The 4th rolls around and I head in there. This is the first time I've seen her since my operation, so I thank her for finding the melanoma in the first place. She was pregnant the last time I saw her, so I tentatively ask how her little one is - he is doing well. I explain the Moffitt situation to her and she agrees that I should be seeing her every three months. She looks me over, and finds two moles that are darker than the others - the "ugly ducklings" as they call them - one on my left forearm, and one under my right ear, an inch away from my scar from the previous surgery. She's going to have to take them off and send them to be tested. I wasn't too thrilled to hear this, but it's better to know sooner than later. The prick of the needle is nothing compared to the burn of the anesthetic. I joked, "9 out of 10 patients prefer the prick over the burn." She cut the moles off and said the results would be back in three weeks. She would call me either way (good or bad), but I would get a letter if I needed to come back in.
Eleven Days Later
I made my boyfriend get up early with me on Saturday morning, so we could go pick it up. I was prepared for the worst. However, I had no need to be. The letter said I had a dysplastic nevus - or what the NIH wants everyone to call, an atypical mole. It is a type of mole that is more likely than a normal mole to develop into melanoma, though most atypical moles will not become malignant. Although, numerous studies indicate that half of the melanoma cases arose from atypical moles. In any case, for someone who has had melanoma before (me), the answer is to chop it off.
I waited a few days to see if Dr. Robyn would call, and after not hearing from her, I made an appointment to go in and discuss my options. About 30 minutes after this call, Dr. Robyn called. She wanted to let me know that the one on my forearm was nothing, just a mole, and the one on my neck was a dysplastic nevus. She wanted me to come in and have the rest of it removed. I told her I had just made an appointment and I would see her tomorrow.
On August 18th, same thing as last time. I used the same joke on a different nurse about the prick of the needle versus the burn - I had a better reaction the first time. Dr. Robyn cut it off and said I'd get the results in three weeks. To be clear, they took a much larger area than last time. It looks like something tried to crawl out of my neck and left a hole. She just wanted to be sure that they got all of the atypical tissue - getting clear margins, as they call it. I am hopeful, and I'll just have to be (a good) patient.