This morning came much faster than I wanted it to. I actually didn’t sleep well all night long and was awake before the alarm even went off. Surgery was scheduled for 8am and like last time, I was ushered into a surgical room where I met with the nurse who took my blood pressure (154/108, yep, just a little stressed!) and gave me 2 Valium to relax me. My doctor came in and we visited briefly about what was to come…measuring, numbing, cutting, cauterizing, cutting, cauterizing, waiting and waiting, and then finally results. This is what I looked like going in, after he had measured and marked off where he would start the procedure.
As you can see, the outline is a little bigger than the actual defect. The reason is to try and get all the edges clean of any cancer cells the first time around so as to not have to go back and do it again. This time, the spot had to also be biopsied. It did come back as another basal cell, which we were very thankful for! It sounds funny to be thankful for cancer, but in this case, I have the upperhand over this type and plan on kicking it right out of my body before it can cause any more destruction. My biggest fear is melanoma…I think I will always be looking over my shoulder for it to make a sneak attack.
Anyhow, after the lab came back and said we were clear and I could be stitched up, the fun began. Apparently my nose doesn’t have a whole lot of excess skin. This time a procedure, called a flap was performed. According to the website healthcentral.com, “a skin “flap”, is where skin is moved and shifted to allow for stitches to pull the skin together. For example, moving skin from the forehead or cheek onto the nose.” Once again, I was numbed up, which was not pleasant at all this time around, not only were new areas numbed, but the lidocaine was also injected directly into the open wound. Here is what this one looked like, just about the same size as the one on my lip…
The stitches were done, I’m not even sure how many this time, I just know it took longer and it seemed like there was a lot more cutting involved. I still swear that the cauterizing and the sounds of the cutting are really the worse part of the whole procedure. I also learned that there is an artery in your nose, a fact that was pointed out as my doctor looked at Tyler and said “don’t be alarmed, we will probably cut an artery here…” and then “Yep! There it is!” followed by the sound of sizzling flesh…blech! It is really a disturbing thing to smell. About 20 minutes later, he was done.
So, here I am…while I am so passionate about sharing my story and teaching others about the dangers of irresponsible tanning…I am kind of tempted to explain these battle wounds on something more exciting, like say I got too close to the tiger enclosure at the zoo and one took a swipe at me, or I decided to take up a new hobby juggling knives and it didn’t go so well. However, I feel inclined to continue sharing my story and to continue encouraging people to wear sunscreen, stay out of tanning beds, get airbrushed tans and most importantly get to know your skin very, very well. If you think something doesn’t look or feel right, trust your instincts and get it checked out sooner rather than later! Go to your dermatologist or check with MD Anderson if you are in Houston. Most dermatology departments will offer free skin screenings occasionally.
Stay tuned tomorrow, with the amount of swelling that is already occurring, I should look like I just came out of a boxing match when I wake up in the morning!