Okay, nothing can prepare you for the news that cancer has already spread. ESPECIALLY when you have already been told that it has not spread. My case is not one of malpractice or misinformation. It is simply the nature of surgical pathology. You can't test everything right then and there and in my case, the melanoma in my sentinel lymph node has metastasized to the very top of my lymph node in a microscopic but very present colony of cells. Taking sections from various spots in the middle of the lymph node did in fact come back negative for melanoma.
Because the bastard cells were hiding out up at the top! Sneaky little freaky cancer! Now I know you .... and now I know that you are not going to fit into my "comfortable type A, as you expect it to go" scenario.
Soon March 21, I see my surgeon for one week follow-up from surgery. I am feeling great and two weeks away from a 10k running race. The positive biopsy shocks us both. Dr. Wagner (who is still my surgeon, I like him .. just don't like the cancer) recommends me to a local oncologist, Dr. Butler. It is time to bring in a specialist to recommend what happens next.
Parting words: If it takes 3 weeks to get an appointment with Dr. Butler, try not to worry. I think that is still an okay timeline based on the biopsy. Come back and see me in a few months so that I can check on those scars.
I stop into Dr. Butler's office on my way out of the building and make an appointment. The soonest he can see me is April 18th (4 weeks away) and I can imagine why. He office waiting room is packed! And suddenly I realize that all these people are "cancer patients" and their family or friends.
Oh my gosh .. this is getting serious! I call Jim as I wait for the bus to go back to work. Honey, they found more cancer. I can't do this alone anymore. Can you come with me when I go back to the oncologist? The answer is as I knew it would be: