I have posted before about my experiences with skin issues. 10 years ago I used Efudex for the first time to banish any proto-cancers from my face, which worked....kinda. I was really hoping to get good and pizza-faced from the treatment, but was not to have all that gratifying of an experience, instead suffering with tons of tiny ITCHY spots to deal with that were also painful. It was a good thing my dermatologist told me to only do half my face at once - otherwise I would probably have clawed all my skin off to lessen the pain.
Apparently, though, the Efudex didn't get rid of all the issues, and I wound up having some actinic keratoses and other curious things frozen off my face, after which time the Derm said 'You know what? Eff this individual freezing-off business, let's blast you with high-intensity light after pretreating your skin with dangerous chemicals so as to make your teeny-weeny possibly almost cancer-face bloom in a fury of growth that is unsustainable and thus short-lived, eh?'
And I said yes.
So, we did that.
But only after I had my first surgery to get rid of a basal cell carcinoma on mah fayse. Because it needed to go, and short of pouring a glug of concentrated hydrochloric acid onto the tumor, only surgery would get it out for sure.
We did the surgery, I started booking in derm appointments every 6 months instead of yearly, and occasionally got things scraped or frozen off, no biggie.
OK, those two 'shave biopsies' we did last year still itch from time to time, and they're never going to look pretty now that they're scarred over, but there wasn't anything bad lurking in there and they're on my back so I can't see them so...they're largely forgotten about.
Then, a couple of months ago at a regular ol' derm visit, another biopsy was done of a spot on my nose. I tut-tutted the notion of this being ANOTHER BCC, because hadn't all those other treatments pretty much eliminated the chance of another one developing?
"Well no, just not as MANY" said my dermatologist.
And thus and appointment was made for mo' Mohs. On my nose.
Mohs surgery requires a numbing agent (1% lidocaine with a lil' epinephrine to stop bleeding) to be injected into the surgical area. Which, in this case, was MY NOSE. NEEDLES IN MY NOSE! I nearly cried from anxiety. I hate needles. Especially in MY NOSE.
But I lived through it, the cutting, the cauterizing, and then the three subsequent hours I had to wait until I was scheduled to arrive at a plastic surgeon's office to 'do the closure.' Guess the Doc who did the cutting thought the 'defect' was too significant for her to handle. Whatever, sister. Hand off the fancy work to someone else now that you're done hacking at my face.
You know what happens within 4-6 hours of administration of injectable anesthetic? It starts to wear off!! That's right! You get to experience 1) pain and 2) more shots in the schnozz to deaden the new pain that is to be introduced once the plastic surgeon starts stitching!
But, you know what hadn't fully happened to me in the time I had to wait? The 'wearing off' effect, so that when the new doc started in with the needle I was instantly thankful to the heaven above that my bod was clearing the first round slowly. Sweet relief!
The upshot is that I now have 7 stitches on the right side of my nose where a hole used to be that took the place of what was a cancerous growth, and that's OK. The cancerous growth could have been MUCH larger, the Mohs could have gone on much longer, and the repair could have involved flaps of skin being moved around on my mid-facial region. I'm too old to be to vain, and if surrendering some vanity (like, for example, getting to walk around with this big ol' blood-soaked dressing on my mug for the next 5 days) means I get to live knowing that at least ONE fewer issue will crop up to do me in, then I'm cool with that.
I don't kid myself that it's the last removal I'll ever have, or that it's the last skin issue that will ever happen. Too much damage has been done for that. Oh, and just to be sure we continue to catch things in time, I now have to go to the dermatologist every FOUR months.
She must have her eye on a new boat or something.