Surgery Done! Yay!

Surgery turned out to be a joyous experience. The team all laughed with me… I implored them all to have fun during surgery… to be mindful,  but have fun! They were all wonderful.

During pre-op, I asked the surgeon if he listened to music during surgeries and he said he did… any requests? I said questioningly, “Hamilton?” His eyes lit up and he said he had it on his phone, no problem at all. I was so happy to know I would fall asleep to Lin-Manuel Miranda singing to me.

hamiltonmixtape.0

I am a really hard poke, but the 40-year experienced nurse got me on one stick. YAY! My BP was awesome, I was doing great.

My daughter Aimee hung out with me and was the epitome of great support.

Once in the OR, we all continued laughing and then the surgeon came over, masked as everyone else was, and said, “Now here is the most important question.”

I braced myself.

“Do you want the Soundtrack or the Mixtape?” I laughed loudly and said, “Play the fucking Mixtape!” So I went to sleep listening to Busta Rhymes belting out “My Shot.”

I woke up great and easy. My mom came to say hi, which was nice.

I guess the main tumor on my arm had some roots to it, so they had to dig 1.5 inches further than they expected. Oh, well. The place on my back was smaller and closed with Dermabond (Superglue) and does not hurt one tiny bit. Yay!

Yesterday was my 58th birthday. WOO HOO!

Happy-Birthday-to-Me-Pinterest

My voice was somewhat hoarse after surgery, normal apparently. I’d never had that happen before, but whatever. Now, however, I am completely mute. A laugh sounds like a mouse squeak.

voice

I called the doc and they said that sometimes intubation can scratch the vocal cords. Yeah, it can take ONE to EIGHT WEEKS to be able to talk again. I asked for a referral to a whomever one sees for vocal cord injuries. For those that do not know, my JOB is talking. A LOT. I cannot NOT work for 8 weeks! Let’s all visualize my vocal cords bathed in healing juices. Oh, and happily, my throat does not hurt at all. So, there is that.

I am doing well, 2 days postop. Am glad it is done, looking forward to the Path Report.

Thanks for laughing along with me!

keeplaughing

Surgery Scheduled

Excision Surgery to remove the malignant melanoma and the dysplastic nevus is scheduled for next week, March 28th, 2019… the day before my 58th birthday. I keep thinking I am okay, not nervous or worried, but my behaviors say differently.

I was in pain a few days ago so bought a bottle of amaretto. In a 24-hour period, I drank the entire bottle. When I was done, I thought, “Hmmm, this is not a good way to cope,” so called my therapist and had an emergency session with her that night. She offered other ways of coping… distraction being the main one… playing more in Second Life, writing more and finding a good book to read.

(Please don’t tune out the next section!)

I considered calling the psychiatrist for some anti-anxiety meds, but thought that wasn’t a good strategy for a former addict either. Instead, I bought Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

JKZ

This is the basis for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, the course I took in San Diego several years ago that helped me with a great deal of pain, depression, anxiety and then later, with getting clean from opiates.

mindfulness

When I was in all that liver pain, I meditated a lot, but when the pain was pretty much gone, I stopped (like a goofball). Now, here I am again, needing to meditate and I am having to relearn the skills I knew so well not so long ago. I am not worried, but BE-ing in the moment (did you who meditate chuckle like I did?) and going with where I am and doing it. Talk about the Beginner’s Mind!

In anticipation of next week’s surgery and not using pain meds afterwards to help with pain management, I am going to stay “In the Moment” and meditate to work through the pain I will surely have. Although I am not trying to anticipate it. laughing I sound like an advertisement for MBSR.

Next week, here I come!

mindful-or-Full

Only Stage 2!

Woo hoo!

The major spot is only Stage 2 malignant melanoma. I feel such relief that I have longer than 6 months to live… something I read through tears on the Internet at 3am night before last.

years

“DON’T READ DR. GOOGLE!”

How many times have I told people that?!? HUNDREDS! And there I was, tap tap tapping, Googling all the different survivor rates for my cancer. By the time I got to the doctor at 10am, I had lumps in my arm, felt the cancer in my bones, knew it was Stage 4, with one foot in the grave.

Then the doctor pulls out my results and says it is a Stage 2 and they only need to see me every 3 months after I have the excision in the two places. I explained my oncologist called and wants me to have a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy so she explained I would have to see a general surgeon for that. No problem. I am waiting for a consult appointment from the general surgeon. Supposedly, I might have surgery this week.

There’s your update!

I was dancing on the clouds yesterday that I will have time to make book audios for my grandbabies as well as get my Flux book DONE!

stage2a

Guess Who Has Cancer!

Yeah, it would be me.

I have Malignant Melanoma in one area on my upper arm, a few inches from my elbow, right by my tattoo.

These pics are after the biopsy, not the spot itself.

I have another spot that is a hair-breadths from being Melanoma on my right scapula. I do not have a picture of that yet.

How Did I Get This?

Let’s see… grew up in Florida, sun tanning since I was about 12-years old, using Crisco on my skin to burn faster (and that was the goal), swimming outdoors until about 10-15 years ago, being a lifeguard and swim instructor, always outside, sun tanning nude in San Diego… and I never, never once, used sunscreen.

USE YOUR SUNSCREEN!

How Did I Find It?

Well, actually, I went in for a different spot that turned out to be a capillary thing, but the night before my appointment, I saw this place in the mirror as I was leaving the bathroom. It was flush with my skin and looked like a light cafe au latte birthmark. All the same color, but the edges were not completely solid. I forgot to get a picture, but the Derm has one, so I will get it for my records.

At the Dermatologist’s office, the PA was awesome and told me what the red spot was and then pointed to the one above and said, “Now that one I am worried about.” She also found 3 others to biopsy and 2 were in trouble, 2 were normal.

The one pictured above got infected, and my Dermatologist said she was not surprised being it was the one with the melanoma, so I am on Doxycycline and using Mupirocin ointment. 24 hours after beginning, I feel so much better already.

Next Steps

The PA told me that I need to have surgery (her word) on the 2 spots. I will have an almond-shaped chunk of skin removed, 4×6 inches and then sutured together again. The one on my back should be a tad smaller than the one shown above. They will be looking to see if they got it all, looking for “margins” of healthy tissue.

Blessedly, I already have an Oncologist (for my Iron Infusions) and she will get the results of the surgical chunk-ectomies, send me for an MRI or CT to look inside to see if the buggies have gone anywhere else and we will go from there.

How I Feel

I feel really positive! With a little gallows humor, I am not losing weight so it can’t be that bad, can it? I also told the PA it was good my arm was huge so they could take great gobs of flesh if they wanted to. They thought I was weird. I just laughed and laughed, wiping a couple of tears at the same time.

NO PITY!

Make me LAUGH!

I got work to do and a book to write!