What/whether to say about melanoma scar?

Posted by birdman518 @birdman518, May 16 10:09am

Hello all.. I am coming up on a year from my melanoma diagnosis. All is good… I am considered "clear".
But I have a big hole in my scalp from the excision.
I obviously wear hats much of the time, but when I am meeting people and cannot, I never know what to say about it, if anything.
I am quite sure people notice it and may wonder what it is.
I do not want to make people uncomfortable, and it does not bother me, even if someone asked about it.
So, has anyone else dealt with this minor question?
Thanks,
Mitch

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@birdman518 Hi Mitch. I was going to respond anyway before I saw this was you. It is nice to see a picture of you since we have talked so much. That's what I see, you, not an imperfection.

My answer is you don't need to say anything at all. If someone is uncomfortable with your appearance, that is their issue in being judgemental. It is also quite common to have all kinds of skin blemishes and discolorations as a person ages so this is really normal. My 92 year old mom has lots of spots from having spent too much time in the sun and she has had several squamous cell cancers removed.

My husband has a very similar "hole" from excision of melanoma on his hand and a skin graft that is lighter in color because it came from the groin area. It is dished in, and has a bit of redness left at the edge that is slightly raised. As it was healing and red, it looked like a piece of pepperoni. I have to be careful because it is painful for him if it is touched, so I have to check before I hold his hand. There is nerve damage from the surgery because all the skin tissue was removed down to the muscle and bone. It is his right hand, so he has to pause when someone wants to shake hands because that can hurt and cause some electric shocks. He is 2 years past the surgery and has had lots of moles removed by dermatology since them.

I guess I should also tell you that I was the kid who had silver caps on her front teeth. It was painful to always be asked why and what was wrong with me. It affected my life during all my adolescent years. So my view of all of this for anyone who wonders…. is just be accepting of differences and look at the person, not the imperfections. Everyone has imperfections and that's OK.

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@birdman518 Hi Mitch. I was going to respond anyway before I saw this was you. It is nice to see a picture of you since we have talked so much. That's what I see, you, not an imperfection.

My answer is you don't need to say anything at all. If someone is uncomfortable with your appearance, that is their issue in being judgemental. It is also quite common to have all kinds of skin blemishes and discolorations as a person ages so this is really normal. My 92 year old mom has lots of spots from having spent too much time in the sun and she has had several squamous cell cancers removed.

My husband has a very similar "hole" from excision of melanoma on his hand and a skin graft that is lighter in color because it came from the groin area. It is dished in, and has a bit of redness left at the edge that is slightly raised. As it was healing and red, it looked like a piece of pepperoni. I have to be careful because it is painful for him if it is touched, so I have to check before I hold his hand. There is nerve damage from the surgery because all the skin tissue was removed down to the muscle and bone. It is his right hand, so he has to pause when someone wants to shake hands because that can hurt and cause some electric shocks. He is 2 years past the surgery and has had lots of moles removed by dermatology since them.

I guess I should also tell you that I was the kid who had silver caps on her front teeth. It was painful to always be asked why and what was wrong with me. It affected my life during all my adolescent years. So my view of all of this for anyone who wonders…. is just be accepting of differences and look at the person, not the imperfections. Everyone has imperfections and that's OK.

Jump to this post

Thanks, Jennifer… It really does not bother me at all. I just wondered what others did, if anything.
As you said, there are many other age-related "imperfections" to worry about. 🙂

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@birdman518 Hi Mitch. I was going to respond anyway before I saw this was you. It is nice to see a picture of you since we have talked so much. That's what I see, you, not an imperfection.

My answer is you don't need to say anything at all. If someone is uncomfortable with your appearance, that is their issue in being judgemental. It is also quite common to have all kinds of skin blemishes and discolorations as a person ages so this is really normal. My 92 year old mom has lots of spots from having spent too much time in the sun and she has had several squamous cell cancers removed.

My husband has a very similar "hole" from excision of melanoma on his hand and a skin graft that is lighter in color because it came from the groin area. It is dished in, and has a bit of redness left at the edge that is slightly raised. As it was healing and red, it looked like a piece of pepperoni. I have to be careful because it is painful for him if it is touched, so I have to check before I hold his hand. There is nerve damage from the surgery because all the skin tissue was removed down to the muscle and bone. It is his right hand, so he has to pause when someone wants to shake hands because that can hurt and cause some electric shocks. He is 2 years past the surgery and has had lots of moles removed by dermatology since them.

I guess I should also tell you that I was the kid who had silver caps on her front teeth. It was painful to always be asked why and what was wrong with me. It affected my life during all my adolescent years. So my view of all of this for anyone who wonders…. is just be accepting of differences and look at the person, not the imperfections. Everyone has imperfections and that's OK.

Jump to this post

I had an open incision on my lower leg with no skin graft about four weeks ago. It is a circle with 1.0c margins and 1.0 depth. I had clean margins . It is closing up, but I was wondering if anyone else has experience with this type of incision on the leg. It is pretty scary looking now but it is definitely growing smaller.

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@birdman518

Thanks, Jennifer… It really does not bother me at all. I just wondered what others did, if anything.
As you said, there are many other age-related "imperfections" to worry about. 🙂

Jump to this post

I had melanoma on my lower arm about 100 years ago! The scar is quite large- about 3 inches x 2 inches. I also had a skin graft on my stomach & my thigh resulting from this surgery, Then more scars from removal of my lymph nodes.
I also have many other cancer scars from Moh's surgery on my legs and face.
They are not just "imperfections", and they do bother me. but perhaps as a woman I tend to be more vain than a man would be.
I have had a few rude comments, several asking if the arm scar was from a shark bite!

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@birdman518 Personally, I have a 32 stitch scar shaped like a horseshoe on my right forearm. Amelanotic melanoma surgery 12/31/2008 produced that. It has affected nerves in that area, plus leaving an uneven surface as they went pretty deep to remove everything. Yes, I wear sunscreen everyday, arms, face, hands.

Comments from people range from dog bite, to shark bite. Sometimes I say, "you should see the other guy!" But often I launch into a short talk about skin care, skin cancer, and how people need to educate themselves on what is normal/not normal for them. I use my case as an example, telling them I had to push to get the area biopsied, since the first 3 doctors pooh-poohed the idea of skin cancer since it did not fit normal protocol, being uncolored. Any time I can educate others, I do, but not until they question. Likewise, my more gnarly scar [in my opinion] of the anodular basal cell carcinoma, that sits near my right collarbone and throat is yet another opportunity to remind people to do skin checks.
Ginger

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