My Strong Mom Fought Melanoma and Won
(Bloomfield, Indiana, USA)
When I was a child, my mother was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma. It was frightening for me at the time, and now, looking back, I can see how frightening it must have been for her.
The malignant melanoma was a mole on my mother's upper back, about 3/4 inch long by 1/2 inch wide. It was slightly raised, dark brown and black, almost velvety looking. We had always referred to it as a "beauty spot".
My mother loves to garden, and she would spend many hours each spring, summer and fall working in our yard that she had landscaped beautifully, and in her garden that grew delicious vegetables and fruits.
She would often wear a tank top while gardening and the mole on her upper back was exposed to the sun, and also at a direct angle much of the time as she knelt or bent forward while working.
The doctor noticed the mole during a routine check up and suggested a small biopsy, just to test a few cells and make sure there was no problem.
The test came back showing malignant Skin Cancer Cells
The next step was to remove the mole and a tiny bit of skin around it, and to check the outside edges of the biopsy skin for malignancy.
The entire mole and surrounding skin sample was found to be malignant.
This was very frightening and serious, as malignant melanoma is known to be able to spread rapidly and infect other parts of the body.
My mother travelled out of state to another hospital for the next procedure. An area around where the mole had been was removed.
The area removed in this step
was almost diamond shaped, but with slightly rounded points.
It was about three inches long and two inches wide, and deep enough to attempt removing all the dangerous cells, with the hope that they had not spread to other areas of the body.
A skin graft was necessary after removing this much tissue from the area. The Skin Cancer Surgeon
took a section of skin from my mother's outer thigh area and attached it at the spot on her back.
There were small holes made in the grafted skin, to allow it to breathe and heal. It looked like lace.
The doctors ordered my mother to rest when she returned home from the hospital, not to lift anything or raise her arms, and to lie on her back with a pillow under the area.
She has never liked to sit still, likes to always be working and doing something productive. She did not follow the doctor's instructions, but fortunately her body was still strong and able to heal.
The test results were a relief this time. After this ordeal of Skin Cancer Reconstructive Surgery
, all the cancerous cells were gone. The outer edges of the skin removed in this last surgery were cancer-free.
The problem did not recur. After this, my father and sister and I would follow our fast-moving loved one around the garden with a bottle of sun block, slathering it on her when we could catch her.Melanoma Skin CancerMalignant Melanoma Skin CancerSkin Cancer MelanomaSkin Cancer Moles