Cancer Cells are GONE!

The day that I had dreaded for so long was finally here! MOHS surgery scheduled at 9am. I expected to be in the doctor’s office for most of the day and packed a bag. I packed my diet coke, ice, snack, iPad and charger…Ready to hydrate, read a book and listen to music.

My husband drove me to the doctor’s office. I kept trying to relax but felt so nervous! I kept trying to think happy thoughts but my mind kept going back to the unknown of the day ahead of me. I text my parents and asked that they say a prayer for me and the doctor. My Mom’s return text told me they loved me, would pray and let them know how I did at the end of the day. Knowing my parents were saying a prayer in my behalf helped to relax me somewhat.

The doctor came into the room and introduced himself to my husband and me. As he was looking at my face and my leg he explained what the steps would be, that a final outcome isn’t known until all areas were clear of cancer cells. He told me he was really concerned about the location on my eyelid but again, its step by step.

Lidocaine is something I have never like being injected into my skin! Some doctors seem to have a knack for keeping the burning and painful sensation to a minimum. This doctor was good but I have had much better injections in the past. The thigh area is not too bad when the lidocaine starts to go into the tissue. Very tolerable. But my eye is another story! The lower and upper eyelid is such a sensitive area! All the tricks were done but It hurts so bad until the numbness starts. Once the area is numb the next injection isn’t as bad.

My thigh had 1 large slice taken off. The eye lid had 1 slice taken off. The skin tissue was taken to the lab for pathology review. Each area had a pressure dressing applied to control bleeding and I think to keep me from looking at each area. 

The nurse came back into the room and announced the thigh was clear and would be sutured when everything was done. My eye still had cancer cells and the doctor would take another slice.

Another slice cut from my eyelid. I could hear the cutting through the tissue which I though was very odd. I held my body tense afraid I was going to feel pain. No pain.. all skin numb. Another pressure dressing and time to wait.

While waiting I feel calm. I listen to conversations from the other rooms. One man is having a lesion removed from his ear. A woman announces she is a ICU nurse. I think…so much for patient privacy laws.

The doctor and nurse come back into room and happily announce the eyelid is clear. I am so relieved and tell the doctor about my fears and concerns of the “what could have beens”. He tells me part of my eyelid is gone and he will do a graft from my upper eye lid.

I was starting to have sensation in my lower eyelid. He tells me he is going to try to suture without anymore lidocaine since it will increase my eye swelling. The first suture, he told me, I would some pressure. That was very understated! As soon as he started putting the needle into my skin my body came off the table. I held my head in one position but my body was moving. I was told he had 4 more to do that would feel that intense. I told him to use lidocaine, I didn’t care about the burn from the lidocaine or swelling but I didn’t want to feel that kind of pain!

Pressure dressings are applied to both areas, I am given my discharge instructions and walked to waiting room.  I still had my bag of goodies not using any of the items.  Randy asked if I had been given something because I was talking non stop.  Most have been the adrenaline!

I am thankful and grateful to everyone who expressed their concern thru prayers and well wishes!  All cancer cells in my eye lid are gone!  All cancer cells in my thigh are gone!

Nervous, anxious and afraid!

Tomorrow is the day I have MOHS surgery. The basal cell carcinoma that is below my right eye and on my upper thigh will be removed.

MOHS surgery is a slice by slice procedure. Each slice is reviewed under the microscope to see if all cancer cells are gone. If not, another slice is cut and cut until every edge is clear. When the process starts the doctor and I will not know how much skin or tissue will need to be removed. Not knowing the final outcome is not how I like to do things. I like clear-cut answers whenever possible. 

Most MOHS surgery incisions are closed the same day. The incision is sutured closed, bandaged and you are sent home to recover. If my eye/face requires a large incision or the cancer cells goes into my eyelid then the incision will be left open for a plastic surgeon to reconstruct.  A bulky bandage will be placed over my eye and wound and I will see the next doctor in a few days.  Not fun, going home with an open hole on ones face!

I mentally try to prepare myself for tomorrow! I feel like I am informed on what to expect. I have read many articles and viewed pictures with good and bad outcomes. I am as ready as I am going to be!  But yet, I am nervous, anxious and afraid! I will try to stay positive and hopeful!  

All positive energy, thoughts and prayers sent my way are very much appreciated!

March 14, 2012

My dermatology visit was to be a routine visit or so I thought.  My dermatologist is part of a large group.  He is gentle, considerate and allows me to be part of the decision/plan making.

I planned on having a lump removed from my right thigh.  This lump had been bothering me for a few years but I recently decided the lump needed to be removed.  I could feel a lump under the skin but it never changed in size or caused any discomfort.  The skin was dimpled over the lump but was not too obvious.  When the lump formed a sore on the surface and then never healed I knew it was time to see the doctor.  The doctor gave it a long name that I should have written down because I can not remember the name to save me.  He did say he was like 99% sure it wasnt cancerous but would biopsy to be positive. 

The numbing with lidocaine minimal burning.  Before I knew it he said it was out and a pressure dressing would be applied.

All skin on my body was examined by the doctor.  Wearing a flimsy hospital gown can be awkward to say the least.  The gown is lifted an moved around.  I am trying to keep the gown from falling to the floor but I am thinking it would be easier to stand naked for the exam.

2 areas on my face are suspicious and the doctor asks to biopsy them.  1 in below my R eye and the other on the L side of nose. 

The nose is numbed first.  If you have had lidocaine injected into your nose then you will agree it hurts like HELL!  The biopsy is small and leaves a 1/4 inch wound.  Not too bad!

The R lower eye is now numbed.  I expect the pain and burning to be like the nose but I am surprised ti feel only one small prick of needle.  I hold my breath thinking it is going to hurt any minute but it never did hurt.  The doctor takes his time removing the area he is concerned about.  He described it as nodules.  This wound is about the size of a nickel and will not stop bleeding.  After a lot of pressure and cautery the wound stops bleeding and a dressing applied.

I speak to the doctor about PDT. (photodynamic therapy).  He agrees it might be beneficial to my skin and numerous lesions, precancerous and cancerous. 

I schedule an appointment 4/10/12 for the PDT

I walk out of the exam room and head to the closest exit.  The exit I choose is an exit to the outer hallway.  I do not have to walk thru the busy waiting room, thank goodness!  I do not want anyone looking at me.  I havent seen my face yet and feel self-conscious.  All I think walk down the hall, get in the elevator and get in my truck and go home.  I just want to go home!  I step in the elevator which is usually empty but not this time.  A good-looking young man dressed in a military uniform.  Great, someone is going to look at me!  I turn my face looking away trying to get a glance of myself in the elevator wall mirror.  As doing so I see he is looking away from me trying to look at himself in the mirror on his side of the elevator.  I chuckled to myself and think he has had something done to his face too!  We never look directly at each other and never saw a word.

 Once in my truck I look in the mirror and see a bloody bandage below my R eye and a small band-aid on my nose.  My thigh is numb and I do not feel anything under the pressure bandage.

I feel tired and defeated!