Thought I’d give you guys a bit of an update. I was at the hospital again today for them to have a look at the wound.
This is what happened since my last update. I was discharged on the 25th of Oct with one drain still in. I had to record the daily volumes of fluid and phone it in and then go see him again the next Friday.
It then was decided to leave the drain in, but there was a bit of infection where the drain tube goes in. They put a silver dressing on to fight the infection. They gave me some spare dressings and told me to go back the next Tuesday.
Important, though, was they have received the lab reports. As expected there was melanoma in the node that they did the biopsy on before the op. There was also melanoma in two additional nodes but that was it. Melanoma in only three out of a total of 34 nodes that were removed. None in the rest of the tissue that was removed and also no further melanoma in the additional tissue that was removed from my back at the location of the original tumor.
The drain has been removed in the meantime and on Tuesday, this week, they drained a further 330 ml of fluid.
As I said, I saw them again today. There was still a bit of fluid but it is very little and my body should start taking care of that by itself now. I’m on a dose of strong antibiotics, since the infection is not quite sorted. I have to go back on Tuesday again and if it is still not totally gone they will put me on a quick IV boost of stronger antibiotics.
In addition I have to attend a Melanoma Information Session arranged by the MacMillan Cancer Rehabilitation Group on 4 Dec. It is basically about stuff like prevention of further skin cancer, and identifying of skin cancer, checking yourself for possible enlarged lymph nodes and other self examination, etc. I have also already received a notice of my first follow up appointment on 19 Dec where my entire body will be checked out for any signs of skin cancer and they will also check for any physical signs of enlarged nymph nodes. I know I will get more CT scans. Not sure if it wil done at this appointment though.
Lastly, I am seeing the oncologist next Friday where they will be discussing the path forward. I will learn then what they have decided as far as the need for immunotherapy and if so what type, how long and how much, side-effects and dealing with that.
I have to admit that I’m careful not to get my hopes up too high, purely it hasn’t worked out perfectly so far. First, I was hoping that the tumor would be benign. It wasn’t. Then they told me that I need to go for the CT scan and I hoped that it would come back clean. It did, but there was the enlarged lymph node. The surgeon said that he could not detect it at all but that he would have the biopsy done just to be sure. I was positive and thought that because he could not feel it clearly it would be fine. It wasn’t and he told me that the surgery was needed.
I was hoping that there would only be cancer in that one node and it wasn’t. But, it was only three out of 34 and nothing in any of the rest. So that’s a positive. All of the above, though have left me being just a little more cautious. I’m not totally negative but I’m just a bit more cautious of being overly optimistic.
Let’s wait and see. The one positive, for me, is that the NHS jumped through hoops to have the immunotherapy approved mainly because of the tremendous results in the trials. So, if they decide to put me through it, there is a very good chance of success. I also have to bear in mind that further treatment could very well be for preventative purposes only. Be it as it may, the oncology will clearly let me know whether it will be for the purpose of fighting existing cancer or whether it will be for preventative purposes.