We made it though our marathon of doctor’s appointments, and they all went very well. Not too much to report on any front, which is nice. As I said before, the dermatology was the “biggest” one, and he saw nothing that we needed to be immediately concerned about. Peter had the great foresight to bring pictures my old dermatologist had taken about 5 years ago, so we were able to compare the majority of my moles to see changes, of which there were very few, and none concerning (no biopsies!).
One of the challenges with me is that most of my moles are fairly large, have irregular borders and contain different colors, all of which are typically signs of melanoma, if you go by the ABCDEs of moles (which you should all Google and take a look at, if you haven’t already). So, needless to say, most general practitioners who have looked at my moles tend to get a little nervous and not know where to start. But with this dermatologist, who definitely knows what he is talking about, said that people like me who have these kinds of moles (and who tend to have a lot of them, as I do), also tend to have those same moles gradually get bigger over time and tend to get more moles over time as well. This is also VERY good to know, as these are usually NOT normal things to happen to moles. It’s also very good to know that having these moles that appear atypical is actually typical for some people, since looking at all those irregular borders and weird colors was starting to worry me, given my new history.
HOWEVER, if we see any mole change over a shorter period, like changing over a few months, then we will worry. So that’s why Peter and I will had a photo session today to document what I look like now, and then we get to pull those pictures out on the first of every month to check and compare. Fun times! But it will be much better than worrying about if things have changed or not. (As an aside, one of the pictures he took of my back is amazing. I have a waist at 38 weeks pregnant! I’m actually rather tempted to post it, I’m so proud. It’s nice to have something I can be excited about with my body these days!).
The plan is now to wait until the baby is born to take off that “moderately atypical” mole (which does not have any indication of being malignant, they are just being understandably more aggressive with me, which I appreciate), then I’ll have it removed 4-6 weeks after baby is born. The plastic surgeon will do it because it’s in a tricky spot in my hairline and is RIGHT next to my skin graft. I would guess that it will just be local anesthesia, since they won’t be doing another skin graft or anything, but I don’t actually know (and I don’t want/need to worry about that right now).
Speaking of the skin graft, the plastic surgeon said it should now be “bulletproof,” and I can treat it pretty normally now! This is great news because I had been treating it very cautiously, and trying not to touch it much.
He also told me to massage my scars to help them heal and lay flatter. This is good to know and I will start doing this, but frankly, I’m not looking forward to it. Because of how the different surgical procedures were done, my nerves in my cheek, face and and neck are very messed up. It doesn’t… hurt, exactly, but it just doesn’t feel great to touch those areas. And the sensations are different in different places. My right cheek near my ear is numb except to pressure, as is my neck in front of my scar. My neck behind my scar seems to have normal feeling, and touching my scar itself just feels… yucky. Also, because I no longer have one of the major muscles in my neck, I am much more sensitive to pressure on my neck on that side and can feel it in my trachea/windpipe much more keenly, which also does not feel awesome.
I’m sure massage will help desensitize those areas as well and I think if I proceed gradually with the massage, I will eventually get better with all of it.
After dermatology and plastic surgery, we had my regular 38 week OB appointment. Nothing exciting there, which was good news! Baby is still head down, measuring on track, etc. My doctor told me he doesn’t do internal exams (where they measure how dilated/effaced you are) because, as he said, you can be 3 cm dilated for weeks or you can be undilated and go into labor that night. So I don’t know if I’m dilated or effaced, but it sounds like that information isn’t terribly helpful anyway.
And then I took a nap 🙂 All in all, a very good day!