About three weeks ago, I noticed that a raised light mole on my chest (that I've had forever) had some dry spots on the top. Worried, I called a friends dermatologist to make an appointment. Because I am a new patient, the appointment wasn't for almost a month. Scared to wait, I made an appointment with my regular doctor. He looked at the mole and said it was nothing to worry about and that I could absolutely wait for the dermatologist appointment.
I felt better but then a week later, after working out, I noticed some blood spots on the bottom of my bra. I had no idea where they were from. I took a shower and when I got out was shocked to see a darker rasied mole on my abdomen (again, I've had it for a long time) bleeding around the top edge. The bleeding stopped quickly and I had a friend look and she said it looked like there was a scrape or scratch right at the uper boarder of the mole. It is several inches below my bra line, so I think I may have scraped it with the underwire when putting my bra on -- but I didn't feel anything.
I called my regular doctor again and told him about it and he still felt it was okay to wait for the derm appointment which is now next week (he didn't look at that mole, just the one on my chest as I hadn't been worried about it because there had been no changes until the bleeding)
Well, then I found out yesterday that because my place of work is going out of business, I am not eligible for COBRA benefits and my regular benefits expire on October 1. My appointment September 27, just days before my coverage ends. I think I am qualified for coverage under HIPAA, but that will take a month to process. If I go to the appointment and it turns out to be something, I'm worried I won't be coverered and I won't be able to get coverage. But I'm also not sure if it is really okay to wait.
The mole is a little larger than a pencil eraser. Dark brown with little black flecks. The upper border seems to have healed and there hasn't been any more bleeding. The mole has looked the same for years, but I admit that I don't examine it closely very frequently and I haven't been to a dermatologist before.
You're fine. You certainly can wait, because you're not going to get any bad news. When a mole that's been there before starts to bleed suddenly, it's essentially always because it got scratched or rubbed, which clearly is what happened to yours. My advice is to keep the mole covered so it won't get scratched again, and show it to the dermatologist on the 27th. I understand your anxiety, but I'd be willing to bet that you'll find out that all is OK, and quite possibly no biopsy will be needed.
Try not to worry yourself too much. I am not a doctor, but I have many many moles (several of them raised) on my body. All since birth or at least early childhood. It is not uncommon for one to bleed, especially the raised ones. They catch on clothing or get rubbed, etc. I am sure your regular doctor is well versed in what melanoma looks like, even though he is not a dermatologist, and if he had any serious suspicions he would have probably pulled some strings with a colleague to get you looked at immediately. Since he did not, I suspect he did not think there was much of a chance that it was something very serious.
Check to confirm that you will not be able to continue your insurance coverage without a break in your policy. You may want to speak with someone in your company, the insurance provider, or your state insurance office. There is usually some provision that allows you to continue your coverage for a period of months until you get another job. Do check. I think that will ease your mind as well.
I bet Dr. Rockoff will give you some reassuring information that you can use to keep calm until you can get the dermatologist put your mind at ease.
Just another thought, if the dermatologist feels that it is best to play it safe and remove the mole, you are not talking about major surgery so the costs will certainly not be that great. Would in all likelihood be done in his or her office. God forbid your insurance does lapse, you are still talking about a minor procedure and you can probably even work out a discount or a payment plan with the dermatologist. :) Though I bet she will say you are worrying about nothing :)) Your county health service may also be able to assist you.
Thank you, Dr. Rockoff. You have no idea how much you have eased my mind. And thank you for your comments as well, John. I am definitely going to be spending tomorrow on the phone dealing with this insurance issue. It will be much easier now that you have both given me a little more peace of mind.
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