Chapter 2:

An Introduction to Life and Science

Now….what was malignant melanoma?  Again, not being too knowledgeable; I knew it wasn’t good, but I really didn’t know how bad it could be.  This being the case, I showed it too one of our nurses.  Wow, did that cause a ruckus!  Within three minutes there were four co-workers around me looking at the results.  The one nurse was even crying.  What the heck! I still didn’t quite understand their reaction, but I knew now that it was not a favorable pathology report. The surgeon (our boss) was leaving Saturday, May 8th for a cruise out of a port in Greece. Therefore,she was not planning to come in that day. Well, she did end up coming in.  They called her.  

    I’m thinking this sounds more dramatic than it really was.  It’s somewhat hard for me to know since I lived it.  I don’t feel like an objective judge of that.  Regardless, this is how it happened.  After my boss arrived, I remember seeing her sitting cross-legged up on the counter in the reception area holding my report. A little bit teared up.  She was upset because she was trying to figure out where she had gone wrong.  The lesion did not at all look like melanoma, nor do I fit at all into the high-risk categories for it.  The reason she was concerned now was due to the size of the lesion.  In melanoma the size of the lesion when discovered is very important.  They are very aggressive and metastatic.  A lesion caught before exceeding a size of 7 millimeters likely has not gotten into your lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is its pathway to spread throughout your body.   Being that the size of my lesion was over that threshold she had concerns.  However, my case had been forwarded to a specialist in the pathology department at the Mayo Clinic, and that meant there was at least some doubt as to what the accurate diagnosis might be.  I had to wait for the Mayo Clinic to issue their report and move on from there.

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