Mohs on the Nose

Archive for the ‘nose skin cancer’ Category

I’m sorry to say, I have another BCC. This time, it’s on my forehead, right at the hairline. I had a small, red spot that looked like a pimple. Because it had been there a few months, and because it hadn’t changed, I saw my surgeon. I hoped it would only need to be frozen. He took one look and said it needed to biopsied. It was a long week of waiting for the results, but they came back positive.  If you’ve already needed Mohs, the chances of needing it again, elsewhere, are very high, so the results weren’t a total surprise.

Biopsied Spot

The Biopsied Spot

As I did with Mohs on the Nose, I’ll be blogging about the upcoming surgery and recovery. The new blog is called Woes of Mohs, and you can find it here.

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Remember after I did some research on sunscreens, I decided to try Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock, SPF 30? It arrived last week and I’ve been using it since. The BIGGEST test was whether it stung my eyes by the end of the day. Good news! It didn’t! The first time I used it, I thought it was a little too sticky for a moisturizer. The second time, I discovered that if I use less, it’s not sticky. I also remembered reading a couple of reviews that said a little went a long way. Yep. It’s true.

Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock, SPF 30

I can’t vouch for how it protects against sunburn, since I’m deathly afraid of being in the sun now, especially as my nose heals. (I can’t use anything on my nose except Aquaphor until I see the surgeon next Tuesday.) That said, I don’t have real reservations about its effectiveness, based on the review from EWG’S 2010 SUNSCREEN GUIDE. At least for the foreseeable future, I’ll be using this.

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I had my 2-week-post-op visit to the surgeon today. (Actually, it’s one day short of 2 weeks because of the long weekend.) Any remaining stitches were removed and he cleaned all the gunk off. I have to say, I think it looks pretty damned good…

2 Weeks Post Op

…compared to one week ago. Wouldn’t you agree?

1 Week Post Op

My next follow-up visit is in 10 days. Maybe I’ll get to stop wearing bandages by then.:-)

My “I Survived Skin Cancer” T-shirt was a huge hit at the doctor’s office. Everyone in the waiting room wanted to know where they could get one.

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Morning

I’m feeling a little bitchy today, so it’s a good thing I’m home alone – well, as alone as you can be with two dogs and two cats. Fortunately, they all sleep most of the day, so there’s no aggravation there.

My dermatologist, “Dr. R.,” called this morning to check on me. Even he was surprised at the extent to which my BCC had spread. The good news was that he told me not to be discouraged when I see my nose tomorrow. He said the reason he sends his Mohs patients to “Dr. M.,” the surgeon, is because his patients’ results are “excellent.” As I mentioned before, Dr. R. and I go way back, so I’ll believe what he says until I have reason not to.

In less than 24 hours, my bandage comes off. No more foggy glasses; no more having my glasses sit too high on my nose because of the bandage; no more not being able to wipe my nose; no more getting my beak into whatever I happen to be drinking or eating; oh, the plusses are endless! Thinking ahead to having that bandage off, I made a couple of T’s on cafepress this morning. I’m hoping that when I wear them, questions about – and stares at – my nose will be limited somewhat. At least people will know I didn’t screw it up snorting meth (or whatever you do with it).

My New T-Shirts

Afternoon

Uh-oh. As I was washing my face, my finger got caught in my bandage and pulled it away from my face. I SWEAR! All that’s underneath is a swollen nose with a wide piece of white tape on it – nothing exciting. I searched high and low for some gauze to re-do my bandage, but I didn’t have any. Rest assured, I’m not going to the store to get any, either. I took a cotton makeup remover pad, folded it in half and taped it over my nose for that added bit of protection until my appointment tomorrow. Sure, I’ll prolly be scolded by Dr. M., but I’m used to that. I have a slight problem following rules, but isn’t that expected of someone who was expelled from a religious boarding school for insubordination? 😉

My little brother in St. Louis sent me flowers today. They did a pretty good job of snapping me out of “bitchy” mode:-) Seriously, how can you look at something so cheerful and not be cheered up?

Thank you, Little Brother!

And while I’m at it, here’s a pic of the roses one of my gal pals sent last week. The caption is what the card said. This friend can *always* be counted on to make me smile:-)

"Mohs On The Nose Deserves A Rose"

I spent the morning moving the blog to this new site. It almost kept my mind off the fact that this bandage is starting to drive me crazy. It ends below my nostrils, and sometimes it makes me a feel a tiny bit claustrophobic. Not to mention, it looks like a beak. Hmmm…now I’m thinking my blogger name should have been Toucan Maiden:-/

At 4 pm, I have an appt. with my new internist to get a second opinion on the mysterious swelling of my right foot. This is day three on Keflex and there’s still no change. Having the appt. meant I had to take a shower and wash my hair again. My makeshift face mask didn’t work so well last time because the plastic I used was a little too stiff. It kept my face dry, but only long enough to wash my hair. Today I used a gallon size Ziplock freezer bag and cut it to fit my face, then I used waterproof tape to stick it to my face. This worked way better than last time, although there are a couple of drawbacks. 1.) The plastic is blurry, so it’s almost like showering in the dark. 2.) When I pull the tape off my face, it leaves a red stripe for a while. Still, a small price to pay for clean hair.

This is how I really feel....:-(

As you can see, I still have plenty of bruising and swelling around my eyes. I’m sure I’d feel a little more human if I could put on some mascara, but I wouldn’t be able to take it off without messing up my bandage. Maybe I should enjoy my “freedom” from having to wear any makeup right now.

Another minor irritation about the bandage is that it constantly fogs up my glasses. When I breathe, the air hits the bottom of the bandage then bounces up through the top, right under my glasses. Again, it’s minor, but a whole lot of minor things are the same as one big one.

OK, off to the doctor. I wonder how many wrecks I can cause by having people seeing my “beak”?

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At least one of my readers thinks my dermatologist is responsible for the extent of my basal cell carcinoma. I need to clarify that, and it includes a confession.

That little pinprick spot on my nose actually appeared three times – not just twice. After I had the first spot frozen, it took a few months before it showed up again. The second time, my doctor gave me a prescription for Fluorouracil, which I referred to as “chemo in a tube.” I applied it to the spot twice a day, for 10 days. It would kill the cancer cells, and then there would be a healing period of another week. The advantage of this over freezing was that it left minimal to no scarring.

Once the spot healed and my derm rechecked it, I was so glad to have that troublesome spot behind me. Unfortunately, a few months later, it came back. I didn’t call my derm this time; I used the Fluorouracil without consulting him first. After I’d used it for 10 days, I called his office and asked if I should leave use it longer this time. The nurse put me on hold, and my doctor came on the line. OK, he was pissed, as he should have been. He said I should never use that cream without his supervision because it would interfere with his monitoring of that spot.

This doctor has been my dermatologist for over 20 years, so we know each other pretty well. That particular phone call was the closest I’ve ever come to hearing/seeing him angry. He made me promise I would consult him regarding anything to do with that spot. After it healed that time, I really, really, thought it was gone for good, so I was really surprised when it showed up again rather quickly. This time I knew there was a bigger problem, and I went in for the biopsy.

So, could the extent of my cancer have been lessened if I’d listened to my doctor? Probably so, and I’m the first to admit it. I’m responsible for this entire situation and I don’t want anyone being blamed for something they did/did not do.

I had a dream last night that I was walking through a store, pushing a grocery cart. I was wearing a purple silk shirt and tight jeans with pumps – and my bandage. In the store, I walked past a couple of male employees, and one said to the other, “Now I could go for that…minus the Ironman face.” Hello?? I never saw “Ironman,” so I don’t know if he wore a bandage at any point or not. I guess the good thing about the dream was that, in it, I looked good from behind:-) (Note: I haven’t worn tight jeans and pumps for close to 30 years.)

Today my face is more swollen, and I have yellow circles under my eyes. Maybe they won’t get black and blue, but I’ll have to wait and see. I’m very conscious of the fact that there’s a major sore place on my face. On a scale of 1-10, I’d say the pain level is about a 3.

Some of my friends are shocked that I’m posting my surgery/post surgery pics. Hey, what do I have to hide at this point? The time for vanity is gone, AFAIC. Now I’m just trying to get through this experience the best way I know how. I don’t understand why blogging about it is cathartic, but it is. At this point, every little bit helps.

Last week I saw my orthopedic dr. because of my swollen right foot. After an exam and X-Rays, he diagnosed it as gout. OK. I’ve never known anyone personally who’s had gout, so I knew nothing about it. Well, except that old people got it a lot. After researching it online, I learned it was an “exceptionally painful” type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in one’s system. The uric acid forms needle-sharp crystals in the joint, which cause the pain. He gave me Prednisone and said I should feel much better the next day. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel better. He also ordered lab work, so I made my way to the lab and had the blood drawn.

This morning, the doctor called and said my lab results didn’t show any uric acid abnormalities, as he had expected. He said it showed I have an infection of some sort. He’s phoned in a prescription for antibiotics. OK, this shouldn’t really cause me any alarm, but it does. I’ve had knee implants since I was 42, and I’ve always been warned by my doctors that an infection has to be treated aggressively ASAP, because they can “settle” into artificial joints. doG forbid that should happen to me, because it would mean I’d have to have my implants removed, lie in a hospital bed with IV antibiotics until the infection cleared, then have the implants reinserted. This happens more than one would think.

The good news today is that I had a shower and washed my hair. OMG. What a difference it makes when you feel clean:-)


Sapphire Maiden

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