Bill has had a bluish spot on his neck for about 3-4 years. It started out as a small, ( size of a dime) mole. Over time it grew until it was about an inch by 2 inches in size. Bill mentioned it to his primary care doctor but with his diabetes numbers being what they were the doctor did not want to risk infection by doing a biopsy. The spot did not bother Bill, and you know how men are! In April at his doctor's appointment, Bill mentioned that the spot on his neck had begun to bleed at times when he would have his laptop on his shoulder and the spot was bothering him at times. The doctor told him he would write up a referral and have it set up for his next appointment, which was in July.
At the July appointment, PCP set us up with the name of a dermatologist and we waited for a call. Fourth of July came and went, no call. Following week came and went and we left for vacation to Becca and Ryan's. We called the PCP and asked about the appointment that was supposed to have been set up, on the answering machine two days in a row. When we returned home, we had a message from the dermatologist that we had missed an appointment on the 17th that we needed to call and reschedule. That appointment was on July 30th. The dermatologist immediately did a biopsy of both Bill's neck and a small mole on his chest which I called to the doctor's attention when he asked what the spot on his neck had looked like originally. We received a call on the 3rd of August that the biopsy was positive for nodular melanoma. That we should expect a call from U of M to set up a PET scan and brain scan to see if the melanoma had spread anywhere else on his body.
We received the call from U of M. He had the scans on the 14th and we received word on the 17th that it was also in his lymph node on his neck and also at least one spot on the liver. We returned to U of M on the 30th of August and met with one of the oncologists there. he gave us two options for Bill's stage 4 Nodular melanoma with Braf mutation, one was a pair of oral drugs that would give him a 70 per cent chance of stalling the mutation present in his cancer. It would start to be rejected by the body after a year of usage and we would need to seek other treatment at that time. Many of the side effects would be detrimental to trying to control his diabetes with the possibility of blister s on his hands and feet as well. the chance for remission was short and not much information available for long term. Option 2 has a 40-50 percent chance of actually shrinking the cancer if successful. Remission could be 1- 5 years, possibly 10 depending on the success of the treatment one patient has had a 15+ year remission. We feel with Bill's other health issues, #2 is the way to go. So we went to the oncologist in Bowling Green, OH today.