Day 5 after surgery

by Joe M.
(Woodridge, IL. USA)

Day 5 - How beautiful

Day 5 - How beautiful

Well, I turned 57 on February 22, 2012. Blonde hair, blue eyes and light complected. Slim and fit, and yes I always tried to have some sun, a tan. Looked good with the blonde hair and blue eyes. I'm a male. I have spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun, all in the sun.

I never have used a sun block. Wearing a brim hat, yes at times. Not really a hat with a brim but more of a hat that had just a brim in the front. Always thought that was enough to keep sun off my face and keep me from burning in the sun.

About a year ago I noticed what I thought was a pimple on my nose about half way between the tip of my nose and the bridge. I let it take its course for months, then convinced myself that I just had to give it more time. I put everything on it I could that I believed would make it go away.

At times I was convinced it was getting better, only to wake in a day or two and it was bleeding and crusty. And imagine this, it was spreading.

In dealing with customers on a regular basis, face to face, it was obvious that they and all others that I came into contact with would be directly focused on the lesion on my nose, it was unavoidable. You had to look. I even had a few people ask me, "what happened to your nose"? I always had an excuse; oh a branch hit my nose or something like that.

While at my eye doctor, he asked me what was with my nose. I said, I know, it is a sore that just won't go away. He sat down and explained to me just what it was, not that I already hadn't formed my own conclusion, but kept denying it to myself (could never happen to me, it will go away, etc.). He called a friend of his that specialized in skin cancer. Thus started my journey to finally facing my situation.

Although I was not able to utilize that doctors services (insurance issues), I did finally work my way to a dermatologist. She immediately knew it was a basil cell and took a biopsy, and after a complete body evaluation, she found and froze off over a dozen precancerous lesions on my face and both wrists.

On Monday February 27, 2012 I went in for the surgery to have the "thing" removed from my nose. Two trips in for more to be removed for testing to be sure all had been removed and then I was on my way back in for the final "fix".

I had done some research on the net so I hopefully would have an idea of what to expect. Most I read was that people who went through this surgery found at the end that they had a fairly large hole (at least much bigger than they expected) and it all seemed pretty easy to take as far as knowing I'd have to have it done. So I tucked this all into the back of my mind and geared myself up for what was to come.

After about 2 hours in the chair, about 40 shots later, I was shown my nose in a mirror for a fast 5 seconds.

60 plus stitches later (40+ plus inside and 20 or so outside) needless to say....... I was blown away.

It looked like my nose as I knew it was forever gone. I was shaking so bad I was not sure if I would faint before I made it out the front door of the office or just plane lose it in the lobby. Although when I walked out through the lobby, either everyone had bandages somewhere on their body or were looking at me with eyes like a deer in the headlights.

Much pain the first few days, not much sleep, flushing the area with what I was told to use, removing a layer of bandages or tape over the first three days, hoping the bleeding was normal and finally getting down to the last few strips of bandages revealing the awful site I had tried to forget i the past few days. Although it all seems to not be as bad as my first viewing, still I'm looking at my nose that was all there a few days ago and now is slightly full of zigzagged bizarre stitches.

I am back after14 days to have the stitches removed and then four weeks later for some laser work to hopefully make things appear magically better to the onlooker and my own casual or glaring stares in the mirror. I;m hoping for the best.

In closing this somewhat boring complication of my personal experience I would just hope that anyone out there happening upon this really takes the time to ponder what you will look like with a unwelcome reconstruction of the main feature on your face, your nose.

Wear sunblock, don't lay in the sun or remain exposed to the sun on a regular basis. Take a real good look in the mirror, take a look around your body if your a sun worshiper or in the sun a lot. Have a buddy (wife, husband, significant other, etc.) do a look around and return the favor. If you see ANYTHING that seems out of place, a sore, a scab, etc., watch it - make a note of it - check again in a week or two. If its still there, get to a doctor. You can get skin cancer anywhere on the body.

I've attached a picture of my nose taken today, March 2, 2012, the fifth day after my surgery. I'm still embarrassed to go to the store or see many people, sure that will pass in time. Imagine waking up tomorrow morning and going to brush your teeth and you see this in your mirror, maybe I can help steer someone in the right direction. I'm not angry or sad or anything like that. I'm hurt in my own ability to not have the knowledge to do better for myself over the years.

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I understand what your going through
by: Anonymous

I had to look hard, thought it was me a few days after surgery, just know that it gets better.. It may look bad now, and you will always have a scar. I am 12 weeks out now, my dr says it won't fully be healed for about a year. But it bearable to me now.. Hang in there!

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Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick

Read more of Nick's Story

Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly

Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie  

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The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
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