Thursday, February 04, 2010

Anxiety on the horizon...

I have a "cancer-versary" coming up and it's an important milestone in relation to my original cancer diagnosis. I'm coming up on my FIVE YEAR MELANOMA SURVIVOR anniversary.

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!

7 comments: said...

Congratulations on your anniversary!!! That is wonderful!! I understand being nervous about your upcoming appointment, but you're definitely taking care of yourself the best way possible by continuing with regular checkups! My fingers are crossed for a good report from the Doc!

Tri Mommy said...

You will be in my thoughts and prayers! And Congrats on the anniversary!

Holistic Health Coach-Tri Mom said...

5 years down, 50 more to go...

Solarjo said...

My fingers are crossed, too, for you. 5 years is a significant landmark!

Jackie said...

My thoughts are with you Holly. How wonderful to have achieved this very special anniversary!

PJ said...

I am a survivor as well so I understand all your thought,fears and comments. I hit the six year mark. I am not sure we ever get past the fears or wondering when or if cancer will come back. But we continue to push and never quit and never let cancer win.

Shannon said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you!