Thursday, December 02, 2004

Dave,

The title of this message is "a Christmas Gift, a Second Chance." Back in September I noticed a small lump on top of my head, after two weeks I went to my local dermatoligist. He immediately took a biopsy and two weeks later he called to tell me to see a surgical oncologist. This was all occuring in and around my visit to NY to see my daughter and grandchildren and to attend the retiree luncheon in October.
I was reluctant to mention it at the luncheon, not exactly a topic for a friendly get together - it was a malignant melanoma!
Upon visiting an oncologist in Berkeley we discussed the possibility of having the surgical procedure in Seattle where I would have family to look after me---it turned out to be a good decision. I met an absolutely professional and sensitive surgeon - Dr. Byrd - at the Seattle cancer care alliance. He discussed with me and my daughter, Laura, the procedure he would use and my chances of success -- 80-20!
The operation included removing two lymph nodes, removing a section of skin from my neck and reparing the removed skin from the top of my head. The nodes were sent in for a pathology determination-------thank God it turned out that there was NO evidence of cancer and more than likely never will be. My reason for sending this message is to stress the importance of examining your body for anything that might be suspicious and to seek out a dermatoligist. Only because I visit my local dermatologist regularly was I able to have a good outcome.

Have happy holidays---I will.

fraternally,

Bob Vernum