Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Diagnosed with Melanoma Stage 1A - my wide local excision story... see previous mole post on this blog

Hi Readers,

Apologies I have been off this blog recovering. My shave biopsy came back from the lab (8 weeks later and I guess I should have updated this blog huh) anyway it was a Stage 1A Melanoma so the previous article I had posted on here showing my ugly duckling mole was in fact the start of Skin Cancer and not a non-active melanoma. Thankfully I caught it in time or so they believe.  Pathology Report came back as follows: The Breslow Level was 0.6 mm and it was superficial, Clark Level 2. No mitosis (spreading) was found thankfully. If the Breslow Level had been over 1mm then I would possibly have needed to do a Lymph Node Biopsy (possibly through the groin) in addition to the Wide Local Excision as my bad mole was just above my knee. So I ended up doing a Wide Local Excision operation a week ago and they took 7mm of skin and drew margins around where this mole was so I now have a 7 mm line where the mole was in order to stop a possible recurrence of melanoma. The scar is neat enough but I had to see a plastic surgeon on this occasion. He did an Aberdeen knot and sewed me back together again while two young students peered over watching, learning from my case. The worst thing about the Wide Local Excision (for me anyway) was getting the Local Anaesthetic in. It was v painful. The worst bit of the operation. He drew what looked like an American football or rugby ball around it and then proceeded to pierce the whole circle in stages. It felt like he was cutting my skin and when he finally finished getting it all in I realised he hadn't even started the operation so I was like oh no!! anyway I was numb by this point (yay) and he continued and the rest of the operation was thankfully straightforward. Took one hour to do. I'm happy I did the wide local excision. I just have to wait 3 weeks now to know if this has cured it or not. Fingers crossed it has. So I now have to see the dermatologist/surgeon/consultant who did my biopsy every 3 months after that just to keep an eye on me. As I hobbled out of the operation room, the plastic surgeon turned around and said now that you have had one melanoma you could get another...depressing. Hopefully not! I am thinking now to just go and do a mole mapping. I have learned that with skin cancer the quicker you are seen the better! I also hope they make further developments with T Cell Therapy. Right now, well I have been laying low as am also pregnant as well which did not help. I had to wait until the second trimester to do the operation safely otherwise it could have caused possible risks to the fetus because of the local anaesthetic. I asked if the baby would be affected. They didn't seem to think so as I had thankfully got the cancer out during the inital biopsy. It was you could say, a close shave!!!

Anyway, I hope this helps someone who may be possibly going through this right now or possibly has gone through it. I never saw this happening at 35 but its apparently better to have youth by your side...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Surgery on the knee and a biopsy done!

Apologies to my readers, I have been off the blog for a while. 

Update: I got the suspect mole I spoke about and showed you all on here previously...well it was removed surgically (excised) off my skin - and now I have a small scar above my knee with two layers of stitches - under the wound are dissolvable stitches, and the scar itself had 4 sutures on it which sadly fell off within a week - had to use steri strips to keep it together. So I was told to use Vaseline on the scar every day to keep the scarring to a minimum. I have to wait 8 weeks for the biopsy results now and I am hoping it was just skin deep and that I caught it in time. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Magnesium Paste for head 4 c-sections story

I am going to write this post up as I guess I should have done it a year and a half ago...anyway I hope no other woman has had this side-effect to pregnancy and basically maybe this might clear you up too.

This article might also give immense relief to a woman who may be about to have a 4th c-section and have fear!! I am living proof that a 4th c-section can go OK. I was given a lot of scaremongering before he came into the world and that was because you are told usually in a hospital to stop at 3 c-sections. Given that my first baby died on the first c-section...I really had risked it on my last child and I don't regret it!! He is wonderful and he is doing great now and its just so lovely to have all 3 children...

I feel like a cat with nine lives or something writing this - anyway hopefully it will inspire and helps someone out there. I am all for humanity which some doctors and hospitals, they can sometimes lose sight of this.

When I had my baby 17 months ago, my baby was born prematurely at 35 weeks - I named him David - thankfully he was okay and never needed to be incubated. I have had 4 c-sections and what I learned was you take a bigger risk on the 4th c-section so make sure if you can to get a good consultant. I was a high risk case...I never knew how much I had risked my own life and his until he came out! I didn't know my womb had become paper thin which may have stopped me carrying him safely in the last month so maybe it was a good thing he came in a hurry!..when your womb is paper thin, they tell you to stop having the risk of uterine rupture can really kill you v quickly within 2-3 minutes I was told. 

Anyway back to his op, I got a doctor called Dr. Wong and all I remember saying to her was Dr. Wong I hope this does not go wrong! She was brilliant. He was born within 6 minutes but it felt like 30! and she said its just like pulling something out of your purse...I could not wait for the pulling to stop...I stupidly asked for a top-up on the local anaesthetic cos I could feel them going in...don't top the anaesthetic up! or if you do don't budge your head like I did.. I developed BAD headaches after the op and in recovery thought they would never go away cos I twisted my head to look at the clock that was perched on the wall! Not a good move lol. But it was to distract myself from what was going on below. Anyway, I sadly got an infection over my c-section scar after the op, but this was mainly because I had been stapled there previously and got have those staples plucked out of me again on day 5. I love the photocopier in my work so yeah lol that's why I told her to staple me again as I had already gone down the route of the dissolvable paper stitches previously but what I found was the staples healed the skin over the scar quicker...The recovery was slower for me cos of the infection I had there but in the end I somehow got over it by moving around as much as possible after the op once my legs returned. 

Peppermint oil was my best friend right after the op and I started to drink peppermint oil in hot water - totally recommend doing this after a c-section - its got LOTS of healing properties and helped going to the bathroom resume much quicker...without the need of a laxative. Hurrah.

Anyway moving on...3 months after I had him, I developed a small head cyst on the crown of my head! This usually involves surgery to remove the cyst and its reportly common to get these in middle-aged women..OMG I thought, am I really getting prematurely old?  lol... I am only 34. 

I had already overcome cysts on my ovaries with a Cystectomy operation right after the c-section of my second daughter Isabella. Her c-section was required as she was a breech baby and we couldn't turn her.

Looking back, I think I had a developmental error in David's pregnancy which caused me to get a head cyst after he came out of my body. I have a great chemist friend and she told me use some medicated shampoo with magnesium paste in order to avoid surgery - so I did that and the cyst dropped off me naturally in the shower after 2 surgery needed in the end...but prior to this I had to do an MRI scan on my brain to make sure I didn't have a tumour...ugh. Thankfully I didn't have anything worrying and it was benign...and I cleared up. But the point I want to make is irrespective of what you go through to get the beautiful child out of your body...and what you may or may not have to deal with after...its so great to have them now!!

Happiness - TED talk - this is brilliant...

I think the below image makes me happy lol :)

Diagnosed with (nonactive) melanoma!

I had just got home from the hospital with my son who was getting over a bad bout of gastroenteritis when suddenly one of the moles on my body started to ooze and bleed - sorry tmi. Anyway I suddenly noticed another mole on my body was twice the size of what it should have been and had two colours - it was a pigmented lesion - originally a freaked me out enough to get an emergency appointment with the GP. So I rang my GP and I was told we are booked out. I eventually found a nearby GP who was not my normal one who saw me and he said its a melanoma and you need an urgent referral to see a dermatologist.

OK I said so perhaps you can give me a referral letter? No I can't as I am not your normal GP he said...I said but you just told me if you were my patient you would give me an urgent referral letter? so why not just print me the letter and send a message to my normal GP that you gave me a letter for this?? I can't do that he then he let me go from his office and I felt distraught! It was bad enough I was coming to terms with a hospital making a mistake on my son's IV drip...anyway I rang the GP the v next day who told me to come straight in at 3.30 p.m. so I did and finally picked up his message of what he had sent my GP. A locum saw me instead of my normal GP and he was v nice and understanding at least and gave me the letters I needed for the hospitals as they won't let you see a dermatologist without a referral letter. Anyway, I asked him if he could examine me and tell me if it was benign..I don't have a derma-scope here he said (this was a free service). Upset with no real answer I left this time slightly happier with a letter in my hand, rang a private clinic - paid the fee and saw the best senior doctor/consultant there and he had a dermascope in his office. I waited a painful 3 minutes to know what the results were and he said its a non-active melanoma but he believed it was benign YET suspicious.

So I said if its suspicious measuring at 1cm - double the original size of 0.5 cm does that mean I need to have it biopsied and excised? well that is why I am still going to send you to the pigmented lesions clinic in the hospital - they will hopefully do a mapping of my body and then most likely excise it which will leave a little scar and where did this melanoma set up shop? my I can't even kneel down and pray..but I think my prayers were answered when he said its benign...nevertheless I am still bit antsy cos I know although its inactive now - any of the moles on your body can become active and that is why if you ever see any changes whatsoever on your body in relation to moles you really can't wait on the fence with I think a scar is better than possibly having cancer...let's cut that mole up! its ugliness can be seen to the left here or maybe I might try to possibly shrink it with Frankincense oil - like this one:
or on Amazon here:
though I think I will still need to have it excised! I like natural cures...and I guess I will have to keep on drinking turmeric which I think I have already told you readers I am a huge fan of. I asked the private doctor if I could rub eggplant extract on the form of a cream but I hear some stories that this cream is bogus and actually is currently marketed as snake oil. If anyone comes across a genuine eggplant extract cream let me know..

I then said my ugly duckling mole is not turning into a swan!

Infiltrated IV drip! horrible...just horrible.

My son James had a bad gastroenteritis the other day as you possibly saw in my previous rant/entry on this we went back to the hospital as he had got worse and started throwing up in the Reception area which I was catching with a bowl, then the waiting area, then triage...until they finally gave him an anti-sick injection...then I was faced with 12 episodes of diarrhea - nearly once every hour...told that it can take up to 7 days for him to  be completely rid of the diarrhea and that he is contagious for about 10 days! I was happy he got seen to finally and that they gave him an anti-sick injection which gave him great relief and then they put him on a IV drip to re-hydrate him which is why we came in the first place...except they didn't get the cannula insertion in correctly and instead of his vein getting the IV fluids - his muscle got 4 bags of IV fluids. It was 5.30 a.m. in the morning when I noticed something was wrong! and called out to the nursing staff who tried to tell the plastic surgeon that it infiltrated at 6 it didn't I was 5.30 a.m. as I text his father who was watching our baby at home. Anyway his hand and arm swelled up to his elbow - about 3 times the size of his hand and arm..I was horrified. I called at them and demanded they tell me what was wrong now? they said his IV drip has been infiltrated. The alarm on the IV drip had not gone off but here is the thing, I don't think they were giving us enough nursing attention to begin with and anyway we got shipped off to a private room then near surgery in the hospital and he saw 3 plastic surgeons! and they were checking his pulse every 24 hrs and we had it elevated in a sling just to get the swelling down. I asked the plastic surgeon if he felt this was done in error. He told me the alarm didn't go off - then the machine was set incorrectly I said...furious for my son. He said he didn't want to comment and left pretty promptly.

ANYWAY thankfully my son is home now - the swelling has THANKFULLY resolved but he came pretty close to needing surgery in his arm...and I am furious they let 4 IV bags of fluid go into his hand and the first place...when all we came in for was a simple re-hydration of the child in order to make him comfortable. So then the same nurse in question who I had originally complained to, she was a senior nurse manager and I couldn't believe she had effectively made this rookie mistake...anyway she said we will have to put another cannula into his other hand to get the fluids back into him. I agreed but said I was concerned they might make another mistake on him again if that happened in the first place. Oh this is v common for this to happen with young children. James is 3 and a half years old. Anyway, she thankfully put the second cannula in okay and he got the fluids he needed. But I had to take a force majeure from my job in order to stay overnight with him in the hospital and pray that he didn't end up with surgery...then to get my health insurer come around the next day that the room we had been effectively whisked away to - its 1000e a night for a private room in a children's hospital which thankfully he is fully covered for as he is under my plan...and just so you know 817e for a semi-private room. But he is okay - a bit out of sorts and I think he is trying to hide the pain he has been in. He got pain relief for the hand and arm. But yeah poor little least the sickness has stopped today and he is sleeping better..

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Waiting for that doctor (who rarely comes to the scene) to simply come in a hospital

Waiting Times - room 101 of rants.

I have a lot of respect for the medical profession etc. but today my patience has thinned enough for me to write a blog entry of complaints that will probably be annoying to read but this was really annoying to happen so here goes.

Is it just me or have the waiting times got progressively worse in the children hospitals lately?? Feel free to comment below if any of this has happened to you. Maybe this is just where I am but I hope its not happening wherever you are.

I have health insurance luckily but still I don't feel it makes much difference from someone who say doesn't have it.

My son recently got a bad case of gastroenteritis and I went into the ER room to make sure he wouldn't dehydrate. He had a projectile vomit and a couple of bad episodes of diarrhea during the day. I think he just picked it up as my other children thankfully (for now!) don't have it and hopefully it will stay that way..bring on the bottle of bleach huh and constant hand washing.

Anyway, I was absolutely appalled at the lack of treatment we got. I must have counted 8 doctors walk past us and blatantly ignore him. I finally cracked after the long old wait (and him getting no treatment whatsoever) and as am nursing a 1.5 year old baby still and simply wanted to go at this point. We were told to take the queue. We did that. The nurse said that there are people like you with these circumstances sitting here too! People like me I said? explain?? I found this kinda patronizing. But for anyone who has small kids and knows how this is - for a 3.5 year old to wait for a doctor to come at 10 p.m. at night when they are more than tired and flopping....I just found it ridiculous and kinda cruel.

I asked for the nurse manager. I said I want to make a formal complaint. My son has been here for AGES and has not been seen whatsoever. He started innocently kissing her arm as I went to say this to her. Cringe. I said shame on you! There he is innocently kissing your arm and you have ignored him like as if he wasn't a human being all this time!!

The nurse didn't even ask us for a stool sample - that was my idea. He had an episode of diarrhea so I scooped a sample up into a container and handed it into the staff to send off to the lab, this was at 8 will have to wait one week to get the results back I was told. Okay. But at least I might have more of a clue of what is wrong with him if they take a sample I thought. (Doc agreed later). Roll on 8.30 p.m. - how many kids are in front of us, I painfully asked? ...2 she said..okay...9.30 p.m. - give me 5 mins said the nursing manager - okay... how many kids are in front of us now? 2 she said. You told me that an hour ago!! then at 9.45 p.m she tells there is 1 child ahead of us...and to give her 5 mins... at 10 p.m.  I had had enough and at this point my child was we went to leave as I had simply had enough and I said if he gets any sicker I am holding this hospital responsible for NOT doing a thing to help him!!

Junior doc suddenly (finally) calls his name at 10 p.m. when I was fed up enough and about to just go...we quickly glided into the cubicle - she thanked us for the sample and asked us if we had been waiting long? YES too long I said. Disgruntled. Shocked at the lack of communication among staff. So let me just repeat all my complaints about my child to you again for fear this information was not given to you in the first place!! I am sorry if I am sounding rude in this post but goodness me...I had been more than patient enough waiting hrs for him to get seen to just be ignored and sat there.

Where is the humanity these days when you arrive with a sick child into a children's hospital? Isn't it bad enough when your child gets sick suddenly and you are left with no choice but to come in to make sure they get better quicker. 

Shouldn't it be their duty of care to respond better? and EVEN IF they get BUSY and they are BUSY the worst thing about last night was they clearly were not busy at the time we were there!! it was more than least if I thought they were doing some real hard work at the time before us I would have been much more understanding and possibly more patient. 

Just to get mum we will get to you in due course. Really? can you give me an approximate time? I didn't get a chance to pump milk out as I didn't know I would be forever waiting!!? Can I have the e-mail address to your boss then? is the pen mightier than the sword?? (I wondered) Why do I have to do this in order for my child to get treated with the dignity and respect they deserve anyway?? I said if nobody sees him soon I am going to lose my mind and check myself into your psychiatric ward!? seriously WTH?!

So are you confirming that you have a shortage of doctors at present? (I asked the nurse this prior to seeing the doctor.) Yes there is. I said well how come I counted 8 doctors walk past idly and they didn't look to be doing much either. She said nothing in response. But here is the thing WHY LIE? why lie to people - isn't it bad enough if you have jerked them around and made them unnecessarily wait hrs on end??...for something that could have been sorted within an hr to begin with and hey if you want to cut your list in half why not deal with simple cases quicker that way you have more time to spend and devote on the trickier cases? AND even if the trickier cases need attention or priority before us, and that's fine and all...don't totally neglect the other cases and ignore the person who has gone to the trouble of coming half way across town to get their child proper treatment. Rant over. 

Thankfully my chemist friend gave me an anti-diarrhea powder to add to a drink and its given him much relief. When I asked the doc in the ER if it was okay to give it to him prior with the bug he had she told me what is it? even though the box said Paediatric powder on the side! Then she said sure its fine to give - thank you to let me know about this over the counter solution. Sure....

The silver lining came when my son turned around in front of them all and said I have the best mummy in the whole wide world - I love which I teared up and said I love you too and you are the best most patient child in the whole wide world...exit hospital. I hate the drama of this though. It shouldn't be this hard to get your child seen to. 

Ironically got treated MUCH better in the adult hospital.

Just to add in I wish they had this robotic bear - all the children's hospitals should get something like this...