Sunday, February 21, 2010

Was Sunbathing That Much Fun?

Take a look at Susan Lucy's blog at . She has an excellent post on her experience with basal cell carcinoma, or skin cancer. I'm going to add her link in my sidebar so people can refer to it if they need information on skin cancer.
There is more information on the internet on sites like Mayo Clinic, if you need to know more about symptoms, images, treatment, etc., so I won't go into all of that here.
Several years ago, I decided to work on a career in teaching skin care and had the time in the summer for that activity. I dressed up and, as I fixed my makeup, I noticed a pimple, right on the end of my nose!
I surely couldn't teach skin care or sell make up, looking like that! So, I waited on it to heal. It didn't go away and my summer was passing quickly. I went to a dermatologist and was told I had a skin cancer. He took the bump off, leaving a little hole in my nose. I doubt that others noticed it, but I did. My primary doctor reported that it was okay. It wasn't the bad kind of cancer, but was a basal cell carcinoma.
At the same time, that dermatologist froze several other moles. Someone told me that they would return. And, they did.
A few years ago, I felt a little rough spot on my back. I couldn't see it, even with a mirror, so I had mydaughter take a picture of it. She did, but deleted it before I could really look at it. I just remember seeing a red spot.
I tried to have her "doctor " the place, cleaning it with peroxide and applying Neosporin to it. But she didn't want to do it and I couldn't reach it. So, it got doctored, occasionally.
When I was in the hospital, having my knee replacement in November, I noticed a spot of blood on my bed. The nurse told me that spot on my back was bleeding, so she put a band aid on it.
At home, it kept bleeding and oozing pus- looking material. Again, I tried to get my daughter to doctor it, and she did, twice.
When I went back to my primary physician, with my list of things that needed checking, I included the spot on my back. She had measured the place at an earlier visit and said I would need to see a dermatologist. Now that it was bleeding and oozing, she referred me to the dermatologist.
I was able to get in to see him and he examined the place, deadened it, and took a biopsy of it. He put a bandage on it and gave me some ointment to put on it. Of course I couldn't reach it. My daughter would put the ointment on a bandaid, put that on my back, and put tape , loosely, all around it. But, she wouldn't do it on schedule and the tape irritated the place and the surrounding skin.
I went back to see the doctor because the place was oozing green, smelly fluid that seemed like infection. He said that is just what it was supposed to do, and would form an ugly looking scab. The nurse advised me to leave off my bra and shirt at home and let air get to it. No more tape!
At this visit, the dermatologist told me that this was a basal cell carcinoma and asked if Iknew that. I told him that I didn't. I thought that they were supposed to let me know.
However, I had not been concerned about it. I thought that we were just not able to reach it and doctor it properly. But, I was concerned about getting an infection. The Orthopedic Surgeon warned us not to get any kind of infection because it would go straight to our new knees. So every little thing became something that I thought should be checked for infection!
The dermatologist told me to return in 2 months for a check up. He told me that he had removed the carcinoma when he did the biopsy.
Last week, I went in for the follow up appointment. My stomach was not happy that day and I took extra Lomotil before I went to the appointment. At the clinic, I had to stand back and wait at the designated spot, where there were warning signs and hand sanitizer! A woman fumbled in her purse and I felt like I might just have an accident right there in line, if I didn't get to the bathroom immediately. But I waited and rushed to the restroom before going to the area where the doctor was located.
Why was I getting so sick at my stomach again! I wasn't anxious or worried. I looked at the visit as an opportunity to sketch!
The nurse called me in, and commented about the beautiful day outside.
In the examining room, a young medical student sat down with me to ask questions. He was thin, dark, and had straight black hair that seemed to go everywhere. I wondered if he was "in style" or just couldn't make his hair do anything that day. He wore a gold dress shirt and matching tie under a long lab coat. He seemed very serious and forthright.
Soon, the doctor came in. He looked at my back and said that he didn't like the way it looked. He touched it and announced that it was still there. All I could see at home in my mirror was a purple spot.
I told him about some other spots and he announced that most of them were to be left alone, but he had the student freeze a couple of spots that were a little itchy on my back bone.
He sketched a little oval on a piece of paper and said that is about how large the skin cancer is. He said the next step is to cut it out. He said it is about the size of his little finger, showing me up to the first joint on his finger. They would cut out an area around it, then sew it up with a lot of stitches, in 2 layers. The first layer would close it, the top layer would tighten it up.
He asked if I am taking any blood thinners and I told him what I'm taking for my heart and stent.
After the doctor left, the nurse returned with a chart of his available appointments. Iasked her about being NPO and being asleep. She said that they will just do it in one of the examining rooms. I can eat and drink and won't be put to sleep. I am to lay on my side and they will deaden the area with Litocain.
I would rather be asleep and not know. But I'm going to have to think of it as being very interesting. Of course, I won't be able to see it anyway. It should be easier than having teeth cut out, I hope!
I talked to the therapists about going to cardiac rehab afterward. They told me to see how I felt. They didn't recommend doing the back machine or anything that might pull on the stitches. We will just have to see how that goes.
The doctor is nice, soft spoken, and patient, so I feel like it will be alright. I just hope that my stomach will cooperate! I've been having stomach problems ever since I had my knee done and they gave us all a stool softener. It got worse after I had a colonoscopy to see why I have so much stomach problems. So far, they didn't find anything and just told me to take Lomotil regularly. It doesn't always work.
I don't think that I am particularly afraid, but I guess I must be some, because I keep thinking about it. Ialways have a little dread about what someone is going to do to me. Even if I think I am okay with what is going on.
The sketch of the bottle is something I do while I'm waiting in the doctor's office and other places. I always have my sketchbook, so I practice, and look for interesting things to record. In the dermatologist's office, over the sink, there was an unusual looking bottle on a little shelf. Often, there are bottles of liquid soap or disinfectant of some kind. But this one reminded me of a bottle that might hold a genie, or, at least, some exotic kind of perfume! There was no label, but all these diamond shaped designs across the bottle. It was a sort of grayish green that picked up bits of refletion from the lights.
I had to work fast, so I just put in the important shapes and shadows. Sort of like taking notes that can be completed later.
I'm having a hard time figuring out how to cut and paste part of my posts into an e-mail to send. These computer things keep changing and it takes me a while to figure them out. I was doing it previously. It gets really frustrating.
It would probably help to just send these e-mails to subscribers. So, if you haven't subscribed to my blog, please do so. And tell others about my blog! Thank you for reading and sharing.

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