My Squamous Cell Carcinoma Experience
I had a growth on my finger that pretty much covered the entire knuckle area. About ten years ago, I went to a dermatologist and he essentially burned it off with an electric needle and told me it was gone and it that it should not come back. It is possible that back then, it was more serious that what he told me, but he never did a biopsy.
In July of 2009, after months of discomfort, itching and sometimes bleeding, I went to see another dermatologist, who was highly recommended by my internist. An appointment was made and on July 5th, I went for my appointment. She asked me what was wrong and I held up my hand and showed her my finger. It is the finger that you flip people off with on my left hand.
After examining it with some special device, she told me she really had no idea what it was and that a biopsy needed to be done and sent out to get an accurate diagnosis. She was incredible. I never felt the injection or when the biopsy was actually done. She said it would be a week before they would get the results back and then they would call me and let me know. I left the office with a positive attitude, as I did not think at the time, there was any reason to be overly concerned.
On July 11, 2009, I received a call from the doctor. She said we got the biopsy results back and it is a squamous cell carcinoma. I asked her to repeat it, because all I had heard was carcinoma and I immediately got scared. She did her best to explain to me exactly what it was and how I possibly had gotten it.
She then told me that she was going to contact another dermatologist who specializes in skin cancer surgery and who is Moh's surgery specialist. I would be notified when I
could get an appointment. I went home and immediately got on the computer and began to look up skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and Moh's surgery.
My surgery was scheduled for August 5, 2009. The doctor told me that if the cancer was deep enough and it had spread to the bone, I would have to to a orthopedic surgeon and possibly my finger or hand might have to be removed. At this point I began to really get scared.
The surgery was completed in two phases and after each removal process, the tissue was checked under a microscope to determine if there was more cancer. The doctor had to repeat this twice, when he told me we have gotten all of it.
What came next also scared me. Because the cancer was so deep, the only way to repair it was to do a skin graft. I was taken into another room, a surgical suite, and they prepared me for the graft. I have a 5.5 inch long scar under my left clavicle from the skin graft and my finger although it looks better now, it is still very much discolored and it is still totally numb. Due to the nerves that were cut to remove the cancer, I may never get feeling back in my finger.
I am thankful that the cancer did not spread to the bone and that the doctor was able to remove it all.
Check your body on a regular basis and if you see or feel any type of abnormality, go see a doctor. The sooner it can be identified, the better. Skin cancer is very treatable, if it is detected early enough for treatment.
Mickey Lieberman is a Computer Consultant with over 30 years of experience working with both IBM mainframes, in various capacities and PC's.
In July of 2009, I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and in August of 2009, I had surgery to remove the cancer.
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