Just when you think you have paid your dues with illness in this lifetime, life always has something else to throw at you doesn’t it?
Warning – If you are squeamish I think you should still be okay because I HAVE blurred the most graphic photo. I will continue to update this page as it heals, but this post is being released 6 weeks after surgery for skin cancer. I have been asked if I have a “before” picture of the spot (basal cell carcinoma) but I do not. The spot was THAT small guys! You can however sort of see it in the video I did right before surgery. If you want to check it out you can here.
I have to admit, for most of my life my nose was my arch nemesis, the thorn in my side. As a teenager all I ever wanted for my birthday was a nose job. Then at 19 I came down with a sinus infection that lasted decades. Now my nose was bringing me this? But after taking that bandage off after 48 hours I had formed a new love and appreciation for my nose and all I wanted was for it to go back to the imperfect nose I always thought it was.
The mohs surgery was done on good Friday. I was excited about Easter and told the family to pick where they wanted to eat that Friday night. After all, it was a tiny spot and I’d probably leave with a little band aid on my nose. That’s not what the cancer had agreed to and the cancer calls the shots. Mohs surgery is when they remove a minimal amount of area where they believe the cancer is and then test it and make sure it’s out and that the surrounding margins are clear as well. If there is no cancer left on the first round you are done. If they still see cancer, you repeat this as many times as it takes until there is no sign left of it. On the 4th round they got it all, the cancer was out. Now it was time to reconstruct and I never saw this coming. I should have, the surgeon told me it was a possibility, but the spot was so tiny I didn’t believe the doctor would REALLY need to take skin flaps from my forehead and nose to cover the hole..pfft! But that is exactly what happened. I decided after the reconstruction that I did not want to look in a mirror, but the surgeon said he would rather me see while he was there. I looked and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t recognize myself and although I was relieved the cancer was out, I also couldn’t believe the new Miss Piggy nose I was left with. You could see straight up my nostrils. He assured me it was just temporary but in my mind the doctor stitched my nose and pulled it up and I worried this could be permanent, so yes, I shed a tear like a baby right there in front of the doctor. They bandaged me up (see ridiculous looking bandage below) and I stayed stuck in my head behind that bandage for 2 days until I was allowed to remove it. I flip flopped from feeling gratitude, to feeling sad, to feeling guilt that I cared this much about how my nose may look when after all I WAS ALIVE and it was now out. So shame, not wanting to be left out, also joined the party. Yes, it was fun 48 hours behind that mask. After the pity party was over, and since I was homebound for at least the next 7 days, I watched all 6 seasons of I love Lucy which always seems to make everything okay.
Below – cancer is gone, now it’s time to reconstruct.
Scary 48 hour mask.
This picture below has to be my favorite, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My entire face is swollen, not just my nose. I let my husband unwrap my face and I let him look first. I was embarrassed by what I knew I must look like so I made a joke “don’t hate me because I am beautiful” and he quickly retorted “that is not why I hate you” and I burst into laughter for the first time in days.
Photo below – starting to look so much better…
6 weeks after Mohs. Bandage has been off about one week now and it feels so good. My nose is not exactly how it was before, and I am self conscious of my profile from one side, but overall I am very happy and grateful because I am aware it could have been so much worse if it continued to grow undetected.
I did form this lump on the left side of my nose that the doctor said may not come down without a steroid shot into the bump. I was reluctant but glad I did, a few days letter it dissolved by 80%.
BEFORE steroid shot….
About 6 days after steroid shot….
Below – 4 months since Mohs surgery…..
Update: today October 9, 2019 I am back in bandages as I got dermabrasion for the scarring. I will update the blog with a photo in a few weeks when I heal.
By the way, I trusted my gut and instead of getting a plastic surgeon to close it, I let the mohs surgeon Jonathan Lopez MD do it. He is here in Tampa and I would recommend him 100% to anyone. If any of you find yourself in this situation, I hope this post brings you peace, because you WILL look better! And if it happens to be on your nose your whole face may even look different during the healing process but DO NOT WORRY you will be fine. I found a blogger over at Mel’s kitchen who also had mohs surgery on her nose and her blog post really kept me going.
I am now looking into not just better sunscreens but non toxic ones, and non toxic make up as well! So far I am going with Nature’s Brand ,their sunscreens are non toxic, organic ingredients, NON GMO, and reasonably priced. They are also free of phthalates, parabens, and preservatives.
UPDATE – I have been using Suzanne Sommers makeup and moisturizer and I really do like it. NOTHING TOXIC WHATSOEVER. Sounds good to me!
If you haven’t heard, my book hit the shelves last November. You can check it out here.