Chronic Pain

A 51 year old female living and dealing with lumbar back pain and fibromyalgia. Sharing things I do for relief, reduce stress and control weight gain.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's back

New Years day and my birthday

My holidays were anything but typical. A lot of my grandchildren were sick, my daughter and myself.  As I mentioned in my previous post I had a spot removed at my dermatologists request.  He felt pretty confidant it was nothing, but because it was in the same exact spot (on my scar from the 2011 melanoma) he wanted to shave it off and have the lab take a closer look.  I teased him about telling me it "was nothing" last time.    

My medicine I'm taking for the fibromyalgia since November seems to still be helping most of the time.  If it's just a typical day at home I feel as close to normal as I have in some time.  When I do go out for errands, shopping, watch my youngest grand baby etc. I still struggle with the same issues as the past.  The good part is that my pain seems to be at a lower level.  Leading up to Christmas I had some bad days where I took ibuprofen.  A couple of times I took more than a dose a day to keep in in control.  I didn't think anything of it because I'd mostly used acetaminophen 650 so I figured a little here and there wouldn't hurt anything. 

The Tuesday before Christmas Eve late in the evening I got a call from my dermatologist. When I saw Dermatology Clinic on the caller ID I knew if they were calling something was up.  If the biopsy is normal they just send you a notice by email or by the email portal through the clinic.  When I answered it was my dermatologist, not the nurse.  My stomach suddenly hurt.  It was malignant melanoma IN SITU.  The findings stated that given the history of melanoma in the site, a recurrence is favored.  This meant I needed to go back just like the first time and let him do a small incision and take more tissue around site.  We set that up for the 29th. The Monday before New Years.

2 days after.  My skin stayed irritated from the  dressing.

Just a little about melanoma stages for those who are not aware:

Stage 0-1 tumors/ 0 is localized and in situ which has not penetrated the surface of the skin.  This is when you want to catch it for best outcome.  I was asked to come back at 6 months then once a year (unless I see something) Stage 1 has invaded the skin at a slow rate and are small. 
Stage 2 tumors/ though localized are larger (1 to 2mm) and/or can be ulcerated and can be larger up to 4 mm.  The depth is as important as the size.
Stage 3 and 4 tumors have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.

In between that time I had a flare up with my back and I was having terrible stomach pains.  Christmas eve it was really bothering me but I didn't want to say anything to my husband because I was afraid he'd just feel it was stress from worrying about the upcoming results of new biopsy.  Some of my husbands family came for Christmas day.  I hope it didn't show for them, but it was an awful day for me.  My stomach kept me awake most of the night and I wasn't sure I could get through helping my husband finish cooking.  I did what I could and thank goodness they were very understanding to how I was feeling.  
That afternoon as soon as they left I went back to the couch where I'd been most of day. After an hour we decided I needed to go to the ER.  Something was definitely not right.

I was there from 5:30 to 11:30.  I must say they were on top of things and constantly working to get me comfortable.  Someone was always there either giving me something or taking me for lab or x ray.  I didn't spend a lot of down time with nothing happening.  In the end they found something to reduce my 10+ pain in my back.  A cocktail to drink to numb my stomach, and a shot of pepcid (yes, a shot...a real needle) to calm my stomach.  I guess the ibuprofen has been harder on me than I thought.  My gastritis is speaking volumes.

I'm still struggling with it.  Most days it's hurting.  I have no appetite and I'm nauseous.  I find something soothing to eat because I get weak if I don't.  The ER doctor asked me to go back and see my gastroenterologist if not better in a couple of days.  I have talked to them on the phone and they've changed a few things from what the ER doctor put me on.  I plan to go back in, but want to finish this melanoma fight first. 

This past Thursday evening I get another call from the Dermatology Clinic.  It's the dermatologist calling again.  When you hear the doctor on the line...not good right?
Right, it's not clear.  Melanoma still present.  Stage 2 but not really deep.  So that's good right?  I didn't find that out until today.  She set me up for today to get my stitches out and to an Oncology Surgeon she was referring me to for more invasive surgery in that area.  She made me aware that they sometime want to biopsy the closest lymph node to melanoma site.  My appointment with her went well.  She said I did an awesome job of caring for my incision.  Personally I think it looks terrible.  I'm sure it's because it was over the previous incision site.  

She decided she wanted to do a head to toe check while I was there.  She found two spots she was didn't like so "just because" there is a history now she shaved them and sent them off too.  When I saw the oncology surgeon he put my mind at ease a little.  He said my lymph nodes in armpits and neck felt normal. Due to the fact that the melanoma was at 0.5 depth (although still serious and dangerous) he is always more concerned about spreading with a 1-4mm depth.  He agreed with everything my dermatologist recommended including being checked every 3 months vs. yearly and that it is a recurring melanoma.  "For how long I do I have to do every 3 months?"  "For life" was his answer.

We decided together we'd schedule for two weeks instead of next week for the surgery.  He really wanted to have the results of the two biopsies from today so there wasn't any chance of having to go back again for another surgery.  So it's back to waiting again.  

I'm really not concerned.  I've studied melanoma a lot the first time I had it and have continued to read any articles I've discovered on it leading up to now.  I'm a proactive patient and go with my gut.  My gut brought me in at the first sign when many would have sat on it and watched for a while.  Love yourself enough if you have any fears of something wrong with your body/health to have it checked.  Don't every fill silly about knowing for certain if something is wrong or not. 

I'm counting down the months until this cold weather is over.  Especially damp cold days like today.  The fibromyalgia just amplifies everything.  I'm trying to hang in there without the pain medication but I'll tell you it's hard.  Many times over the last couple of weeks I told my husband it's just not worth it.  I'm stopping the new drug and going back to my narcotic.  At least I get some good relief for a few hours.  I've actually went back and reread my post about getting off of it to remind myself the down side to taking it.  Then a good day will happen again and you start to doubt yourself.  Am I crazy?  I know my regular FM and back pain suffers that read here know what I'm talking about.  You've let me know I'm not crazy and you experience the same.  

I really need to do better with writing more than just when I have news regarding my health.  As I've said in the past, I've really started to hate being on my computer.  

My youngest grandchild is turning 1 in 2 weeks.  It seems like just a few months ago we were at the hospital waiting for her arrival.  She is something else.  So sweet, yet so BAD.  She is her mother as a toddler.  She is really going to have some kind of personality.  Like both of my other grandchildren she has learned to sigh and definitely lets you know what she wants.  All of them keep me going.  They cause me to push myself and not let myself get to down.

Recently on an episode of 60 minutes a wise woman said, "the first 50 years are for learning and the second 50 are for living.  I'm ready for that....

Full of H.O.P.E. ( hold on pain ends )

Handsome boy P
AJ with all her Minnie's

A in her Elsa hat Aunt B made for her :-)

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