After 13 months of being NED, and wondering if melanoma was lurking somewhere unseen inside of me, I am going to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. I am very excited about this appointment. I will be seeing a melanoma specialist and they are going to re-read my original biopsy slides. I was told 13 months ago that I didn't need a scan, or radiation, or chemo or anything for that matter. I was only stage 2a. They don't do anything unless you are over stage 2b in some places, or for most stage 3. I have worried about so much since then. Every ache or pain I wonder. I have not seen a dermatologist in several months. I will never go back to him. I decided I needed someone that would actually take care of me and someone that specializes in melanoma. I feel good about this decision. It will feel good to have peace of mind. I never saw a melanoma specialist, except when I asked too many questions of my surgical oncologist, he had me see him to basically tell me that there was NO reason to do any scans on someone like me. There was no need according to him. I have struggled with feeling like I should and that maybe I was being too paranoid about it and should just do what they said. I just feel like I am slipping through the cracks. I stopped going to the dermatologist for many reasons. The guy was very educated, Harvard I think. But he had NO social skills and NO bedside manner. He was the one that told me I had melanoma. He was nervously laughing while he told me. I was not crying, because I had it in my mind already that it WAS melanoma. I had done my research online and the pictures told me that it was not good. (I learned a lot more online actually than I did from any of the doctors I paid to treat me!) I went to him for the basal cell carcinoma to be removed with a MOHS surgery a month after my melanoma surgery. He didn't even say hi to me. Just walked in and took a picture of the spot, and talked to his assistant. I was already numbed up and ready for him. Then he started cutting. I just laid there. It was not a pleasant experience. The nurse was the one that came back to tell me it was all clear. I saw him 3 more times for skin checks that I requested. I never felt like he was really paying attention to me. He just would pull out his camera, snap a picture and tell the nurse he wanted to remove something. He never really even spoke to me.
I think that too often, as patients, we accept what a doctor tells us to be true. We accept that they are too busy to treat us like a person. We don't try to push them, we just accept what they say. Doctor's are human beings and human beings make mistakes. They might not mean to, but we all make mistakes. I feel like I have to do this for peace of mind. I have had a rough year full of wondering if I was falling through the cracks. I am scared of the unknown, but I know that I can't play the ticking time bomb role any longer. There is not anything pointing to melanoma being back. I just feel like this is a good move and way overdue!