Trevor's story: Within a week it had grown
The first sign of anything wrong with my health, was severe headaches and my eyes not focusing properly. This went on for several months before doing anything about it. I thought, I needed to go and get new glasses, but had not got around to it.
I was working up in the roof of my house, when I knocked my head on the truss. Within a week I had this small pimple style lump come up, within another week it had grown quite big, very red and sore. I went to my GP who said he would cut it out there and then, and send it away to be tested. It came back with clear results, I thought good news.
I received a letter from the Hospital to say that this was not considered urgent treatment and they would put me on the waiting list. I was concerned about this and again went back to my GP and told him, so after his intervention I received an appointment with the specialist. He told me this could not wait and was very urgent he sent me for a scan.
The results came back showing that it was growing internally between the skull and the scalp. Within a week I was in Hospital to have it removed. He cut the melanoma out and ground the skull in case it had spread into there, he cut a flap from the side of the head and swung it around to cover the area where the melanoma was removed from. He then took a skin graft from my leg to replace where he took the flap from, stapled me together bandaged me up like a mummy. The operation took about 4 hours and sent me home the same evening.
About midnight I had to go back to the Hospital A&E to get it checked as we had used six towels to soak up the bleeding. After waiting up there for 3 hours they redressed it and sent me home again.
From the day after the operation the headaches were gone and the eyes began to focus. The district nurses called daily to dress both the head and skin graft this went on for several weeks, with the skin graft being the worst part and took weeks to heal, and was the most painful. It also took months for the swelling to go down on the head.
I can’t praise the surgeon and the district nurses enough for their care. By bumping my head it saved my life otherwise I would never have known it was there. By the time it was discovered sometime later it probably would have been too late.
Nowadays, I rarely go out without a sun hat on but it never used to be like that. My generation used to just let ourselves cook in the sun all day long, not knowing how much we were exposed.