Tag Archives: skin cancer

Before The First Step Of Running: Returning After Time Off

They say a journey begins with the first step. But it begins before that. Getting back to running after injury, melanoma, skin graft and rehab I had to rebuild back up to that first step.

This 2020 journey begins with a less-than-ideal 2019. The main event was finding out I had Melanoma skin cancer: click for details

No Running

After injury, melanoma, a skin graft, time off work and rehab I was happy with moving a little closer to normality. The skin graft was my main limitation.

Weeks of bed rest. Weeks of no running.

Surprisingly I didn’t miss running all that much but I was getting frustrated at not being able to move like I used to be able to. More details here: 5 Weeks After Melanoma Surgery

First Run

Eventually I was able to go my first run.

It was for ten minutes and it felt awkward.

The idea of running felt great. I was happy to be out there again. But I wasn’t smooth. My body had forgotten what it was meant to do.

Bit by bit I built my running back up. The skin graft still provided limitations. I had to get creative to improve my running. Finding ways to prepare my legs without risking the healing.

Not Just Running

Those creative ways included:

  • step ups with a high knee lift
  • calf raise with a deep drop
  • directional hopping

These exercises appear in the video above. They are simple, but sometimes a visual makes it easier to understand.

The hopping was actually harder than it should have been. It’s amazing how much of the skills and coordination you lose after being bed down for four weeks.

The aim was to get back to where running felt good. Over the weeks I eventually got there. Running feels good again. That’s step one. There are many more steps to take.

Skin Graft Update: 5 Weeks After Melanoma Surgery

Just had the week five check up on my skin graft. Here’s the update…

It’s healing well but not perfectly at this stage. A couple of days earlier I was a little concerned. There seemed to be a bit of splitting around the edges. I wasn’t too sure if this was anything to be worried about.

I took it easy and they did heal up a bit. Better, but after having a chat with the surgeon he would have liked the graft to be completely solid. Which it’s not quite there yet.

Young For A Skin Graft

The surgeon suggested younger people like myself can take an extra week or 2 around this stage. Which is quite good that at 42 I can be considered young. My kids keep telling the opposite.

A bit of Kenacomb cream has been added to assist the last bit of healing. The skin graft should be considered solid within 2 weeks.

I still have to give the graft plenty of TLC. Keep it protected and that means I am well off running. I’ve got to get through another stage of healing before I even look at beginning the process back.

I don’t think I’ll be out for a run before the end of this year.

It is what it is is. Still at least another 2 weeks before I can get back to a normal-ish life. Even though there will still be limitations.

For the extra details on where this all started this post: Melanoma skin cancer: now bed bound and no running. covers it.

Be sun smart out there.

Melanoma Skin Cancer – Now Bed Bound and No Running

Bed bound is a change of pace. But when you find out you have Melanoma skin cancer, it’s a starting point.

That mole on my leg that I’ve mentioned previously. I had it removed. Then after a wait the pathology results came back.

Turns out it was more sinister than first thought and hoped. It turned out to be melanoma. Lets break down exactly what melanoma is.

What Is Melanoma?

  • Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer
  • It makes up 2% of skin cancers, but is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths
  • Australia and New Zealand have highest melanoma rates in the world
  • 1 in 17 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 85
  • Most melanomas are caused by prolonged and repeated exposure to UV radiation in sunlight
  • More than 90% of melanoma can be successfully treated with surgery if detected early

These facts were collated from Melanoma Patients Australia. Head over to their website here for more information.

Levels of Melanoma

The Clark Scale has 5 levels:

  1. Cells are in the out layer of the skin (epidermis)
  2. Cells are in the layer directly under the epidermis (pupillary dermis)
  3. The cells are touching the next layer known as the deep dermis
  4. Cells have spread to the reticular dermis
  5. Cells have grown in the fat layer

Life In The Sun

I have spent so much of my life in the sun. I have chased the warmth and love the outdoors. Running, cycling, swimming, beach, hiking, camping and just being outside. Sunburnt way too many times.

It all adds up.

There is no such thing as a healthy tan.

Diagnosis

Lucky for me my melanoma is at Level 1.

Melanoma Clark Level 1

Treatment

Treatment is surgery.

Cut it out Cover with a skin graft and nothing should have spread elsewhere.

Prognosis is good.

Right now my treatment includes looking after the skin graft. Which is bed rest, compression and elevation of my leg.

There’s an element of boredom in there. Maybe some frustration at not being able to move. I don’t want all the work of surgery and the efforts of the surgeon, nurses, anaethestist and everyone else involved to go to waste.

The Biggest Lesson

We often don’t like to admit it. The biggest lesson I have taken from this is…

I should listen to my wife.

My wife told me to get the mole checked for 18 months. With no good reason, I put it off.

Lucky I didn’t keep waiting.

Melanoma Vlog

For the video version of this post click here

, melanoma removal, skin graft, youtube, vlog, bed bound and no running for 6 weeks

Running And Skin Checks

In the harsh sun of Australia, running and skin checks should go hand in hand. Interrupting my running to have a skin check. I was actually a little bit nervous. 

Take Good Advice

I finally listened to my wife and got a skin check. Make sure everything’s all right. Check all the moles and make sure that none are cancerous

This check should have been performed earlier. Living in Australia and spending plenty of time in the sun means I’m at risk.

The doctor managed to find some moles which were a bit concerning. He wasn’t particularly worried about them. But they still met the criteria to be removed. So that’s what I did.

I have to admit I wasn’t thinking much it until I arrived. There is something about having a piece cut out of your body. Even though it’s superficial. It still makes you think.

Skin Checks And Skin Cancer

Head on over to the Skin Cancer page of the Cancer Council for more detailed information.

Running And Stitches

Good news is after the moles were removed, the doctor was confident they won’t be a problem. Of course they are sent off to be properly tested. To get that 100% piece of mind.

The process has put a gap in my running. The cut has needed 4 stitches on my lower leg. Running puts a strain on those stitches. So a few days off running and a gentle return back in as the cut heals.

In some way it’s a little frustrating. My rebuild back from a toe injury is delayed. Importantly I prefer to put health before fitness. It comes back to knowing your why.

Running Vlog

Jump on over to my vlog on this at youtube about running and skin checks.

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