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Medical Update: Melanoma Surgery Details

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Medical Update: Melanoma Surgery Details

That’s right.  For those of you who haven’t been reading my site regularly, I didn’t make a mistake by substituting melanoma–a potentially deadly type of skin cancer–for myeloma.

Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with something called malignant melanoma in situ.  Translation:  Stage O (zero) skin cancer.

As you can guess, this type of thing isn’t as dangerous as it sounds–as long as the melanoma cells are incised (removed) in a timely fashion.

Problem is, the melanoma is located in a place on my left ear that doesn’t allow the surgeon to leave a large enough margin to certify that it has been completely removed.  So he will basically need to cut a notch out of my ear (I can’t make this stuff up!) and then re-attach the top and bottom halves.  This will leave my left ear smaller than my right.  But as long as I’m melanoma free, do I really care?

I’ll simply adjust the length of my side-burns and create a cosmetic optical illusion–can you say “This is my good side…”

When I called to give her the news, I did ask Pattie if “She would still love me if my left ear was smaller than my right.”   My wife is so kind.  Her response:  “Of course!  Don’t be silly…”

I have often told her that she should “send me back to the factory because I’m defective.”   I think she is starting to consider her options…

Back to the problem/surgery at hand.  Kidding aside, this is going to be regular, outpatient surgery, performed under full anesthesia.

My surgeon will be Dr. Gerard Mosiello.  The surgery will take place in Moffitt Cancer Center’s surgical suites.

Dr. Mosiello’s nurse, Rita, was very helpful, taking the time to explain my options and then the procedure Dr. Mosiello recommended.

I was originally scheduled to undergo a specialized local procedure called Mohs.  This would not have required full anesthesia, and could have been performed sitting-up in the office.  But after meeting with Dr. Mosiello, it seemed pretty clear that I would need follow-up plastic surgery down the line if I chose to go that route.  That–and the fact Mohs is still considered experimental when excising melanoma–convinced me I should go the full surgical route.

Fortunately, Dr. Mosiello is a board certified plastic surgeon.  He can “notch” my ear and perform the required plastic surgery all at the same time.

My surgery is scheduled for the afternoon of November 14th.  My prognosis is excellent:  100% of all in situ surgical patients survive at least ten years.

Sorry, melanoma… My myeloma has got you beat!

So if you are starting a “What type of cancer is going to get Pat first?” betting pool, better keep all your money on multiple myeloma!  Oops–Sorry dear.  I’m being “silly” again…

Don’t worry about me, boys and girls.  I plan to be around and writing for a long, long time.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat