The First Signs

On the 28th June 2000 after a day out hiking, I noticed a lump next to the ball of my left foot. I didn’t think much of it -- I had been wearing a new pair of shoes and thought the lump might have been caused by the shaped inners not matching my feet. I assumed that it would go away of its own accord given time.

On the 16th November 2000, I went to see a chiropodist, as the lump was still there, in fact, if anything, it had got a little larger. And whilst it wasn’t normally painful, if I walked barefoot for any length of time, it became so. The chiropodist didn’t know what it was and sent me to see an orthopaedic specialist.

I was given an appointment very quickly, and saw the orthopaedic doctor 4 days later. He X-rayed the foot there and then, and not finding anything, sent me for an MRI.

Three days later, the MRI showed a fibrous lump (the doctors called it a Plantar Fibromatosis). It was agreed that it should be removed, and I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.

Because I had a holiday planned, I didn’t see the surgeon until 29th January 2001, and I had to wait until 4th April 2001 before he could operate. The lump was removed under a spinal anesthetic. The operation lasted perhaps half an hour and I was awake for the whole thing. Two hours later, the anesthetic had worn off. I spent the night in hospital, and was released the following afternoon.

Two weeks later, I saw the surgeon as an outpatient to get the stitches in the two inch (5cm) wound taken out. He told me that the analysis of the lump had been done, and that it was malignant. He called it a malignant melanoma, which in layman’s terms is skin cancer, apparently very unusual on the sole of the foot.

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