Slice 3 1080x1080 cover image

Slice 3! With A Vengeance

I went to the dermatologist again for another skin cancer check a few weeks ago. All was good until he said he needed to remove the mole from my neck. Because of my previous melanoma, and that the mole was over 5mm it was best to have it removed. It had also changed slightly when checking between previous visits, and that’s not what you want. I booked in another appointment to have it removed.

On Tuesday morning I made my way there and was filled with dread and cereal. You see, if I eat before I have a needle or something I don’t feel so faint or queasy. Not sure what’s happening there, but if you’re a fainter like me, grab a bite before you go in. That doesn’t work for a cholesterol test or colonoscopy, but anything else it’s all good. Also have plenty of water, you want to keep hydrated.

Mole removal before image
Where the cut will be made.

The four local anaesthetic needles didn’t hurt this time. They usually sting real bad and I have to squeeze my eyes tight and grit my teeth, but this time it was a case of is that all? No complaints from me this time. I didn’t feel anything being cut out, and they kept talking to me, I’m guessing to distract me and stop me from fainting, but I did feel the tugging when he was sewing my neck back together. I got five stitches.

Mole removal after image
Five stitches.

The anaesthetic started to wear off before I got to work. I had some Panadol handy and it kept the stinging pain to a minimum. I remember my arm being in agony for days after I had the second round of surgery, and was thinking my neck would be the same. So glad it wasn’t. I should be receiving results either today or Monday, I’m hoping they’re positive. I don’t know if I can handle having a second melanoma diagnosis in 2 years. But if it is melanoma, it’ll be great to have it caught early. I’ll take a life-saving scar over an early death any day.

I’ve always been an indoors person. I remember getting sunburnt when I was 11 and it was nasty, I never wanted to get burnt again. But I rarely wore sunscreen as a kid, and a few times as teen spent a whole day watching cricket at the MCG with no sun protection. In the early 2000s I went to a solarium half a dozen times to get some colour in me. Could that be it? I don’t think a handful of visits to a solarium could do that, but it’s possible. My whole working life I’ve worked indoors, about a lot of that time was at night so I’d sleep in the day. I had minimal exposure sunshine, let along too much.

If there’s anything I can gain from this experience it’s that I can pass onto others the sun safety message, encourage people to get annual mole checks and hopefully save a life. Go visit your GP and get a referral to a dermatologist, they’re the specialists. GP doctors are great, but their focus is on general health, not specific. If I didn’t get a referral I’d never have had my arm correctly diagnosed as melanoma. It’s possible I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t picked up so early, so please, do yourself a favour.

June 1 Update: the doctor called, it was a mild dysplastic nevi;  an abnormal looking mole that’s not cancerous. Whew.