Today is the 2 week anniversary of my latest and greatest surgery – a complete lymph node dissection of my left groin with sartorius transposition (or a CLND). This is the suggested treatment after the original melanoma is removed if your sentinal lymph node biopsy comes back positive.
WHOA!! What is all this medical STUFF?! If you are newly diagnosed with Melanoma, or have no medical background, this may seem like very scary stuff. Let me break it down for you.
My melanoma measured 2.1 mm thick. This is a deep melanoma, so when they removed it, they removed a wide area (2 cm on all sides) around it to make sure they got all of the original cancer. Any oncologist will tell you this is standard care.
In the same surgery, they did what is called a sentinal lymph node biopsy. The lymph nodes collect fluid called lymph from all areas of the body. The lymph nodes closest to the original melanoma are the most likely to show spread of the cancer, so they remove these to gauge the spread.
In my case, I also developed what is called an “in situ” melanoma in between the original cancer and my sentinal lymph node area. Once this popped up, I opted to have the remaining lymph nodes in the area removed. This is the CLND I mentioned earlier.
So what the heck is a sartorius transposition? The sartorius muscle is a thin muscle in your thigh that connects at your hip bone. Some surgeons opt to move this muscle to help protect the area where the lymph nodes are removed in the groin. Every surgeon is different, and every patient is different. I’m glad my surgeon did this, even though I have to go through physical therapy to regain full use of my leg. But this may or may not be for you.
I’m extremely happy to have reached 2 weeks. I am healing a little bit more each day, and every day the swelling decreases bit by bit. I get fitted for my compression stocking tomorrow, and I never thought I’d be so excited for a stocking! I will update you tomorrow on how the fitting goes 🙂