2 Month Update

Its been almost 2 months since I have had Moh’s surgery. I feel like I have been through hell and back, but it’s done. I am starting to have shooting pains in my cheek, so I believe that the nerves are starting to grow back together now. Its still somewhat numb and I have a wonky smile. But you know what? I don’t have cancer on my nose anymore. And for that, I am genuinely thankful.

I think that I have come a long way in just two months. It will take about a year until its fully settled, in. At that time, my surgeon and I will make a decision about any revisions that need to be done.

I really thought that I was going to be so much more self-conscious than I am about it. I had it covered under a bandage for so long that when I was finally at the end of using the bandages, I was happy to be done. I had great fun packing up all the first aid tape and bandages into a shoebox and labeling it “Damn Cancer Box.” The chances are pretty good I will get another one within 5 years, so at least now, I am ready for it. And I am not scared. And as for leaving the scar out to the open, who cares what anyone else thinks? I can honestly say that if someone wants to stare, go for it. I can make you feel just as uncomfortable. 😉

So, now that I am at this point in healing, I am just using a good skin care regimen (Roden & Fields Sensitive) and keeping my face as clean as I can. I am using a scar gel named Cicatricure on the nose and cheek. Hopefully, it will help. And as always, sunscreen. Although I will say that I have an intense fear of the sun now. I am sure that will pass, but for now, I am a shadow walker. LOL! 😉

So, that is basically all for now. I am good, my skin is good, and God is good. All the time.

 

Sun Protection and Your Skin

Well, sun care has become a factor in my life. I have a real fear of being outside now. Since I live in the desert, the sun is brutal. I have become a shadow walker. Home is my refuge, and I look outside a lot at how pretty it seems out there. And let’s be honest. Its 106 degrees out there right now. I am not feeling the overwhelming urge to get out there and frolic. It’s hot, I am fat, and I am good in the house. Our A/C rocks.

I started researching sun care products, and I have come across a few things that I want to share.

First, growing up, my house had a pool. I am blonde hair, blue eyed and fair. But growing up, a deep, dark suntan was what I was always striving for. Baby oil and iodine was my elixir of choice. I would slather that on and let the sun fry my skin. More than once, I would end up with blisters from a nasty burn, and I would be out there again the next weekend. All summer long, I was laying out by the pool or at the beach.

Now, if I knew then what I know now, I would NEVER have done that. I would have never laid out, always put on sunblock, and stayed in the shade. Could’ve’s, would’ve’s, and should’ve’s, right? I could seriously kick myself in the ass now. What an idiot I was!

Most of the sun damage you do to your skin is done when you are a child. It takes years to develop into skin cancer. So, what I am reaping today could have started 40+ years ago. And let’s face it. The 70’s and 80’s were not known for skin protection. And, of course, I always thought “it will never happen to me!” Surprise! Bad decisions still have a way of rearing their ugly heads. And this one seems to be a serpent with a lot of heads.

However, this is nothing I can change. I cannot turn back time, I can’t undo the damage I have done. But what I can do is protect myself from this point forward. When you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you are told that you are now susceptible to getting more. In fact, you have a 60% chance of getting it again within 10 years. And a 61.5% chance of getting it back after having a second one.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “If you’re one of the millions of people who have been diagnosed for the first time with either a basal cell carcinoma or a squamous cell carcinoma (also called BCC and SCC, the major nonmelanoma types of skin cancer), you have better than even odds of getting another. About 60 percent of people who have had one skin cancer will be diagnosed with a second one within 10 years, says a 2015 study in JAMA Dermatology,” (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2018.)

So, here is where I am going to get a bit preachy. SUNSCREEN, HATS, COVER UP! Parents, coat those babies in sunscreen from the first time they will be out in the sun. Coat yourselves when you are outside. Weeding, gardening, and washing your car are all ways to get a burn when you are not even thinking about it. Throw a hat on, use sunscreen. I have found the sprays don’t protect as well as a lotion. Find one with AT LEAST 30spf to wear. I have found an excellent one to wear on my face by EltaMD.

eltamd

I use the tinted and its a perfect match for me. Goes on easy, smooth, and light. This one is recommended by most dermatologists. Its about $27.00 a bottle but it lasts a long time. You don’t have to use much.

And for your body, I like this one from the same maker:

eltamd2

Some clothing that is actually made for sun protection is made by Coolibar. There are some cute things in there, and the hats are adorable.

Coolibar, sun protection you wear

And finally, if you see a spot on you and it doesn’t look or act right? Get to the dermatologist pronto. They can put you at ease and possibly stop something before it starts. If you have a partner, have them look at your back regularly. It’s an area that you cannot see, but they can. Melanoma can kill you. Squamous cell is highly invasive and Basal cell can invade and cause damage. Wouldn’t you want to catch that before more damage is done?

 

D-Day

Well, surgery has been set for September 7, 2018, to have this skin cancer taken off my nose. I have affectionately named it Nelly (after that bitch Nelly Olson on Little House on the Prarie.) While I am relieved that it is going to be removed, I am nervous as hell that it is going to be larger than we all expected.

My ideal situation would be that they numb me up, take the first layer, study it under the microscope, and declare they got it all. The doctor stitches me up, and I am on my way. I guess I am going to know if they come to get me out of the waiting room and say “we need to do it again.” If that is the case, I know I am screwed. I am choosing to think positively and really hope they get it on the first pass.

My field office has been very supportive of me with this situation. Had a good conversation with my Special Agent in Charge and he put my fears at ease about having to possibly take some time off. I love my job and I am already feeling bad for leaving my office in a bind. But, it really helps to have a good supportive team behind me. I am blessed.

Of course, irony always has to rear its head. Sept 7th is the day my dad passed away 15 years ago. Maybe its a sign that he will be virtually holding my hand.

I honestly just want to get it over with. Three weeks from today. Tick Tock.

PS: Here is a site that I frequent for awesome recipes. Mel is a genius in the kitchen. Anyway, she just went through a MOH’s procedure on her nose. Her BCC is on the same side of her nose, same exact spot, and same exact size of mine. And she is as cute as can be about 8 months later, so I have lots of hope.

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/on-a-personal-note-what-happened-to-my-face/