To be honest, I am excited and scared to death all at the same time.
I'm excited to be currently above the "law of averages" for a reoccurrence and have reached this significant point on the Survival time-line.
In Feb 2005, (February 14, 2005 to be specific) I was diagnosed with Nodular Melanoma. In March 2005 that initial diagnosis was upgraded to Stage IIIB - Metastic Melanoma - meaning that surgery had determined that the Melanoma had spread to my lymph system. (1 lymph node to be specific and *thank god* that is was ONLY 1 Lymph Node...) I was fortunate to have no other major organ/metastasis involvement.
The 5-year survival rate ranges for my diagnosis are from around 25% to around 68%.
The 10-year survival ranges from around 44% to around 60%
I'm SCARED TO DEATH of the upcoming 3-month follow-up on Monday with my new Dermatologist, Dr. V - because he has me coming in early to "keep an eye on a few spots" that he doesn't really like. He want "proof" that these spots have not changed in the last 3-months before he will let me go back to "6-month visits."
The biggest anxiety, for any cancer survivors, is always REOCCURRENCE and so far (*fingers crossed*) I have managed to evade the typical trend of reoccurrence for my diagnosis.
67 percent of all recurrences were are within 24 months (2-years) and 81 percent are diagnosed by 36 months (3-years) after the primary melanoma.
- Regional nodal recurrences are commonly diagnosed earlier - 63 percent at 18 months and 74 percent at 24 months (2-years).
- Local recurrences and in-transit metastases are comparable - 55 percent of each at 18 months and about 66 percent of each at 24 months (2-years)
- Systemic recurrences are diagnosed later - 52 percent at 24 months (2-years) and 71 percent at 36 months (3-years)
Now, there isn't a survivor out there who will tell you that they don't have *any* anxiety when they go to the Dr. for follow-up care and I would be a FOOL not to be thrilled that my new Dermatologist "Dr. V." is so vigilant....BUT HONESTLY there is a little part (the pessimistic part of me...) that worries that these few little spots are going to MESS UP THE GOOD THING I HAVE GOING and ruin my plans for the "5-Year Cancer-versary" party & or happy hour that I wanted to have sometime this spring.
So for now, ANXIETY seems to be the "Emotion du Jour" until Monday afternoon when I see Dr. V. Until then I have ... Finger's Crossed, Toes Crossed & Sunscreen On (even in winter...)
"Yo Melanoma, I mean what I said 5 years ago: "Get OUT and STAY OUT , you sneaky little bastard - You are not welcome here so don't even consider making any second visits!"
That should have scared my moles into staying the same size as 3-months ago right? LMAO!
What can I do? Not much, just stay vigilant and continue to Live STRONG!