I think that I might have stage IV melanoma.17 Mar 2023 13:25
So, I [25F] have had this mole on my right inner thigh for forever... as far back since my teens, if I recall (as I vaguley remember trying to keep it hidden from the sun when on the school field with my skirt) but most definitely for the last three or four years.
Anyway, I've never though much of it before, because it's so small (roughly 3mm wide and smaller than a pencil eraser) and to the naked eye it looks symmetical and round... except, I was examining my moles last month and I noticed that its extremely asymmetical, and far darker than all my other moles. It's also slightly raised as well. The problem is, I struggle to remember how long it has been like this. I know that it's been slightly raised for a few years, if not the entire time. But, I can't remember if it's always been this dark, or if this is something recent that's just occured. I feel like it's been brewing for the better part of half a decade or so.
Anyway, I recently bought a USB microscope and a polarising lens, and decided to examine all my moles with it. And of course, my first point of call was this tiny one. But, what I've found has absolutely terrified me. It looks shades of brown and tan, with areas of irregular dark pigmentation. There are milky red globules, a homogenous structure and a few other things. I've compared my microscopic photograph to that of those I can find of dermoscopy on the internet as best as I can, and from all my findings, it seems to be none other than melanoma (because from the photos, there is literally nothing else it could be -- and I've done a lot of time researching every single look and type of skin cancer and mimics that I possibly can... almost 5-6 hours every evening.) I'm also certain that it no longer in-situ (due to the milky globules) and has become invasive. (I should stress that I am NOT a dermatologist.)
I'm off to get it checked by my GP on Monday, but I'm expecting him to refer me to a real in-person dermatologist, and from that I'm fully expecting a biopsy. I'm also expecting the Clark Level to be 5, and Breslow depth to come back at something roughly akin to 30mm/3cm -- based upon the estimated time that I have had this (from my memory -- roughly 5 or so years) multipled by the average time they grow per mm each month (0.5mm being the biggest). I've left it so long that I don't see how it couldn't have spread, or how it could be good news, knowing how fast melanoma grows.
I've also been having weird sensations and pains in my muscle/skin/leg/groin around the same area where the suspicious mole is, and I'm terrified that it's spread to my bones/muscles/blood... though it's hard to tell whether it's from that, or due to the fact that I have been examining it for two to three hours every single day for the past week or so. I've also had this horrendous cough & cold for the last week, and now every time I cough it feels like I'm short of breath, so I'm now worry that the cough could be metastases on my lungs. I had a headache every day for a week last month, I've had severe anxiety for the last few, and 'brain fog so I feel like it's possible that it could be there too. I've been trying to examine my legs for odd lumps and bumps, but alas I don't feel anything out of the ordinary. (I should also note that I don't have any other symptoms other than this mole-type-thing.)
I've started thinking about funeral plans, and looking into life-prolonging immunotherapy, radiotherapy, alternative therapies, chemotherapy, and clinical trial options that will possibly work for me. I've started thinking about all the things I need to do – preparations from cleaning everything out, choosing what to donate and give to whom, thinking about the things I want to do for the very last time.
I've always been terrified of getting cancer and have had severe health anxiety ever since my mum was diagnosed with 2x breast cancer when I was 10, and again when I was 20 years old (she's fine now), plus her bout with cervical cancer too. My nan had lung cancer, (and possibly skin which I only found out recently), and I'm screaming internally at myself that I haven't had it examined before now because I think I've basically just made my worse fear come true. I've recently had so much death anxiety after seeing something on TV that sent me into a panic attack, and I think that this is the universe's way of making me deal with it – by looking it directly in the face. (I should mention that physically I feel fine, but who knows what nasty things are currently lurking inside me.)
I'm just deeply sad knowing that it's most unlikely that I'll ever get to do the things that I want to –– have kids, get married, travel the world, and grow into old age gracefully with a husband and children like so many of my favourite people. I was looking forward to celebrating my 30th birthday and the entire decade really, which I feel like is becoming less of a possibility. I'm also heartbroken at the hurt that this is going to cause my parents, as I'm an only child (and quite a miracle really -- I was born 12 weeks early, weight 2lb 2oz.) and I just know that it's going to rip them into pieces... not to mention all of my other friends and family. I was just so looking forward to life and adventure, and I'm overwhelmed knowing that it's most likely going to be over soon. I know that we can't control what happens to us and that the grim reaper is inescapable for everybody, but I was just hoping that I would have at least another three or four decades before he caught up with me. (By which time I was hoping they would also have invented a miraculous new cancer treatment that targets the cells in the same way that the Covid jab did, and would give people decades worth of life!)
I just feel so stupid that I've let it go on this long, because I know how easily treatable it is the earlier you find it, and how the outcome could have been totally different if I'd only gone to the doctor back when I first noticed it properly a couple of years ago instead of letting it fester inside me because I was too busy doing everything. :(
I apologise for bombarding you with this, but thank you for listening. I haven't anybody else to talk to about it, and I really appreciate it.