Have I really agreed to this?
So this is my very first blog and, my first venture into the world of blogging so if I ramble on or don’t say enough – please tell me!
As all good stories go, I had better start at the beginning…..
In 2004 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on my left leg, located just on my knee. It was a mole on my leg that had always been there and then one summer’s day in 2003, after a holiday in Greece, I noticed it had started to bleed.
I can’t say I rushed to the GP or that I was immediately terrified – I’m not sure I actually do ‘terrified’. But I did take my self off to my GP who referred me through to a plastic surgeon in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. This was August 2003. The letter arrived from the hospital pretty swiftly but the consultant appointment was for September 2004!
The 2019 me would have picked up the phone and started creating a noise about the waiting time, but 2003 me just thought that if they weren’t in a hurry, then I shouldn’t worry.
When September 2004 actually did roll around, things moved pretty swiftly. The consultant diagnosed the mole visually but obviously a biopsy was required. This was done within a week. Again, completely oblivious to the seriousness of the situation, I headed over to the UK on a girl’s weekend. Only when I received a call from a nurse in St Vincent’s telling me that the bed was ready for me in the ward and I needed to be back that night, did a small light bulb go off in my head that maybe this was not panning out so great for me.
The melanoma was 3mm under my skin which was extremely serious at the time. My sentinel node was removed in my groin to check where else the melanoma had spread. Not if, but where.
Times were different and there was less of a rush to move patients back home then. I was bandaged completely on both legs as a skin graft had been taken from my right thigh for the wound site. I stayed in hospital for three weeks. I was blessed with incredible friends who crossed the city to visit me every day.
Finally the oncologist came to see me in the ward. As he pulled the curtain around my bed, it finally sunk in that I was in deep trouble – I know, I can be slow on the uptake!
However, as it turned out the oncologist announced I was the luckiest person he had ever met. The melanoma had not spread. Whilst I would be monitored for the next five years, I would require no further treatment. When he left the ward, the nurses crowded around me and said they thought I hadn’t understood the consequences of malignant melanoma – they were probably right.
I spent the next month on crutches due to the location of the wound site, but I was home and I was cancer free!
During the next five years, I never once expected any of my follow up appointments to be anything other than routine and once that last appointment was done I can truly say it never occurred to me that the melanoma might return.
And yet, here I am in 2019. I will continue on my next blog……..