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Mark Day

“Mark Day My Story”

Hi, I am 46 years old, married with a Daughter aged 17 from a previous marriage and a Step Daughter, aged 14 and a Step Son, aged 19 my wife’s children. My job is driving LGV vehicles which I have done for the past 25 years.
My cancer story started eight years ago when a mole which I had on my second toe became larger, darker in colour and itchy. I have had this mole all of my life since a small child, I did the typical man thing and wouldn’t go to the Doctors but my Wife nagged me until I gave in and went. The doctor examined me and said “it’s nothing” but if I was worried about it then he would refer me to dermatology. So the weeks went by and we heard nothing, so my wife rang dermatology to ask why I hadn’t received an appointment and they told her as the doctor had not specified urgent, I was on the waiting list and they advised her to contact the doctors and get him to change the referral to urgent.
So this she did and again he said there is nothing to worry about but he would have it changed to urgent, within days I had an appointment through.
I attended my appointment and by the end I had three different Consultants examining my toe, this was how concerned they were about it and I was told the mole would be removed and sent off for testing. Within days I had it removed and was told I would hear from them within two weeks. Three days later I received a phone call asking me to come in to see the plastic surgeon’s registrar. The next day I went in to see her and was told it was a malignant melanoma and would have to have my toe removed the following week. I had my surgery and was off work for five weeks.
I then attended check-ups every three months and then six monthly up to the five years and was then signed off.
I must include this as it is relevant to what comes next. Since my late teens I have had numerous lipomas (fatty lumps) which appear under my skin and have had many removed at my doctors and at the hospital.
Jumping forward seven years after my toe was removed to June of last year I felt a lump in my left groin area and I just thought this was another fatty lump so didn’t mention it to my Wife for a while. When I eventually did, she again nagged me until I made an appointment to see my Doctor. On seeing him he examined me and said because of my history he would have to refer me.
The appointment for the hospital came through very quickly and I attended the Oncology Department where I was examined and introduced to the Macmillan Nurse; I think they knew what they were dealing with from the onset.
Within a few days I had a needle aspiration under ultrasound which came back positive for melanoma and I was told I would need to have my lymph nodes in my groin removed and had the pre op carried out there and then.
The appointment came through for a CT pet scan, so I had that done and was worrying myself sick. After a few days the Macmillan Nurse rang me (on a Tuesday) to let me know that the cancer hadn’t spread and was contained in my lymph nodes and I was booked in to see my Consultant on Thursday with the operation taking place on Friday.
I had my operation on the Friday which was lymph node dissection with Sartorius muscle transposition. When I woke up I had two drains in and I was sent home after four nights with one drain in.
The second night I was home I noticed in the middle of the night that my drain bottle had de vacuumed so the following morning my Wife and I returned to the hospital where they changed the bottle. I walked back to the car which took me 20 minutes because of the pain I was in and as I reached the car I looked at the new bottle and noticed that the gauge was indicating that it too had de vacuumed. We headed back into the hospital where it was changed again and within two minutes that one de vacuumed also, so a Registrar was sent for and when he arrived he changed it again and sealed the pipe which was going into my leg, but they noticed by now that my dressing was very stained and it was removed, when they did so, they found what I can only describe as a very large blood blister and I was told this was a wound breakdown and that they wanted me to see my Surgeon that afternoon so she could take a look at it.
Because we didn’t want to wait around for two hours we decided to go home and on the way home I began to feel very ill and my Wife had to stop the car. We returned to the hospital that afternoon still feeling very ill and went into see my Consultant. When I removed my trousers from my hip down to my knee it was bright red and very hot and as soon as she saw this she said that I had to be re-admitted as I had a very severe infection. For two days I was very ill, being sick and going hot and cold and sweating. Seven nights later after being on intravenous antibiotics I was released on oral antibiotics which I took for a further five days.
A week later I saw my Consultant and she debrided my wound, following this for the next six weeks I saw her once a week, as the part of my wound that had broken down was now 5½” x 2½” and down to the muscle tissue and looked just like a shark bite!
After eight weeks I returned to work on light duties and then one week before Christmas I had two further lumps removed from my upper thigh on my right leg. I had an appointment to see my Consultant on the 12th January and was informed they were just fatty lumps, which was a relief.
I have met some really lovely caring people in the last six months. The Nurses on the ward were great, my Macmillan Nurse is wonderful and my Consultant has been great and I couldn’t have wished for a better person to treat me.
After my operation I was told that the cancer was contained in one lymph node and hadn’t broken out of the capsule. I am on three monthly check ups, my scar feels very tight and uncomfortable on some days and I have a lot of numbness on my inner thigh down to my knee.
Every ache and pain I get now I think it’s related, and keep thinking the cancer is back and I am just hoping with time I can get past this feeling. Once you get diagnosed with cancer it’s like being on an emotional roller coaster. I have watered my story down quite a bit, so I hope I haven’t bored you too much.

Mark

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