appreciate that waiting for your appointment is difficult and causes a lot of worry and anxiety for you at the moment.

Please feel that you can call us on the National Cancer Helpline on FreeFone 1800 200 700. Our lines are open from Monday to Thursday 9am to 7pm and 9am to 5pm on Friday. Here you can speak with a cancer nurse specialist confidentially and we can offer you some support as you wait for your appointment.

Kind regards,
Cancer Information Nurse

February 28, 2013 - 18:35

I am going through treatment for breast cancer but I can relate that the waiting is the worst bit and your mind dies overtime but no matter what you are told at least you will know and you can deal with it and the majority of cancers can be dealt with. I will be thinking of you xxx

February 28, 2013 - 18:42

Thanks for the message. It is only four more days until Monday, so I made it so far without going totally mad! Only a hanful of people know about my meeting on Monday and of course the only thing that they can say is Don't worry it will be nothing...As I said I have been in a rollercoster for over a month.
Thanks again
N

March 7, 2013 - 15:34

Hi Nuns,
I can relate to you freaking out. I think you are very brave to have posted about your fears. This is my first post on this board. I had my first appointment re. a mole on my thigh, in October last,2012. I've had a few experiences of the waiting-hell you describe. I had to have further appointments and surgeries for melanoma. (That is definitely not to say that you will follow the same path!) I'm sure that you have felt some relief already having had your first appointment.
My experience was that, initially, like you, my mind went wild with worry and I didn't know where to turn. I think that's the nature of the situation. It's a whole new (and alien) world. To add, the waiting periods that I personally endured were always much longer than I would have wanted or expected. The waiting is awful.
I think my biggest struggle initially was the frustration, and fear of handing control (of 'my' life) over to the professionals, while all I was supposed to do was 'wait'. I spent the initial weeks knocking on doors, making phonecalls, crying to my G.P. to make sure I wasn't being forgotten and that I was getting the best care (hmmm ). I couldn't understand all the waiting. I learnt, eventually, that I had no choice but to surrender control, hand it over to the system, and WAIT . (A scary thought, even now!) Having accepted that I no longer had control over my health it then became easier to put the worry away and get on with day-to-day living, feeling I had done my best. I like to think I became an expert at pushing the worry away! It was a relief.
In hindsight, having come out the other end (and thankfully with a good result) I found that I had been right to be pro-active initially, by making phonecalls, knocking on doors, asking questions, talking and crying to my g.p. etc. In fact I would encourage everyone out there to do all of these things. Do whatever you have to do to find comfort. To this day, I regret giving up the fight to challenge two of my many concerns. I worried that the powers-that-be would think me a mad woman if I questioned anything else and I gave up fighting them. I think my journey could have been much shorter if I followed through with all my concerns.
In summary, I'm suggesting that you ask all your questions, (without fear) but recognise the point when you have done all you can for you and hand the job over to your team. Then, try to relax and put all worries away. The wild worrying is way too scary and certainly doesn't help!
Sorry for the oh-so-long post but I have gone through so much myself recently that having to stop typing at this point is a challenge in itself!
Please remember Nuns that all is very good with me now. I don't mean to worry anyone who is heading for their first appointment.
My final message to all of you out there is 'Be as strong as you can and always go with what your gut tells you - worrying too much doesn't help'. I'm still working on it.
I hope it all works out for you Nuns. Thank you for posting and giving me the confidence to do the same xxx

March 8, 2013 - 21:06

Thanks you!
I had my appoitment and I came out with more questions than answers. the doctor that saw me took less than two minutes to see me. The big mole that has changed she look at it for less than a second and did not look at the new one that are growing weekly. I told her that and she said that they look alright. She gave me an appoitment for June ( yes June) to take the big one and do a biopsy.
I was so angry... I felt that she had no time at all to even listen to me. she ask me where i was from, if I tan easely and if i ever has a sunburn, because I'm not red head , translucide white from Ireland I did not tick her boxes. Plus she did not even read the letter that my GP send her, because at the end she ask me if anyone in my family had skin cancer ( my dad did), and the GP had explain everything on the letter.
So now I'm left on this dilema: do I do nothing, even though I'm not happy 100% and wait until June? or I have my moles check on a private clinic?
Nuns

March 17, 2013 - 21:57

Hi Nuns,
Hope you are doing okay. I had some similar experiences to you at my first appointment and maybe by sharing them with you, you will know you are not alone. My first visit with dermatologist was over in a few minutes also. She only looked at the mole of concern that day - no time for anything else. She told me that it didn't look like anything sinister but that she wouldn't like to leave it there either. I had to return to reception to set up an appointment for an excision for '20 minutes later'. The receptionist thought I was mistaken as it isn't common practice in my clinic to remove a mole on the same day. Five weeks later, I received the diagnosis of malignant melanoma of significant depth. My point, in summary, is that my dermatologist knew very well I'm sure how significant my mole was. She did what was right and ordered for it to be excised. I know she couldn't have known for certain but I appreciate now that she didn't send me home worrying. I really was just very happy that day that it was gone at last. Hopefully, the fact that your dermatologist wasn't too concerned meant just that.

For anyone else who may read this post, I have to comment that I was in no way neglectful of my mole, large and all as it was. It was obviously very agressive. (I did leave it a few weeks initially to see would it heal on its own. I thought that maybe I had nicked it.) I am happy that I visited my G.P. as promptly as I thought fit. She then referred me promptly (I'm assuming!). Most of the major changes happened while I 'waited' for my first appointment. It only took a few weeks to advance to what it was. At one point, I phoned the appointments office to say I was very concerned and that it was 'growing before my eyes'... the response was that I was in a queue... I felt then that I had to trust the system and just be glad that the wheels were in motion. I was new to all this. In hindsight, I should have gone to my G.P. with my rapidly growing concern/mole but I was too embarassed to be seen to be making a fuss. I regret that now and so does my G.P. She possibly could have sped things up for me had I contacted her instead of phoning the hospital. Sorry for deviating away from the topic, but there is a message in that story - trust yourself and be pro-active. Don't be afraid of what the professionals think of you - act regardless. I wish I had.
Also, during my first appointment I was asked very similar questions to you - had I relatives with melanoma, how many sun holidays had I been on, sunbeds etc. etc. My dermatologist had a form in front of her while asking these questions. She was quickly ticking boxes. I doubt your questions were personal to you Nuns. When I phoned the receptionist in 'appointments' re. my wait, she told me that once the G.P. referrals have been received the consultants personally read them all. As a result of this practice appointments are made, in order of priority. I realised from hearing that, that G.P.'s also have a big responsility in the process. We should hope that they include accurate and convincing evidence on our referral forms/letters... For you, I think that your dermatologist was just working against the clock that day. He/she very possibly had read your referral previously.
Finally, I was told by a junior surgeon, on my first follow-up after surgery, that the dermatologists are the experts. They look at moles every day. That is what they do! Also, my G.P. has me warned that the next time I have a skin exam it will probably be as fast as the first (one and only) time. I'm hoping that in time I will be educated on how to examine my skin and what to look out for. Maybe then, the panic will ease.
Don't ever think you are freaking out too much. Even if you are, it's better to do that than be neglectful. In my opinion, and as I probably already said, do what you have to do to give you peace of mind. Then, and only then, can you relax. Who cares what anyone thinks. It's your body and your life at the end of the day. And you will be the one left dealing with the consequences, not them, if things go wrong. I've never had a second opionion. It all happened so fast for me. No harm you getting one if that's what you need.
I hope I have been of some help. Best of luck and keep me posted. Annieo

March 18, 2013 - 00:18

thank you so much for your post!
I decided to have a second opinion so this tuesday coming I'm going to have a different doctor to look at them. Like you, the mole beside the belly button is growing before my eyes. I even had a friend check that mole on twice a week a part and she told me that she could see how much it did grow in a week. So for my own peace of mind I have decided to have it checked again.
This time around I have told nobody about it, not even my husband. I'm probably wrong by doing it but I just do not feel like explaining myself all over again. If it is nothing then I was the only worry, if it comes to something I will cross that bridge then.
I just wish to have a biopsy on them and know for sure.
thanks again for your post.

March 18, 2013 - 00:49

That's great Nuns. I am glad you are going with your gut on this. When I realised it was time to really worry I stopped bringing up the topic of conversation with my family so they forgot to ask to see it. I think I didn't want see the worry on their faces. Instead, I took photographs daily as proof to myself that it was changing. You did well to show your friend. Good for you. I really am glad to hear it you are being pro-active. Best of luck, Annieo

March 19, 2013 - 14:19

I'm happy to say that I had my second opinion this morning and I was very reassure not to worry about them. The doctor said to have the big one remove anyway but he did not think it was melanoma. So I'm happy to wait until my june to have it remove and biopsy.
Thanks for the support during my freak out.

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