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. You can kind of see it in my video “what my teenage son eats in a day”. I made this video right before Mohs surgery, see the left side of my nose near the tip. If you want to view this video click 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: I have completely changed out my makeup, face wash, sunscreen, almost everything and have switched them out for products that are NON Toxic and NON carcinogenic! 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. I LOVE Suzanne Somers face products and makeup, especially her facial scrub since my makeup now gets stuck in the scars on my nose, it’s very helpful in removing it. I have also switched over to Suzanne Organics Wild Orange Vanilla Body Wash, which smells very much like an orange starburst I love it, and Suzanne’s body butter.
UPDATE – My book Eat Pray Get Well ~ A story of overcoming decades of chronic illness, a difficult childhood, and food addiction… with 60 recipes free of gluten, wheat, yeast, peanuts, refined sugar ~ Forward written by Doug Kaufmann – TV Host of Know the Cause, can now be purchased here on my blog here and on Amazon.com