Tuesday, July 28, 2009

PSA

I had an appointment with a dermatologist this morning. Two suspicious mole-looking things.

I have to confess ... I should have gone a lot sooner, but I allowed life to get in the way. All the steps ... find the login information for my insurance, find a doctor on my plan, make an appointment, well, I procrastinated.

I was lucky. I left with a "looks fine to me," and an appointment to go back on a regular followup schedule.

Let me tell you about my dad.

He and my Mom go to the dermatologist every 6 months. They strip down and she goes over every square inch. A few years ago, in taking several of the little suspicious areas that a person who has lived in the sun their whole lives develops, she took a bit from my father's back. "I'm not really sure I should send this in," she admitted. But she did. And this, the least suspicious looking freckle, turned out to be malignant melanoma. The bad one. The one that can kill you.

She referred him to the best of the best. They removed it. They tested his lymph nodes and ran him through several tests. Result: no need for further treatment. They got it all.

This spring, routine check, they found another spot, this time on his arm. Unrelated to the first one. Removed it, did the pathology. Malignant melanoma, but with clean margins. No need for further treatment.

This is what can happen with early detection. EARLY DETECTION. They find it, remove it, and that's it. No chemo. No radiation. No death.

So consider this your message from the universe. Make that appointment you've been procrastinating on. Get in the habit. Hopefully, you'll be like me, walking to your car, thinking, "Huh. That's a load off my mind."

6 comments:

ms. kitty said...

Amen! Leave no mole undug. Glad you're okay, LE.

Bill Baar said...

I think wait times in Canada for a Derm appointment are running seven weeks on average.

Be thankful....

Lizard Eater said...

Well, I made this appointment at the start of June, so I can't say I'm thankful for that aspect. And I couldn't get the doctor I wanted until next January.

YMMV, but that was mine.

Earthbound Spirit said...

Hurray. Glad for you & for everyone!

Diggitt said...

I have first-rate private insurance. Every bell and whistle you could ask for. I had a melanoma dug out of my forearm 20 years ago, and see my doc every six months for a head-to-toe checkup. Did I mention that my dermatologist has been on the list of a hundred best MDs in new York for the past several years? There is no way -- even as a melanoma survivor, even for my follow-up, even with gold-plated insurance -- that I could see him even trying to make an appointment just six months in advance. He is still "my doctor" but I always see someone else in the shop.

I don't know whether Canada is better than that, but anyone who tries to tell you "We're the best!" is clearly thinking in terms of being POTUS, or maybe Shah of Iran. The rest of us wait in line.

kimc said...

Seven weeks sounds pretty good for a dermatologist. I'm in the US and last time I wanted to see a dermatologist it was 8 months and several phone calls. And I have red-heads' skin and have had second degree sunburns in places I can't see myself.
I guess the waits in Canada are shorter than here. Maybe I should move there....