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Unhappy Basal Cell Patient

by Unhappy Patient
(Oregon)

Hello, I am a 39 year old single mother of two wonderful boys.


I work full time but have no health care offered at my job.

I take care of myself and always try to look my best.

So, my experience might be a little vain mixed with shock and unbelief.

Unfortunately, my story isn't very happy so far. I am still suffering and my doctor is not sure what is still wrong with my first surgery; bump above incision still and two small bumps underneath - post op 2 months later.

He says it could be a stitch abscess, an infection or more basal cell carcinoma!

First signs of strange lump: It started about 2 years ago when I barely noticed a skin colored bump between my eye and nose. No puss or redness or darknening led me to be alarmed. But over time, I noticed it getting bigger more rapidly and tried to "pop it" myself thinking it was a little cyst or something.

Bad idea, it grew back into little clusters on top of the skin. So, I made a first time appointment to see the Dermatologist in my area.

They did a biopsy and bad news, yes, it was Basal Cell Carcinoma. I couldn't believe the way they told me. It was as if I just had the flu or something.

No compassion or concern.

I was very scared and worried and just wanted it removed. I scheduled the surgery, came up with a down payment and tried to make arrangements over time to pay the balance.

Needless to say the surgery is mind numbing when you are awake lying there and waiting for the lab result to come back clean, which it did after the first cut, so he sewed me up. Only about 1 1/2 inch incision..which I was thankful for.

But, a couple of days after the surgery, I had these little bumps, bright red all over my eyelid and around the wound.

The on call ER doctor tells me that the incision could be infected; possible MRSA; a staph infection non responsive to Methicillin antibiotics; and suggested that I put Hydrogen Peroxide on it and polysporin for a few days.

So, for a week or more, I doctored it myself. It looked pretty red, inflamed and bumpy still.

Finally, I go to my follow up appointment, my doc tells me he hasn't seen anything like it before and to watch it.

He tells me to watch it?

He didn't want to take a culture of the wound to check for MRSA or infection because he says your skin already has it on it and can be a false reading.

So, here is where my faith in doctors starts to wane. A week and another appointment later, he decides to give me some Cephalexin, which starts to take a slow effect over time in healing. It definitely looked smaller and less red after using it.

Then 10 days and another appointment later, he decides that even though the Cephalexin was slowly working and it was less red, that he doesn't want to give me any more antibiotics and that I need to see him again in 2-3 weeks. Faith Waning Again.

My next appointment is in one week to see if it has shown anymore signs of improvement. Here I am now in my 2 months post op state, and I still have this bump and two tiny ones under the incision which they say does not "look" like another basal but could be.

I am a bit stressed and exhausted at this point. The funny thing is, the plastic surgeon did a great job on the incision, but the aftercare is almost criminal.

I have thought about taking it to an attorney, but would rather not get on bad terms and just try to get these bumps gone once and for all. My experience has been awful. And it is very possible they never did cut it all out.

Now, more scars, more pain, more money..

I hope other people have a much better experience and can move on with their lives sooner than I did "cancer free".

Thank God I do believe in prayer. It really helps the soul get through these physical blemishings and unwanted trials in life~
Peace and God Bless~

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Never Again
by: Anonymous

What started as a supposed large in bedded black head according to the dermatologist was Basal skin cancer.

I have never been so disgusted with something in my whole life.

An incision the size of a half dollar was cut into my nose before they got it all. Then another incision running from my left eye down to below my upper lip was made to reconstruct and graft the hole in my nose.

After a couple of weeks I began feeling a lot of pressure inside my nose so I called the doctor only to be told it was just swelling.

Well swelling doesn't move, then it was a blood clot, then it might be a bugger.

After two more weeks I schedule my own appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor who was horrified with the built up infection lodged inside my nose.

They removed it, sent off a culture which has come back as Mrsa. On top of that I now have a lump that has come up, have pain behind my left eye constantly.

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Mohs surgery 5 weeks ago - still problems
by: Nancy

I had Mohs surgery 5 weeks ago. It was exhausting and the shots were painful.

I recommend to anyone having it (l) take some food and (2) take a support person with you.

I've had some problems with all of a sudden redness and swelling. I have some concern right now about some swelling next to my right eye with a lump.

I had Mohs in 2 areas on my face. I'm trying to get an appointment with the doctor to check the latest swelling.

I'm glad to read these posts because I had no idea going into this that this would be such a complicated thing.

Mohs is the highest rated I believe of the surgeries to remove the cancer. Wish I had worn that sun screen 30-40 years ago!

Good luck everyone. I know what you're going through.

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Continuation
by: Anonymous

I posted a comment under 'anonymous' previously because I don't want to bash any doctors by name.

I did have the Moh's surgery which was between my nose and right eye.

Now a month later, I still have two bumps on top of incision with much swelling and problems with vision in right eye.

Second doctor's appointment scheduled for this week. More later ...

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basal cell carcinoma
by: Anonymous

I had a bump between my eye and nose which would not leave. I also have diabetes so I'm used to problems taking longer than usual to heal.

Scheduled appointment with dermatologist.

She took one look and said, "you're dealing with skin cancer ... basal cell carcinoma ... treatable if you haven't neglected it for a long time.

She numbed me, cut it and the assistant used electricity and that was that. She told me she'd see me in a year.

Then, she turned around while leaving the room and said she should come back in at some point and have your whole body checked ...end of story.

So I am waiting on the results of the biopsy and I suppose they will tell me what to do next. My father died of cancer when I was only a teenager.

His was a malignant brain tumor.

Skin cancer has run in our family (father's side) also.

I'm assuming if my biopsy is exactly what the doctor said, then they will schedule me for Moh's surgery.

My experience was like the 'unhappy patient's' -- no expression on doctor's face, just very nonchalant -- like I was the 20th person that day that received the news.

While she was cutting me, she even asked the assistant how many more people were waiting.

This is an expensive, upscale, dermatologist's office. Go figure ...

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I can't help (but can sympathize)
by: Buzz

For several months, I had a couple red spots on my chest. They did not bother me at all, but they were there and they just weren't going away as most blemishes do.

We've had a recent influx of cancer in my extended (but blood-related) family, including some skin cancer.

So, after delaying as long as I could, I had it checked out. It was basal cell.

The doc decided to cut it out, and I had no reason to question him. Two small non-troubling spots became two 2-inch gashes. But they'd heal, so no biggie.

But one of them became very uncomfortable while the stitches were still in. Red, swollen, discharging, warm to the touch. Plus I felt wierd overall ... sometimes clammy, sometimes mildly nauseous.

I went in before the scheduled stiches-removal, and it was clearly an infection.

They put me on Cephalexin. Didn't help. They also took a culture.

Went in for the stitches-removal last week. I felt like they forgot the culture a few days earlier.

I had to remind them to look at the culture results.

Once they did, they said it was a generic staph infection. Very little info. Very wierd. Felt like they were hiding something almost.

They extended the antibiotic, and gave me also a topical prescription cream. Not only is the infected cut not getting better, but the other one is starting to show the same signs.

I'm not sure how this is going to play out, but I've now exchanged two non-troubling tiny red spots and a few hundred bucks out of pocket (I do have good insurance, but with a fairly high co-pay) for two disgusting-looking, red, swollen, uncomfortable gashes as well as antibiotics that really don't sit well in the belly.

And I've lost confidence that my doc is doing all he can ... has MRSA been ruled out? Do I have a resistant strain? Where did the bacteria come from? Can I still snuggle with my little girls in bed?

I need info.

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To Unhappy Patient
by: Gary H

I understand a lot of what you are saying. I also have found many doctors that seem to have little compassion and just do not seem to listen to what the patients concerns are. I don't know how many times I've been cut off when trying to explain something to them and then when I do have a chance to speak, they're not really listening. I give a lot of credit to the ones that really genuinely show concern. I have had some excellent ones.
Last Dec. I went to a dermatologist to have a spot checked that was similar to the one you described. It was basal cell cancer and they scheduled me for a Mohs surgery. I was fortunate they did get it all.
I didn't think they were going to do Mohs surgery because I have poor insurance coverage. I don't know if you had Mohs surgery or a simple incision surgery. The latter cuts away the cancer with some healthy tissue around it. A Mohs surgeon cuts away only the cancerous tissue and microscopically examines it after each cut until there is no trace of cancer left.
If you haven't already gone to your next appointment ...I would still go and see what they say. I also would be considering another opinion from another dermatologist, especially if you don't feel confident with his/her diagnosis of what is occurring now.
MAY IS MELANOMA/SKIN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH, so call around to various dermatologists, hospitals and find out who's doing a FREE SKIN CANCER SCREENING. They are all over the country this month. Maybe search your area on the internet.
I hope this helps to uplift you.

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"MELANOMA : “NO BIG DEAL ” IT'S JUST SKIN CANCER!

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

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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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