Today is the first day I have put makeup on in what seems like forever. I usually don’t wear makeup, and I don’t have anything special planned for today, but I needed to feel somewhat pretty again. I had to be careful not to get it all over the huge “N” shaped scar that now runs down the side of my nose. I’m not sure I succeed in my goals of “pretty” today, but at least I tried.
About 2 days before I turned 32, I had an appointment with the dermatologist. That’s not a doc I go to often, but I had a spot on the side of my nose that just wouldn’t heal up. Its the same exact spot where I had once had my nose pierced, so when it started to get irritated, I assumed that hole left from the nose ring had just got infected. For around 6 months, this spot would scab up, peel, look fine, and scab up again. Over and over.
Anyway, at the dermatologist office, they took a biopsy of that spot and one other on my back. They said they would call as soon as they knew the results. If you have never had a shot of lidocaine injected in to the side of your nostril, it hurts really bad. They had numb my nose of course to get the biopsy, but the talk I had with myself to prepare for the shot was “I’ve had a needle shoved through there before, can’t be much worse! Do it!” Hahaha, I was wrong.
When I got home, I made the mistake of googling “skin cancer”. But about a week later, I got the call. Good news amd bad news. Good news was that the spot on my back was nothing, and the spot on my nose wasn’t Melanoma. Bad news was that the spot on my nose was Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Of course, I thought to myself “How could this happen to me? I don’t lay in tanning beds that often! And I haven’t had a bad sunburn since I was a kid!” Idiot. I live in Texas. In the summer, we use to basically live outside and at the lakes. I never wanted to stop playing to go put on sunblock. And my parents never MADE me. I had my fair share of blistering sunburns as a child. And when I got older, I just had to lay in the tanning bed to get tan for prom. Plus, if I tanned, then I was less likely to get a sunburn. Brilliant logic there, huh? I have to tell you though, my son is as pale and pasty of a child as you have ever seen. Cotton white blonde hair. I know the pain of a bad sunburn when you are a kid, and you can’t sleep on your back because it hurts so bad. So, ever since our first outting to the lake, I have slathered him in sun screen. I set a timer on my phone for every 60 min, for him to get out of the water, dry off, and reapply. At 7, he has only had one slight sunburn, but I did forget the timer that day.
I had an appointment set up with the surgical dermatologist to get it cut out. They weren’t sure how far down they would have to go. Hubby took off work to take me in. That morning, more lidocaine in the nose, they did Mohs surgery, and had to go in 3 times to get it all. Hubby wanted to see the big hole it left…not me!!
After the 3rd cut:
Then, off to the plastic surgeon to get that hole fixed! The surgeon went over a couple of different options. We could either do a skin graft, or he could cut some more and pull it all together. He drew pictures to help me understand what each would do and could look like, and gave me his opinion. “Let’s go with the cutting and pulling. I don’t have a wicked awesome face scar yet!” I joked.
I woke up, my face numb, and no pain. All done? Right on, let’s get outta here, honey! Went to go get pain meds and food. I could feel the sensation that wouldn’t allow me to open my mouth very wide, so Freebirds burritos were out of the question.
My mom wanted me to send her a pic:
Lots of pain over the next few days! I couldn’t open my mouth to eat because the stitches would pull, so I ate mainly soup and french fries. Lost 6 lbs before I got the stitches out. When I was able to take the bandaid off, it didn’t look horrible.
But my nephews stayed the night 3 days after surgery (glutton for punishment), and my 4yr old nephew told me I had a Frankenstein nose. Yes, little one, I sure do. 🙂
A week later, I got the stitches out, but I’m not sure what I was expecting. I have never had plastic surgery, and I realize this isn’t the average cosmetic plastic surgery, but for some reason I waa thinking it would be good as new, I guess. Not the case. The surgeon even discussed this with me. It will take time. And everyone says “oh it looks great!” But they don’t look at it as close as I do. They don’t stare at it and look from every possible angle.
It’s been 2 weeks since surgery. I have no feeling on that side of my nose yet. The natural curve and crease of my nostril is gone. And I know, it takes time, but I actually really liked my nose before!
On a rather interesting note, the plastic surgeon asked if I had ever had anything else done to my nose. I said no at first, and he ased if I was sure. Oh yea, I did have my nose pierced. “Really?” He looked at the anesthesiologist. He mentioned that I was the 2nd young person in that morning who was getting surgery to fix a hole made by the same cancer in a facial piercing area. The other girl had it in the same spot she use to have her lip pierced. Something to think about!
Moral of the story…. a golden tan isn’t worth it. If you have naturally tan skin, lucky. For the rest of us, either be happy with the color you have, or find a really good self tanner! Wear sunscreen and hats! Big floppy hats rock!
My son had a field trip for school, they were going to the lake. Of course, I slathered him before school. He complained and asked “why do I have to wear sun block?!” I responded “do you want to have your face cut open like I had to?” My husband even chimed in “yea, you wanna look like mommy does right now?” Thanks honey! My son said no, and let me put it on him.
Enjoy your summer!