Anatomy 101 - Best Class Ever

by Susie
(Kentucky, USA)

In the fall of 2001 I came in to a little unexpected money from my previous job. It wasn't a lot of money but I decided I wanted to do something worthwhile with it.

I went to my local community college to enroll in a class. It was close to the start of the semester so most of the classes I was interested in, were already full.

After much debate I decided to take Anatomy, since it was a required class for most medical fields and those were the degrees I seemed to be most interested in.

I took the class with a friend and co-worker of mine and we really enjoyed it, even though it was rough doing all the work we needed to do for class and working full time.

I will never forget that day at work, when me and my friend Dawn were looking through our Anatomy books on our break.

My friend was looking at the chapter on Skin Cancer and reading about the ABCDE of moles.

She showed me the picture of a mole that was diagnosed as Malignant Melanoma and said, "That looks like your mole!"

I looked at the picture and sure enough it did resemble the mole I had on the upper inside of my right arm. We laughed it off but decided I should get it checked.

My mother had been on to me to get it looked at for a few years and to be honest I can't even remember how long the mole had been there, it seemed like forever.

It irritated me a lot because of its location and I tended to pick at it. I guess that is why I didn't really worry when the mole started changing. I figured it was just irritated because of it rubbing my side and my messing with it.

I had trouble finding a dermatologist in my area that was accepted by my insurance so I almost gave up. Lucky for me, I decided to go a few towns over to see a Dermatologist there.

Me and my mother got up early and drove the hour it takes to get there. I was the first appointment of the day.

The nurse checked me and I showed her my mole, plus a mole on my side that wasn't as strange looking but still bothered me.

The doctor came in and gave me something to numb me and before I knew he had even started, my mole was gone. We left soon after. I think the whole thing took only about 30 minutes.

didn't think a lot about it until a week or two later when I got a call from the doctor's office.

The nurse told me the mole on my side was benign but that the mole on my arm was a Malignant Melanoma Skin Cancer. I told my mom and we both cried a little but I think we were too shocked to have much of a reaction.

The dermatologist set up an appointment for me with an oncologist within the next two weeks. At my first appointment he inspected ever inch of me for any other signs of skin cancer and we went over my treatment options.

First he scheduled Skin Cancer Reconstructive Surgery to remove the tissue surrounding where my mole had been and to remove lymph nodes from under my arm for biopsy.

The operation went very smooth and it was done as an outpatient procedure. When I went back the doctor informed me that my lymph nodes showed no sign of the cancer and that from all indications the surgery got all the cancer.

I did end up with an infection from the lymph nodes as they leaked fluid into my arm and it built up. I had to have it reopened and drained for several weeks.

After I was all healed up I only had to visit the doctor every six months. I didn't get to do that but for another year as I lost my job and with it my insurance.

It's been almost eight years since then and I have had no other problems with cancer. I do get scared whenever I find anything I think might be abnormal but so good.

If it hadn't been for that class I don't know if I ever would have gone to the doctor for that mole. I most likely would not have gone until it was too late.

I am one of those people who put off going to the doctor as I know so many of us do. I can only advise everyone to learn the Skin Cancer Warning Signs and to get anything suspicious checked as soon as possible...time is very crucial when dealing with melanoma!

Oh and after all of that, the biopsy, the surgery and the subsequent infection, I still managed to pull a C in that class...ha-ha!

Melanoma Skin Cancer

Malignant Melanoma Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer Melanoma

Skin Cancer Moles

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