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!

Morning after…

My eyes slowly opened in the darkened room.  Is it morning?  No sense of time with the room being so dark from all the window shades down but looking at my clock it is 6:48am.  I managed to sleep for 8 hours!  Non interrupted sleep!!! A Miracle has taken place!!!!

Last night, feeling very tired, I decided to medicate myself so I would sleep or at possible get some sleep. I figured Motrin 800mg,Tylenol w/ Codeine and a Lunesta (going to chase the butterfly) would make a good combination helping with the pain, inflammation and insomnia.

Feeling so much better today!  Looking in the mirror I see the large red area on my chest is a lot smaller than yesterday.  The red blisters still intact.  Trying my best not to disturb the skin over the blisters.  Loose clothing that drapes my body helps not to aggravate the blisters

Incubation Time!

Today, I start my PDT ( photodynamic therapy) for my many actinic keratosis, pre basal cell and superficial basal cells.  I goggled ( yes, I am the queen of googling) treatments for skin cancer I kept seeing the words, light therapy and photo therapy.  I continued goggling and reading trying to learn as much information as I could to help make an informed decision.
A few dermatology visits ago, I spoke with my dermatologist regarding my being a candidate for this treatment.  He and I spoke of the pros and cons.  Biggest con…I must hibernate indoors with minimal light for 72 hrs.  Biggest pro….no cutting!  I can live with both!!!!  So appointment scheduled!!
I arrive at 8am sharp!  Bag of goodies, entertainment( iPhone, iPad, charger) and wide brimmed hat & extra clothing in hand.  I feel more relaxed then nervous.  The nervousness is because, I never having this treatment, am not sure what my healing time will entail.  Relaxed because today is another step and another day towards treatment & recovery.
The nurse and I decide which areas of my body will be treated today.  At first I was going to treat just my chest and treat other areas in future.  But further thoughts made me decide to treat chest, arms, and legs in one visit.
The cream Metvixia, is applied to all the many red spots.  Laughing I tell the nurse, that isn’t the cream I had read about, but will goggle later to learn about it.  Next Glad Wrap is placed over each area to help with the incubation period.
2 1/2 hrs to incubate!  That’s why I came prepared with my bag of stuff!  I am in a plain room.  No windows!  One large recliner placed in the middle of floor.  Too far from the electric outlet for my charger to reach.  So here I am in my flimsy hospital gown, plastic wrap clinging to my skin pushing the heavy chair closer to the wall.
Sitting and waiting isn’t easy to do!  Even though I have my entertainment I am antsy!  Been to the bathroom already.  Walking the long hallway, plastic wrap crinkling, gown flapping and me trying to stay covered!

Nurse has come to room 3 times already to see how I am coping.  All plastic intact covering the appropriate skin areas.  Small tingling on some of the red areas but hardly noticeable.  The red areas are becoming redder which is to be expected.

One more hour to incubate then ” It’s Light Time”!!!!

Not the words I wanted to hear!

“It’s basal cell carcinoma”. Not the words I expected or wanted to hear this morning!  This is from the 2nd biopsy?, I ask the nurse.  Yes it is, she answers.  You will be scheduled for MOHS surgery for your cancer as soon as possible, she tells me.

My mind is racing!  So many thoughts!  How can this be?  This past week has all been for nothing!  Being so diligent and careful taking care of my leg incision.  Working and walking on a leg that screams with every step!

I am tired, so very tired! Tired of being cut piece by piece!  Tired of this hurt and pain!