See a spot, check a spot...
You might sometime ponder about a spot on your skin. Does it look normal? Does it seem like it never heals? Next time you are at the Dr's maybe get it checked out.
What’s in a little itty bitty spot? Apparently a lot. Earlier this year I went to see the Dr. to have a spot on my nose checked, to see what he thought. He wasn’t quite sure and thought I should see a dermatologist, likely nothing to worry about.
As usual, for the Canadian Health Care system, I had to wait a few weeks, but what’s new?. When I did get in to see the dermatologist he too was not sure and decided to take a biopsy. I figured it would be one of those typical things, take a biopsy, get a call that it’s all good and carry on.
Well, I received the call but it wasn’t all glossy. The biopsy came back as basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) and I would require surgery to have it removed.
WHAT!? It was a bit of a shock. The phone call was at least a bit humorous as the nurse attempted to calm Felice down by telling her it’s the best kind of skin cancer to have if you happen to get it. When you look at the stats, it is. 95% cure rate, it gets better too as I was scheduled for a procedure called MOHS micrographic surgery at Women’s College, in Toronto. This is good news as it ups the cure rate 97-99.8%.
A week ago I had the surgery. It was done over a period of 6 hours under local anaesthetic. The process involved me going in, receiving a boat-load of freezing, then having a bit of skin removed. I’d have to wait an hour while the pathology was analysed and then we would go back in. They ended up taking a 1.2cm x 1.4cm swatch of skin off the side of my nose.
Finally, after a couple of goes and about five hours later the doctor came back and was quite happy to say that we were all clear, meaning there were no more cancer cells in the slides. It was time to stitch me up.
Unfortunately, the hole was big enough that I required reconstructive surgery. So, to end it all off the doctor gave me an eye tuck ( I asked him to do the other side but he said he’d have to charge me). That was actually the worst part of the day, why someone would want to do that on purpose I really don’t know.
Now a week later and the stitches have been taken out. The incision site looks like there will be minimal scarring. Most of the scar looks like it will be under my eye. It’s still a bit swollen so we’ll just have to see how it goes.
So, all in all quite the experience. There’s a lot to be said about using sunscreen (I do use it) and getting those spots checked. I need to go in for regular checks to ensure it doesn’t come back and that other spots don’t show up. The doctor was pretty confident that he had it all and it was only in the one spot.
I really want to impress on everyone the need to go and have your spots checked out. It was really by chance that I went in and had it checked.
Oh, by the way, May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.
What’s next? Not much really Keep Calm and Carry On.