Friday, November 4, 2016

In My Skin

It's been quite a whirlwind for our family here lately. In September I (Jenn) was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Cancer. It's not something I expected at 32. But who does?

Below is a timeline of events from then to now. Mostly for my own recollection, but if you want to follow along this is the place to do it! There are some post appointment/surgery pictures below. If that sort of thing makes you queasy you can probably stop scrolling down now. :) 



The dark spot on my arm is where the melanoma was.

September 2016

9/9/2016- I went to the Brevard Skin and Cancer Center for a freckle that darkened to black and itched. It turned into a mole that was growing on my right forearm. I saw the ARNP-C who thought maybe it was a pyogenic granuloma. The mole was removed as well as other raised spots around it in a shave biopsy and sent to pathology. I barely told anyone about it. I texted my parents about it because I didn't want to make a bigger deal out of it than it needed to be. I didn't even tell my best friend until right before I got the results back.



After they removed the freckle and some satellite spots by it.

9/19/2016- The office called me and informed me that I had nodular malignant melanoma. Clarks level at least 4, at least 1.8 mm in depth (Breslow). Staged at pT2a, pNX, pM N/A. It felt like everything stopped in that instance. She started talking about cancer, surgery, oncologists, and treatment. It was all too much for me to process in one 5 minute conversation. 

9/23/2016- I met with my surgeon, Dr. Mark Talbert (EXCELLENT), from Health First to discuss what surgery would be like and what I could expect afterward. At that time he also did two punch biopsies on places of concern. One came back benign and the other was precancerous. 


Marked for surgery. Wide local excision.

October 2016

10/17/2016 At HRMC I had lymphatic mapping followed by a wide excision of the primary tumor and a sentinel node biopsy. No one warned me how bad the radiation shots would be. Honestly, I am glad I didn't know. All you need to know is that they hurt ALOT.                                                            


                                   


I was sent home with a drain. The drain was removed the Thursday following surgery. I am thankful for my people. They took great care of me afterwards. They cleaned my drain, made sure I got my meds, helped me shower and use the restroom. It was all very glamorous. 

(Left waiting for imaging and Right the imaging machine that would be home for the next hour.)


Before my first surgery.

10/18/2016 my surgeon informed me that one of my lymph nodes came back positive for metastatic melanoma. The lymph node was 1.2 cm in greatest dimension and you could see the melanoma without a microscope (macrometastasis). I was Staged as IIIB- T2a, N1b, Mx. 

The wide local excision of my primary tumor.


10/24/2016- Whew! Two surgeries in 1 week! I was back at HRMC for a axillary dissection to remove the lymph nodes under my right arm pit. I went home with another drain. It was also removed the Thursday after surgery. Again, my people took great care of me and it was all very glamorous.

   
After my second surgery.


10/25/2016- My surgeon informed me that of the 14 lymph nodes removed none of them were positive for melanoma! PTL! 

After my stitches were removed the incision opened up. So they steri stripped it back together. 

I am still very sore. Both surgeries back to back took a lot out of me. I nap often. Joe and I had a date night Wednesday night due to a thoughtful gift. I fell asleep on him twice. Everyday I am getting better than I was the day before. I am grateful to God for that. 

Where does my Hope come from? Psalm 121 
As a family we are saddened by the cancer, but as a believers in Christ our hope, confidence, and future are in His hands. We know and believe God is ruling and reigning on the throne and that this bump in the road will be used for His glory. I know that God has already written my story and I am just playing my part. This is the confidence we can have in this life, because of Christ and the relationship we have with Him.

We are thankful for your prayers. We will update as they come available and will let you know what it is we need. 

We are currently waiting for an appointment with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. 

In His Amazing Love,
Jenn

11 comments:

  1. You have been such an inspiration .....
    just know, your testimony of your faith has reached many.

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  2. We continue to pray and thank God for his continual answering of those prayers.

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  3. I know first hand what you are going through. feel free to get ahold of me if you need to talk. let me know if you would like our phone number. we are praying for you everyday. having your faith will help so much. wish I could be there in person to give you a hug. I am glad you are journaling for me that helps so much. the myers family sends their love. love ann

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  4. Thank you for sharing. God Bless you and your family, who I have so much love for!! You are an amazing woman of strength and courage and I am so humbled by how you walk with your Faith even during a time like this. Please keep us updated and I hope to see you soon! ❤️

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  5. Jennifer, you are in my prayers for a full recovery and that God would be glorified throughout this whole process.

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