Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Blog Is Moving To A New Site

After much thought, I've moved Mohs on the Nose to a new blogging website. As much as I love google, their Blogger leaves a lot to be desired. Couple that with the fact that they have zero customer support, and there you have it. 

The same blog is now located at See you there.:-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


After I had my biopsy done, I had a sizeable sore on the tip of my nose. One of those little "mini" Band-aids was the perfect size to cover it. The doctor gave me a few extra because he said we could no longer buy them. Huh? I was pretty sure I could find them somewhere. I looked in every drugstore and grocery store near me, and they simply did not exist. I even emailed Johnson and Johnson and complained about it (only to receive a form letter, btw). 

To date, I don't think there's ever been anything I've searched for online that I didn't find. "Mini" Band-aids were no exception. :-) I found them on a website for school nurse supplies and I ordered 200 of them, knowing I was going to need a lot of them after my Mohs surgery. Ha ha. Very funny. Unless I use 10 at a time, they'll be useless when my bandage comes off. If anything, it'll be hard to find a bandage big enough! Mother Universe has a very wicked sense of humor sometimes. 

True Confession

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. 

Day 4 After Surgery

When I looked in the mirror this morning, I was hit by a flash of yellow - under my eyes - and much more than yesterday. The bruising has spread and my eyes are more swollen today. So far, I'm feeling a little blue, but I'm used to that. Let's face it; ain't nuthin' cheery about this situation. That is, unless you consider my horoscope for June:
...It's also possible that you've had a lot of interaction with medical professionals lately, for the twelfth house rules health and healing. Perhaps you had surgery, needed long-term treatments, or required physical therapy. If so, you were doing so at the right time - your chances of success are strong.
Unfortunately, it goes on to say:
June 25: Mercury in hard angle to Uranus, creating very difficult events that could rock your world. 
June 25th is this Friday, when I get my bandage off, so here's my strategy: I'll go in pretending to expect a perfect nose under the bandage, and when I see the scarred-up mess that actually lies underneath, I'll pretend I'm shocked/having my world rocked. Hopefully that will satisfy Mother Universe. Actually, I like to expect the worst since anything less than that is a pleasant surprise:-)

I'm very happy to hear that many of you are being encouraged to visit your dermatologist, based on my blog. I love hearing that, and I hope more of you will do the same. And don't forget to slather on that sunscreen like you're putting jelly on toast. 

One of the things I forgot to mention in my initial post was about the cauterization that took place after each layer of skin was removed. The zapping sounds were bad enough, but the smell of burning flesh was truly sickening. The nose is a very vascular area, so there was a lot of cauterizing that had to be done. The surgeon said one patient told him she thought it smelled like Arby's. Nope, sorry, even being a vegetarian, I'm here to tell you it didn't smell like anything you'd ever want to eat. In all honesty, it made me think of Auschwitz. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Isn't It Ironic?

Today I was watching tourists on TV helping to clean up Destin Beach and Panama City Beach, my ol' beach weekend haunts. I remember one Saturday afternoon my boyfriend and I walked along Destin Beach, then spread out on a blanket and fell asleep all the sun...without sunscreen. C'est la vie.

Day 3 After Surgery

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:-) 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 2 After Surgery

My face is even more sore than yesterday. Then it only hurt when I moved my mouth; today, it hurts without doing anything:-( My nose is itching like crazy, but the doctor told me not to touch it for anything. I discovered that if I wiggle my nose like Samantha in "Bewitched," it's the same as scratching, so it's not all bad.

Although I think I've created the perfect solution for protecting my bandage while showering, I couldn't muster the energy to actually take a shower. I've been napping a bit, reading a bit, watching "Breaking Bad" first season on DVD. (Awesome, btw.) 

So far this whole experience is making me think seriously about some things, such as vanity. I think I'm about to let that whole thing go. I've reached a period in my life where I have amazing, true friends, and I know how to reciprocate. While it's always nice to make new friends, I could be perfectly happy with the ones I have right now and not have any more; I'd say they're "high caliber" friends. You can't put a price on a true friendship. They are/will be the ones to help me through this ordeal. Knowing I have their full support is what's important right now. No matter how small the gesture, it means so much on the receiving end. I want them all to know that. 

OK, tomorrow I'm having a shower for sure!