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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 20:47 PM   1
spunky84
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LO is getting her birthmark removed - biopsy revealed as precancerous


LO was born with a large birthmark on her leg. During her first visit with the pediatrician, she had us schedule her an appt with a dermatologist.

She was about 2 weeks when she saw the first dermatologist. He said it was non-cancerous but could, at some point, become cancerous. He said that she could have it removed for cosmetic reasons once she's a teenager...

That wasn't good enough for me & I discussed it with her pediatrician. Her pediatrician wasn't really satisfied with it either and was on the same page as me with wanting to get it removed sooner than later (for my own piece of mind and for LO's benefit).

We finally had her second opinion appt today - this time with a pediatric dermatologist (I didn't know that there was a specialty in pediatrics!).

The birthmark grew .5 - 1 cm since she was 2 1/2 weeks old. Her birthmark is 4cm in length which puts it in the "medium" category which also means that she's at higher risk of it being cancerous vs if it were under 2 cm.

DH and I discussed it before the appt, so I was able to tell her that we're going ahead with it. I asked if she should any older and she said that it's already grown that much since she was 2 weeks and they don't want to wait too long to remove it. She was actually appalled at the other derm's assessment (waiting for her to be a teenager and for cosmetic reasons).

She has to go for a biopsy on January 9th. That way if there are any abnormal cells, the surgeon will know if he needs to extend the margins.

I'm doing the worst thing I can do right now by googling, but I did find something interesting.

Superficial Spreading Melanoma. Which they say accounts for 70% of melanomas, which is also the most common and most curable. The description match LO's perfectly & it even said that in women it's usually located on the back of the leg, which is exactly where LO's is.

I don't want to have to put her through surgery at such a young age, but after reading that especially, I feel like it's definitely the right thing.

I'm scared out of my mind though. I feel like January cannot come fast enough. I remember when I first saw it after she was born. My heart sank and automatically worried that it was something. Everyone else just kept harping on how big it was (which annoyed the crap out of me).

I'm just praying that it's benign and that removing it will just fix it all together.

Has anyone been through anything like this with their LO? How was the surgery and recovery? Did it resolve things or did you still find anything new cropping up? How do you deal with such a little, innocent baby going through that?

I'm sure it's not invasive, but still, it's so hard to imagine putting her through this and the potential alternative of not going through with it.



 
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Old Dec 11th, 2013, 21:08 PM   2
TMonster
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I didn't deal with a birth mark but I dealt with open heart surgery so its not quite the same thing but still a medical procedure and still terrifying and truthfully, it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. I looked at a ton of pictures so I knew what to expect but truthfully, when she came out of it, all I saw was my beautiful little girl and that I will deal with whatever I have to for her and that I need to be strong for her. Honestly, I was worried about having this huge scar on her chest but it looks like a large scratch that is fading more each day.

You will get through it and everything will be fine.

Hugs

PM me if you have any questions.



 
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 08:50 AM   3
drudai
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My LO didn't go through it but I did!

I was born with a birth mark on my left leg, dr's at the time didn't think it was really anything more than just something that happens at birth.

I went to a dermatologist all my life for skin allergies, and they observed it as well. It grew bigger, and bigger, and had hair. I called it my bunny rabbit?? through childhood. By the time I was 10, it was about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. One visit my dr said it was being discovered that these birthmarks could be cancerous. As you can imagine my mother was shocked, and they had it removed.
Spoiler

They numbed my entire leg, and used a scalpel to cut it away, and stitched the skin together. I imagine it won't be as scarring for a newborn as it was for me. It was a completely pain free procedure, except I still remember feeling the cold blade. *shudder*


2nd picture is me, today, 11 years later. It's still a scar but faded. It ended up not being cancerous but there was always the possibility that it could have been.

For me, in my opinion, do your daughter a favor and get it removed now. It wasn't fun growing up with it, and even worse having such a horrible scar all my teenage years. I don't even notice it now, but back then I was really self conscious. By the time she's 10, I bet the scar will be faded.

Let me know if you have any questions.



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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 20:13 PM   4
spunky84
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TMonster, that had to frightening for you Open heart surgery, definitely not the same thing, but much scarier! I'm really glad your LO did great with it and is doing well How did you find the strength to get through it? For me, it's not so much the surgery that I'm worried about, but the biopsy. More of the fear of the unknown and what happens if it doesn't come back benign.

drudai, wow, you can barely notice anything! I'm glad that yours was benign. I imagine that it had to be hard to go through that though. Just the wondering. Have you been told to watch for any new growths or anything like that?


We're definitely getting the surgery. I was hoping for that treatment plan from the first dermatologist. Just from him saying that it could become cancerous at some point was enough for me to say I want it removed. There's a small part that wanted it removed just for her sake - superficial reasons - not that I dislike her birthmark, but I also know that kids can be cruel and I didn't want that to change her in a bad way. But mainly for the risk factor.

I'd imagine that if it continued to grow with her, the size of it would likely put it in the large category which is nearly always cancerous. From my reading, hers would be in the most common and most curable, but still the most life threatening form of skin cancer.

I was feeling okay with the surgery (I mean, there's risks with every surgery no matter how little or big, but I felt it'd be okay). It's pretty much the biopsy that kind of turned me upside down. Even though I know that a biopsy would be the best plan so that if it were cancerous or pre-cancerous, they could make sure they remove enough to get all of the stray cells. Besides the fact that she's my baby, it's just hard to imagine something so small, innocent and pure having to go through something like that. I know that illnesses or anything like that doesn't discriminate against age, but it just feels like what did she do to deserve this?

I feel like we're doing the right thing. I can't imagine her having to fight cancer because we didn't do something about it, whether it be while she's a baby, a child, a teenager or an adult. She'd have her whole life ahead of her possibly compromised. And what if she was married and had kids? Then our lack of being proactive now is also putting her husband and kids through it (yes I've thought far ahead into her future lol).

It's just the unknown that's scary. And also not sure of how to deal with it if it comes back unfavorable. Scared that she won't make it to her first birthday (yes I went to the extreme in my freak out mode today).

I do feel good about what we're doing though. I feel like getting it removed now will hopefully allow her to heal more nicely, hopefully less scarring. Also, she won't remember it. I'm guessing she'll have to be put under (which is a little scary) due to her age and can't imagine they'd be able to remove it with her kicking and screaming. She'll probably be around 5-6 months when she finally has it done.

Here's her birthmark:




 
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 20:28 PM   5
drudai
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That's actually larger than I imagined it would be, she is still so very young!

Like I said, mine grew with me. At the rate it was growing, my Dr told my mother that by the time I was 20 it would probably cover a large portion of my mid thigh! Worst part was how it was fuzzy with hair. I still remember touching it... Icky. Lol!!
ETA: The earlier the better, believe me! I can't imagine my scar being any bigger than it is... uck!

I agree that they will probably put her under, can't have her kicking/squirming. My procedure was done right there at the dermatologist office exam room, no OR or anything like that. They didn't even numb me with shots, they had me wear this very very weird large bandage with numbing ointment for 24 hours. My father had to carry me into the dr office as I couldn't walk. And then back out.

I know it's very scary, and I know no amount of "don't worry"s won't help, but I'm very positive everything is going to be okay. Yes, sometimes these things are cancerous, but you are nipping it in the bud!! You are doing what's best for her and in no time in her life will she be angry about this. She will have a story to tell (just like I do now) and be cancer free.

Also, no, they never watched for growths. I do have a "skin tag" between my shoulder blades, up high near the base of my neck. They determined that it wasn't a cause of concern, as my mother has one in exactly the same place. May be genetic.



 
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 20:32 PM   6
drudai
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I just want to reassure you that the surgery itself isn't so awful. It was actually very quick, low tension, etc. Actually, all my life, when nurses/doctors would ask for "history of surgeries?" and I would explain my leg, they never added it to the list.



 
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 21:33 PM   7
TMonster
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I understand how you feel about having the strength to deal with it and go through it but somehow you find it and manage and some days its hard and you have your meltdowns but then you put things into perspective and you look at your beautiful child and they heal so quickly its really amazing.

No one looking at my lo can tell that there is anything wrong with her and unless they see the scar they have no idea about OHS. She looks and behaves just like any other normal baby.

At one point they did a blood test and she was having high potassium levels (long story) and they were trying to figure out why and found a blast cell and so they did a full oncology workup. It turned out to be nothing (she had a blood transfusion and it was after major surgery etc.) but I nearly had a meltdown. This was the day before Thanksgiving. I flew back from CA Tues night, arrived Wed morning at 6am, went straight to the cardiologists office for a followup and then they found this. They sent us to the ER because their office closed at noon an I was there till after midnight totally hysterical until they told us it was nothing.

Some days are easier than others.

As far as teasing... I have a birthmark on the back of my left thigh. It is bright red and looks like I have a rash there. My mother used to joke that when she was pregnant she was craving pizza and my father never got it for her so I ended up with something that looked like a pizza pie with a slice removed on my thigh. Now its blotchy and takes up most of my thigh but I have never felt self conscious about it, I never got teased or anything else. I have had people occasionally ask me if I hurt myself or if I had a rash and I just said its a birth mark but that is the extent of it.

As far as my daughters scar goes, we decided that if people say anything to her she can just say she got it at 'nam. I know the scars fade to pretty much nothing very quickly so that is what I am hoping will happen to hers. I will just teach her to be proud of her body and what she has overcome.



 
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 08:59 AM   8
sequeena
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My son has been through 2 operations on his hand (one to remove a polydactyly, the other to correct a hypoplastic thumb) and will probably have an op for grommets in the new year. It was scary each time but the time went faster than I thought and the recovery was fine (though after the first op he did have a nasty infection).

Operations, especially if they're under general anaesthetic are always scary no matter what they're having done.



 
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Old Jan 20th, 2014, 20:46 PM   9
spunky84
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We got LO's biopsy done on the 9th, and we just got the results back today.

It turns out that her birthmark is already pre-cancerous. I'm hoping that fact will help persuade my insurance to authorize her surgery.

Authorization takes approx 3-5 days at earliest, so I'm hoping to know more by sometime next week. If authorized, the next step will be the consultation and then hopefully the surgery soon after.



 
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Old Jan 20th, 2014, 21:10 PM   10
sequeena
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Good luck I hope she gets the op ASAP xx



 
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