This morning I had an appointment with my surgeon, Dr Baliski. The appointment went fairly well and I did get some more information. The biggest thing right now is waiting for the CT scan. Everything else is on hold until that appointment happens. When Dr Baliski called me into the exam room, the first thing he asked about was if I’d had the CT scan done yet. I told him that I had not nor had I heard anything about it. He left Kerrie and I in the exam room and made a phone call in his office. I could only hear bits of it, but I’m pretty sure he was phoning to find out what the holdup is. When he came back into the exam room, he checked my arm and armpit again and then went over the biopsy results with me again.
The good news is that the melanoma is not deep. The not so good news is that the pathology report showed signs of spreading. The lab found additional spots away from the main mole. Dr Baliski then explained what would happen at the next surgery. He’ll go in and take a large sample of skin and tissue from my arm. I asked what to expect for a scar, and the scar will run about the length of my upper arm. It’s going to be a biggie. The sample he’ll take will go right down to the muscle and he warned me that there could be some nerve damage that could result in some loss of feeling in the arm. I’ll be restricted from doing any heavy lifting for the first 2 weeks and no volleyball for at least 3 weeks. I guess I’ll be the team cheerleader for the first half of the season. He also told me that I’d be injected with some radioactive dye (I think he said dye?) that would travel to my lymph nodes. That would determine how many of them would need to be removed. He told us that generally it’s 3 lymph nodes that are removed; however he is not the one who decides that number. He also showed me where the incision in my armpit would be. The skin, tissue and lymph nodes will all be sent for testing and with any luck, they’ll come back clean. I asked Dr Baliski what would happen should the next skin and tissue samples also show additional spots and the answer I got was a bit scary. He told me that at that point, we would just watch them. Yikes! I pray that there’s no additional spots found and I will be done with this journey!
Kerrie came into the exam room with me and I’m glad he did. He had some questions that I had not thought of. He asked Dr Baliski what exactly the CT scan would test. I knew the scan was to look for spreading, but had not thought to ask which organs they would be checking. Dr Baliski told us that the scan was to check my kidneys, liver and lungs. After my blood test results, I am fairly confident that my kidneys and liver are okay. It’s hard not to be aware of every cough lately, so it’ll be nice to know that everything there is okay. Dr Baliski is hopeful that I’ll get the call and potentially be in for the CT scan this week. He is quite confident that the cancer has not spread further than my arm, but needs these results before my surgery can be booked. Once I get the call and appointment, I’m to call Dr Baliski’s office right away to let them know. Dr Baliski can access the results of the scan within hours of the test; however he needs to know when to look. Once I get the appointment date, I’ll call and book a results appointment with Dr Bobyn as well.
We also talked about the second opinion referral that was made by the hospital lab. I’m still in the dark about that, but I now know I’m not alone! Dr Baliski also did not know why my results had been forwarded to this doctor in Victoria. He felt very strongly that there was no question that this was melanoma and is confused as to why the results would have been forwarded. The report from the doctor in Victoria still has not come back, but I hope that it will soon. I think we’d all like to know what’s going on there!
So overall, the appointment went well. Some good news, some scary news and a bit more information. I am not at all looking forward to this surgery. It will be done under general anaesthesia which also scares me a bit. My last big surgery certainly didn’t go as planned, so it’s scary going into this one. I asked Dr Baliski when he thought this surgery would happen, and he feels it will be after the July long weekend now. That would be great! We’ve been working on my truck since the end of last summer and planning a 4x4 trip for the July long weekend for months now. I would be super upset if I had to miss it!! Plus it gives me something to look forward to. I like distractions. Good distractions. Anything to keep me from thinking about the surgery!