OMG Erin, i’m glad to read that you are feeling better and your overall health most of all is good. I’m worried about being in that situation too snce my body is full of freckles and i wouldnt be able to know if i hace a new one growing because they are just too many to count so i have to be monitoring myself often. I wonder if they gave you antibiotics this tme. Sending hugs!!!
Skin Cancer And Mohs Surgery On My Nose | What You Need To Know
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? I was shocked to find out the tiny pinprick looking mark on my face was cancer and that I required mohs surgery on my nose.
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.
Mohs Surgery Was Not Was I Was Expecting
The mohs surgery on my nose 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. See my television interview below where I share my story of Mohs surgery.
Reconstructing The Nose Once Mohs Surgery Is Complete
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. When 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.
Photo: Scary 48 hour mask.
My Television Interview Discussing My Skin Cancer
Is Mohs Surgery On The Nose Painful?
Most people will feel at least minimal pain. I felt throbbing face pain for the first 24 hours following surgery. Mohs surgery on the face can be emotionally traumatizing so I hope my experience assures you that you will indeed look normal again in time.
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: Mohs surgery on nose.
Below: Watch My Television Interview On Know The Cause Discussing My Skin Cancer & Mohs Surgery
Photo below – starting to look so much better…
How Long Does Mohs Surgery Take To Heal?
Of course we all heal differently, but this is my progress at 6 weeks after Mohs surgery. My bandage has been off for 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…..
How To Prevent Skin Cancer From Returning
Stop doing what you have always done. Do you bake in the sun? Do you wear toxic make up and toxic sunscreen on your face? I have completely changed out my makeup, face wash, and sunscreen. I switched them out for products that are NON Toxic and NON carcinogenic!
Nature’s Brand tinted SPF 30 sunscreen is my favorite makeup/sunscreen right now. It also covers my Mohs surgery scars perfectly! It is super clean. It contains no nano particles, no petroleum based ingredients, free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, preservatives and the list goes on! It is also incredibly affordable.
Non Toxic Make Up and Sunscreen – Below is the exact product I use now by Nature’s Brands.
I currently also use Color Science Sunforgettable Brush-on Shield SPF 50. Wow, it could not be any easier. I am in Florida so I HAVE to carry sun protection so I use this brush on powder when I’m out playing pickelball or on the beach and need something small, fast, and not greasy. It’s the only powder sunscreen recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for Active use.
Titanium Dioxide 22.5%; Zinc Oxide 22.5%
Check out my 2nd edition book: Eat Pray Get Well – A Journey From Chronic Illness & Brokenness to Wholeness & Healing. As seen on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS American Health Journal and more. Exclusive interviews with cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, supermodel Carol Alt, Joe Cross of Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and more.
Update: Photodynamic Therapy 2.5 Years Post Mohs Surgery – Read Full Story below
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Hi Lili! I have a lot of freckles too so I have no idea what I’m even looking at 🙂 Now I have to go every 6 months to get checked. Yes, after the Mohs surgery I HAD to take antibiotics, I didn’t want to but they talked me into it and it did get a little infected. Now I am back in overdrive undoing any abx damage. Make sure you get checked once a year! 🙂
I will get checked, thanks for your reply and im sending prayers your way so we can all get as healthy as possible, fingers crossed 🙂
Wow, it healed so quickly and now you can hardly tell…great doctor!
Thank you so much for this post. I’m having my first facial Mohs procedure next Thursday. I’ve had on to a basal cell carcinoma on my chest, but this new one is on my nose and after unadvisedly googling images, I stumbled onto your post which gives me some peace of mind that I will survive and it’s not the end of the world. Not going to be fun, I know. But again, thanks for these encouraging pics and posts. I can’t wait to see how the dermabrasion went.
hi Julie! I’m so sorry to hear this BUT you will be okay. At first you may not recognize your face but don’t let it scare you. The body is so great at healing! After this I changed my make up and sunscreen. Never slathering on toxic sunscreen and products again! Keep me updated! Erin
Where can I buy your book? Amazon CA say it’s not in stock right now….thanks!
Hi Krista, Did I get back to you? I am going through my messages…yes, we sell to CA – let me know if you still need help – [email protected]
Hi Erin. My name is Erin, and I just got my biopsy results — BCC next to my right eye. Mohs surgery is next. I’m pretty freaked out. Thanks for sharing. I’m really glad to know that it will all be ok eventually.
Hi Erin! You will be okay but yes it’s scary and even a bit traumatizing but we all got to the other side okay ..remember that 🙂
Thanks for the reminder. They haven’t scheduled yet, but it’s only been 1 day since I got results. Yes, I might need a reminder.
And I’m so sorry you have to go in again, but I’m really glad you are on top of it now. I’m getting all my son checked next week by derm. Time to be vigilant. You are a beautiful soul.
It was wonderful that you shared your pictures and story. My name is Jean and I just had a small BBC in a similar location to your cancer removed yesterday with MOHS. This was not the first MOHS I have had done I had it done in 2007 on the other side of my nose and I am now 58. I had a star shaped flap and I was given options from skin graft to skin flap and the surgeon said that was the best choice. I had forgotten how painful the first night was over that many years passing. I am doing a little better this morning but I still cried about it and I am so thankful my husband is supportive. I am hopeful that this scar will fade after a year but what scares me is that I will have to go through this again since this was the second time on my nose. I was lucky that this MOHS surgeon is sought after for being top notch, but it still was scary. I am glad you are so positive and reassuring and that I feel I can share this with someone who has been there too. Take care and I wish you continued health and happiness.
I’m glad you are on the other side – the next few days are the worst! 🙁 I did get another spot right near my Mohs scars that has been there about 5 months. I have been putting different essential oils on it – is it working? I don’t know…maybe? My derm said we will just keep an “eye” on it and she didn’t biopsy it so I guess that is good 🙂 wishing you the best and a speedy recovery!! Erin
Thank you for posting your pictures. I had my surgery yesterday. My eye is so swollen I can barely see out of it and I can barely breathe put of my one nostril because it’s also swollen. I know time will help, but seeing it healing in your pictures helps put my mind at ease too. So thanks again!
hi Alisa, the swelling can be shocking, and yes, my nostril looked pulled up, it was hard to believe it would ever look normal again. it’s really wonderful how our body can heal – wishing you the best! Erin
Thank you so much for this discussion and the pictures. I found your blog 1 month bf I was scheduled for surgery on my nose tip. I was so freaked out and scared. Your posting this really helped me through the whole experience.
3 weeks and one day since surgery right now. I did cry when I saw my ‘new’ profile. Dr. had to go down 5 cuts- luckily ( or not) he went with a skin graft off the side of my neck because he said my forehead was too low haha.
Anyway you gave me courage and definitely will check out the sun screens and make up you mentioned. Actor Hugh Jackman apparently has had several of these as well and he visits dermatologist every 4 months- something I may do as well. Thank you so much again!! Amy
Hi Amy – thank you so much for letting me know and I am glad to hear you are on the other side! Don’t worry about your profile, give it time to heal it’s really miraculous to see how much we can heal – you will look great! and yes change your sunscreen and makeup..who knew!
Hi Erin, thanks for sharing your story. Had Mohs on bridge of my nose yesterday and they took flap from lower part of nose. They kept talking about scar but I also now have a “pig nose” which they didn’t warn me about. I don’t recognize myself. How long did it take for your nose to look more like you? Thanks very much.
Hi Wendy! I’m so sorry to hear that but please don’t be scared. The “pig” nose was pretty traumatic for me. I couldn’t understand (or trust) how it would miraculously go away but it does! I wasn’t warned about that either. It’s been about 3 or 4 years now since I had Mohs so I honesty don’t remember how long but I believe it was a matter of weeks. It’s crazy how the body heals and yours will too! Erin
Thank you for your post! Do you remember the size of the defect your Mohs left? I am 36, my wedding is this year, and I just had Mohs last week. I had a different plastic surgeon close me the next day. My nose is not only piggy nostril on one side, but the whole nose is pointing to the right. Top plastic surgeon, and yet he said nothing about this. Now I wish I did a graft!
My wound was pretty big – 1.1×1.2 cm and he is saying that on my tiny nose, losing that much skin resulted in this severe deformity. Did your nose also point to the side a little, or did you just have the piggy nostril? I am so scared that by the time of my wedding (in the fall), I will have an ugly profile. Do let me know if you remember what was the case with you! And you do fully feel like your profile is 100% back to its original?
HI Mimi – I’m sorry to hear you had to go through this. People write to me all the time about the “piggy nose” after MOHS. It’s apparently very common and thank God goes away! My profile from the one side is not 100% no but I can come to terms with it. I feel my mohs surgeon did a great job. It’s easy to panic because right now your nose looks nothing like it will in a month or so. As far as it leaning to the side, talk with your surgeon, your septum should not have been involved so maybe it’s a temporary thing from MOhs. It’s hard not to worry but pray and give it time, eventually it will be a thing of the past you rarely think about anymore and look forward to your beautiful wedding! 🙂
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