Today the surgeon will save my life.
I have been diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma. It is a rare tumor and is caused by genetic mutation. This tumor which appears on the skin, is not caused by sun exposure.
I had a dark spot under my big toe nail on my right foot which when I first noticed, thought it was a bruised toe. I thought something must of fell on my toe or I might have kicked something and not noticed I had hurt myself. When I was a kid, I like playing with hammers and now and again I would hammer a finger that would darken from the bruising and eventually go away. I thought this was the case and since it takes quite a while for bruising on a nail to go away, I thought nothing of it.
It was my wife who insisted I see a dermatologist. I booked and appointment in July and had an opening in November. Since I thought nothing of it, I waited for the appointment.
When I saw the dermatologist, he booked a biopsy for a few days after. A sample of tissue was taken and a week later, pathology results confirmed acral lentiginous melanoma. When my wife saw the results, she burst into tears and maybe because I am an architect, I didn’t make much of it.
I later found out that these type of tumors can be tricky as they are usually not diagnosed and by the time they get your attention, it’s late and the cancer has spread. Hopefully, I will find out in the next days if I got this early enough. Fingers crossed that I did
This afternoon my big toe will be amputated with a margin to ensure that any cancer cells around it will be removed with it.
As I write this, I am waiting to be called in at the nuclear medicine where a radioactive substance will be administered and will help the surgeon find the lymph nodes that communicate with my toe. These lymph nodes will be removed in surgery and hopefully they will be cancer free.
Its a small trade off, my toe for my life. Makes all of this easier to accept.