Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Imiquimodding it up

Looked about like this to start.
If you don't know by now, I am a middle-aged white lady who is, through a series of unfortunate decisions regarding the sun and teenage job choices (lifeguard should never have been on my list of things to be), prone to skin ailments.

I have had multiple things frozen off my skin, two things cut OUT of my skin that required plastic surgery, a couple of other things just straight-up cut out, a few 'shave' biopsies, a round of Efudex (preventative), a couple of rounds of light therapy (another preventative) and now, the latest in the series, I'm undergoing imiquimod therapy for a basal cell carcinoma on my left shoulder.

It works like this: you get the news that you have a BCC, then the doctor either says 'let's go for surgery' or they say 'you can use this goo once a day for a month and see if that gets rid of it.'  I opted for the goo this time, and since the middle of January have been applying it once a day to the spot and surrounding area, as it says on the label to do.

For a couple of weeks, nothing happened.  That indicated to me that the shave biopsy got all the bad stuff.

How naive I was.

Starting around week 3, the spot began to inflame.  And itch, and swell up in a dermatologic snit.  Not long thereafter, an adjacent spot began similarly snitting.  Another BCC or anomaly?  Possibly, so I widened the treatment area a little, and am now suffering the comeuppance of that action, as there are now 4 added small spots that have loud-mouthed their way into my awareness.

FIVE spots that itch and hurt.  In the bra-strap area.  Understandably then, I have not worn a bra in the last week unless absolutely necessary.  I hope sweatshirt season sticks around a while longer, but it's supposed to be 80F today and I'm not sure I convince ANYONE that a sweatshirt is needed under those conditions.  I pray for a strong wind to make a cover-up a plausibility.

Yesterday, after I took a shower and thereby softened up the scabs on those 5 spots, I had a burst of enthusiasm and got dressed to head out to do some errands.  That included an unfortunate decision to wear a bra (it was in the 70s!) and not tie up my hair, which goes to the middle of my back when loose.  I also wore a loose-necked shirt, because comfort.  Things were going great, except for the intense itch of once of the spots that hides out under a bra strap, until I turned around to grab the seatbelt and a strand of hair that hds gotten STUCK in a scab tore loose and just about made me say a bad word.

That's right, I ripped off a scab using only my HAIR.

Y'all, I don't know how women get their nethers waxed, if it's anything like ripping off a scab by the hair-removal method.  That chit burns, folks.

Nearly 24 hours later, as I sit here typing this, I can feel each and every one of the irritated spots on that shoulder.

As a result, I have stopped treating the area.  Enough damage has been done.  Six weeks is two weeks longer that I was told I needed to treat, and so I applaud myself as an overachiever, satisfied that I've done what's needed.  Treated one spot, came up with 4 more.  Enough.

Tomorrow though I might start on the OTHER shoulder, just to see what's there.  And maybe buy a strapless bra, so I can be publicly supported while my shoulders go all meth-addict.

Time will tell.

Tiff out.


oldfriend said...

Start the other shoulder.

And continue to treat the 4 new spots for the required 4 weeks.

Oh, and you looked gorgeous with a tan, my dear. Not good consolation now for this mess, but maybe some salve for the soul if not the shoulder.

tiff said...

I will start the other shoulder, just not yet. Letting the left one heal up a little more first.

We all looked fab with a tan! Not sure it was worth it, but hell, being young means you make a lot of poor choices. :)