Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caution: Gross: Don't Look: Skin Cancer Surgery

Back in the 80's, when I was a teenager, cancer wasn't that big of a thing. Something old people that smoked got. Up to that point only one, single, solitary person in my family had ever died of cancer, and that was one of my Great Grandfathers in his 70's. Lung cancer, natch.

We'd not heard of skin cancer, that I can recall. Sun block? Ha. We slicked up with SunTan oil or baby oil and laid out and worked on our tans many Summer time days.

Eventually we did start hearing of the dangers and warnings, but pooh-pooh'ed them as someone's over-reacting hysteria.

Or I did until I was about 23 years old. When I was seven or eight months pregnant with my 2nd son, I got a skin cancer of the Melanoma type on my lower back. Where many girls have a "Tramp Stamp" tattoo (that was after my time) I have an ugly scar.
I can't see the scar and wasn't really that concerned about the looks of my lower back, but it was mostly that having that sonuvagun cut out hurt like a bitch. Hurt, burned, bled like a stuck pig.
It made an impression.

So I started trying to take better care of myself. Somewhat, but not religiously. I use Sunblock if I'm going to the beach or pool, but not so much in just regular day-to-day outings.

I guess I've been lucky to make it to the ripe old age of 45 before having to deal with it again, but on the other hand I think maybe if I had only done a better job over the past 20 years I wouldn't even have to be dealing with it now.

I still even at my age break out with pimples sometimes, and that's what I thought this one was.  Being where it was located, the corner over my left eyebrow, I kept hitting it with my fingernail when I'd brush my front-hairs to the side. I just thought it never got a chance to heal because I kept hitting it.

It looked awful, like a water blister or something, and I knew I needed to get it seen about, so I finally wound around and made an appointment.

The first appointment, the Dermatologist deadened the area and removed the...bump, growth, whatever you call it, and sent it to be tested, but she was pretty sure it was Basal Cell Carcinoma.

I didn't get a before - before picture, but this little spot over my brow is what was left about a week and half after the first part was cut off.

Doesn't look that bad, right? Just a small place. Shouldn't be any big deal to have removed.

I had a consultation with the Mohs Surgeon doctor and he explained how it worked, they remove a layer at a time, test it right there to make sure they got it all, or remove more layers until they get clear tests. He didn't think mine had gotten very deep at all.

He explained about how there would be a hole left in my head there and to close it they would cut into the temple area and pull the skin up and stitch it.
The way he drew the picture, it was two small cuts, one to the side, and one above they have to cut to take out some "bunching".  I'm neither a seamstress or plastic surgeon, so I just nodded and agreed.

Long story short, it wasn't as minor or simple as me and J both had the idea it was going to be.

No I'm not wearing make up, that red on my eyelid is blood under the skin, and underneath my eye is a black and blue bruise.

If you've never really believed or took it seriously before, believe this. It fucking hurts.

If you're at all fair-skinned, don't compare yourself to darker toned people. You weren't meant to be darker or you would have been born darker.
Porcelain skin (aka fish-belly-white) may not be considered beautiful at the moment, but not that many years ago it was. And if the skin cancer trend keeps going like it is, it probably will be again.

So wear your sun block, a big floppy hat, sleeves, whatever, and protect and take care of yourself while you can.


Prudent Wisdom said...

OH WOW!! Bless you I am so bad about not wearing my sunblock but am OCD about painting it on my boyz!

I wanted you to know that I enjoy reading your blog so much I nominated you for the Leibster Award, check out the details here

Melissa said...

You look like you might have a darker skin tone, Dana, so hopefully you're not as at risk as us poor redheads and blondes. It is no fun to deal with :(

Thanks for the Award nomination!
I'm not too good at re-posting (following the rules, lol) but I am pleased you like my Blog enough to nominate me. I know I'm not to everyone's tastes :)

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