Caring, Competence and Teamwork produced Good Results

UCLA Health article

Caring, Competence, Teamwork and Good Results

My dermatologist told me the biopsy indicated that the growth located on my face between my left ear and eye was Melanoma. He referred me to Dr. Fritz Eilber at UCLA, whom I met the day after Christmas. He reviewed the specifics of my case and told me that he was referring me to Dr. Maie St. John as she was more experienced in operating on Melanoma in the facial area where my melanoma was located, where there were lots of nerves and blood vessels.

My wife, daughter and I met with Dr. St John who told me that she would remove the melanoma and an additional 2 centimeter border to verify that all the cancer cells were removed. She introduced her partner, Dr. Vishad Nabili, who would do the reconstructive work to heal the surgical wound and make my appearance look good. He explained the reconstruction which would involve taking some skin from my thigh to cover the wound and replace the skin that would be removed with the Melanoma. We (mainly my daughter) asked a lot of questions which Drs. St John and Nabili answered fully in a warm and caring manner. One of the more surprising answers was that the small wound on my thigh would be the most painful part of the whole process. We felt very comfortable to have Dr. St John and Dr. Nabili as my lead doctors.

When I entered UCLA Hospital for the surgery, I was briefed again by Drs. St John, Nabili, the anesthesiologist and their residents about the procedures they would be performing. After the surgery, that evening I felt good enough to enjoy a full dinner. The next morning Dr. St John told me, with a big smile, that the surgery was successful, the margin was clean and I could go home. Since the operation, Drs. St. John and Nabili have me in an active monitoring program and I meet with them and their colleagues in Dermatology, Hematology-Oncology and Geriatrics periodically to confirm that my wounds have healed properly and I am free of cancer and/or to detect promptly any new cancer that might develop.

Eighteen months later, the melanoma surgery wound has healed and is virtually undetectable. I claim it is my better looking side and I am free of cancer. I am very thankful and very happy with the caring, competence, teamwork and good results I have experienced with Doctors and Staff in the UCLA Health network.