Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Am I????

While I was at the Relay for Life 3 days after I saw the U of M specialist,  I got a call from him.  It was a Saturday, and he was working.  He wanted to call me about the mole he had biopsied when I was in to see him.  He told me it was NOT melanoma!  Whew!  I was so happy and I thanked him for calling, especially on a Saturday.  He then said, he wanted to explain to me what he was saying about my stage.  He said that I AM a stage 1b, but because I was so upset he let it go, but he wanted me to know.  He said they are still waiting to get my original slides to re read them, but the pathology report showed a Breslow of 1.10mm, with less than 1 mitosis rate and no ulceration and all the things they do to stage were good.  He said that because of all of that, I am a stage 1b, not stage 2a.  It was so strange, and still is, because I have lived the last 14 years believing I am stage 2a.  He said this was good and that my survival rate is like 95%.  I was still confused, but thanked him.  I pulled the pathology report when I got home and I went over it very carefully.  I checked the staging guidelines for melanoma online and I became even more confused!  I am technically staged at pT2apNxpMx.  This translates into the following.  PT2a stands for the depth/thickness of the tumor, or Breslow.  The staging classifies anything over 1.0mm -2mm as a stage 2, if it is ulcerated.  Mine was not.  Therefore I am stage 1.  The mitosis rate was good, less than 1 and lymphocytic invasion was absent.  It IS considered a stage 1b.  Wow, I have been processing this for awhile and  I know I should be jumping for joy, but I am just stunned.  The U of M is also waiting for the slides from my original biopsy to reevaluate them.  I will hold off being happy about my stage until then.  Just to not get disappointed if they were wrong.  The dermatologist and the surgical oncologist told me I was stage 2a.  That is another reason I can be glad I fired them!  I sure have been through a lot of unnecessary crap because of the doctors I was seeing.  I just can't believe it.

The U of M actually called me today, to let me know that they still are trying to get my original biopsy slides, and that the cancer facility that has them, is not cooperating and won't release them.  I have signed 2 records release forms and there should not be any issue.  I told her that I would be happy to call them and get my slides if necessary.  She said she would let me know.  She just wanted me to know that they haven't forgotten about me.  Sometimes with patients, that is all we need to hear and know. 

So....I am now just waiting to find out what I am.  Waiting to see if I can celebrate being stage 1b and then try to get used to that, or if I am a totally different stage all together.  Waiting for results stinks.  I didn't really want to say anything until I knew, but it is taking so long.  If anyone is questioning their own stage and has their pathology report (if you don't have it, I highly recommend getting a copy of it!) you can go to the Melanoma Center's staging tool.  They will help you find out by asking you questions.  It told me I am a stage 1b too!  I pray this is true and  I will keep you all posted!

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