Alex J. Cavanaugh, Michael Di Gesu, Stephen Tremp, and L. Diane Wolfe are hosting the Survive and Thrive Bloghop to create awareness, and encourage early screenings for disease prevention. Please visit our wonderful hosts to read their amazing stories, as well as the rest of the talented participants. Below is my contribution.
A Nose For Trouble
I'll never forget my childhood days of summer. We'd spend hours soaking up the sun in our backyard. Before anyone even heard about tanning beds, my mom had her own outdoor version. It was an inflatable raft that she filled up with water. Because it was silver, it was comparable to baking in a large tinfoil reflective pool. Somehow my mom came out perfectly bronzed without a hair out of place, while I turned beet red.
When tanning beds first came out, I was one of the first people to line up. In a half hour, I could evenly cook my front and back without burning. How could it possibly be harmful? If only we had known about the dangerous effects of all types of sun bathing.
During a routine dermatologist visit several years ago, my doctor noticed a suspicious mark on my nose. He thought it was a basal cell, and suggested I have it removed by a plastic surgeon to avoid scarring. Two questions immediately came to mind, "Are you going to do a biopsy, and should I meet with the plastic surgeon before the procedure?" Because this dermatologist had been treating my family for many years, I didn't argue with him when he answered "no" to both of my questions. Big mistake.
After my procedure, the plastic surgeon sent a biopsy to the lab. Instead of a cancerous basal cell, it was just a gland. The procedure was a complete waste of time and money, which could've been avoided if I would've followed my instincts.
As a fair-skinned blond, I'm always prone to blotches and blemishes. Seven years later, I noticed a recurring blemish that appeared near the area of the botched surgery on my nose. It would turn crusty, and reappear every few months. I made an appointment with my new dermatologist who immediately took a biopsy. This time I had a confirmed basal cell, but the location was even trickier to get to, and there was no telling how deep it went. For those reasons, my doctor referred me to a Mohs surgeon.
According to Mayo Clinic, "During Mohs surgery, layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains." When I arrived, the nurse told me how fortunate I was that the cancer didn't spread to my left eye.
After each layer, they sent me back to the waiting room, so they could examine it. My husband kept me company until they called me back in for the next round. As a result of the prior needless surgery, I had extra scar tissue, so the surgeon took a skin graft from behind my left ear. It took six attempts until the surgery was complete. I asked if that was a common number, and the nurse said that it took one of her patients sixteen attempts to remove all of her cancerous layers.
Now I try not to be in the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and wear sunblock or a moisturizing lotion with SPF 30 or higher. As my scar was healing, it looked like some of the sutures were popping out, so I immediately went to the doctor's office. One suture looked particularly long, as I was able to wrap it around my finger. After the nurse examined me, she fought hard to keep a straight face. Then she relayed her findings, "Those aren't sutures. They're hairs. We deliberately took the skin graft from behind your ear, because most people don't grow hair back there." Now there's something I could be proud of for finally coming in first.
Hi Julie - only you could come up with that ending ... I can't believe I read it ... but still some interesting things here to note - we're much more aware of the effect of the sun now-a-days ... thankfully.ReplyDelete
Really interesting to know about - and what an amazingly strange result ... a first as you say ... Glad all is well today .. cheers Hilary
I used to play out in the sun for hours and hours at a time when I was little. Used to get some crazy sunburns! Scary to think about now.ReplyDelete
Glad you caught your cancer. Yes, it's definitely important to be careful in the sun.ReplyDelete
wow Julie, what an ordeal to go through. I am so glad they got it all with the minimal removal of layers, and only a few hairy bits. Scary stuff. New Zealand is effected by the hole in the ozone over Antarctica, so we have thinner atmosphere and more dangerous sun from Nov-Feb (summer months). This post is a good reminder, although I go and get checked every year automatically.ReplyDelete
Glad they got it right the second time.ReplyDelete
I'm extra pale with freckles, so you bet I've always worn sunscreen.
Thanks for participating in the blogfest!
Wow, glad they got it and it wasn't anything bad. True to my persona as a writer, I just don't go outside period. Maybe once a week. Sure, I'm so white I could melt snow, but it beats a nasty sunburn or a basal cell any day.ReplyDelete
I spend lots of hours in the sun, first growing up and working on the family farm and then as a PE teacher. Now I finally am able to avoid peak sun time though I do love the sun. I visit my dermatologist at least once per year to keep a check on things. Just had a suspicious patch removed and biopsied. It came back okay but I'll keep going every year.ReplyDelete
Useful information here. People like myself who are negroes and live in the Caribbean never use sunblock, but we some of us are coming to realize that harmful rays do wreak havoc on our skin.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your story about being out in the sun and what can happen. I'm glad everything worked out for you.ReplyDelete
I know exactly how hard this can be. You can read my story on my blog. I'll post the link below. I especially understand the annoyances of misdiagnoses!ReplyDelete
I'm glad you're taking sensible precautions now - only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. Have you ever used Immac, the anti-suture cream?ReplyDelete
Lol. I was so engrossed in your story, but the hair growing made me snort. Happy you're doing well and you've been able to keep your sense of humor throughout this ordeal.ReplyDelete
I am so fair skinned, I'm nearly invisible. Thanks for the reminder that I need to go get checked out for skin cancer.ReplyDelete
At the Ren Fair I just went to, a guy came up to us and was like, "Sweetheart, I hope you're wearing like SPF 9000." I was like...yeah...ReplyDelete
yep - I visit the skin doctor twice and year and there's always some new spot. The damage was done back in the "olden days" when we didn't use sunscreen. My happy weeks at the Jersey Shore are now marked with scars. When you are young, it's easy to say "it won't happen to me", but alas the skin doesn't lie.ReplyDelete
Happy to hear it went well for you and that you are cancer free! YAY! You did the right thing checking it out and having it tested. Better to be safe than sorry. Constant vigilance and listening to our bodies....
Thanks for taking part in the bloghop and sharing you story!
It helps that you and the nurse have a sense of humor. Oh Julie, it does sound like a horrendous ordeal that you likely felt would never end. Thank goodness you're fine and can support folks like Roland. That's the same condition he's dealing with, right?ReplyDelete
Hilary - Glad you got a kick out of my silly ending, though it was pretty embarrassing at the time! Thanks Hilary!ReplyDelete
Keith - It's funny how our parents never worried about us playing outside all day long! We only wore sunscreen at the beach or pool. Pretty scary Indeed!
Natalie - I was very fortunate, and I'm grateful to my doctors! Thanks Natalie!
Rhonda - Yes, I survived with only a few "hairy bits" and a small scar as a reminder! Glad you're getting regular check-ups, and I'm sure you're keeping a close eye on your family.
Alex - Now I'm picturing you as more of a Jerry O'Connell type with your freckles, and fair complexion.Thanks for hosting this wonderful bloghop, Alex! I'm sure it will encourage others to be more proactive about their health.
B & B - I've seen your photos, and neither one of you look like young Draculas! Thanks for trying to cheer me up, and get some fresh air for a change!
Susan - I'm sure you have lots of great stories about growing up on a farm! I'm a PE teacher's worst nightmare! Glad your "suspicious patch" was benign. It must have been pretty frightening at the time. You're wise to continue going for check-ups. Thanks Susan!
We used to lie out in the sun, slathered in baby oil, and clueless about the damage we were doing to our skin. A woman from my high school class died from melanoma.ReplyDelete
Thanks for pointing out the importance of sunscreen. I use it religiously now.
Janie - How sad that a woman in your class died from melanoma. It's good you're taking precautions by wearing sunscreen. You can't be too careful. Thanks Janie!Delete
Joy - You're right that everyone needs to be careful in the sun regardless of skin color. Those Caribbean rays are especially strong, so it's best to cover up as much as possible. Thanks Joy!ReplyDelete
Susanne - I know how lucky I am! Thank you Susanne!
Morgan - I hope you're doing well! Sorry you had a bad experience. I'll visit you soon.
Gorilla - Actually I've never tried Immac Cream. I thought I could move to the jungle with you in a few years, but I guess the other well-groomed apes would find me too offensive.
Jay - Glad you were "engrossed" instead of grossed out! That probably doesn't make any sense, but none of this does! Thanks so much Jay!
T. Powell - So you also have translucent skin! Maybe we could get together for Halloween! I'm sure everything will check out fine at the doctor, but it's good to be on the safe side. Thanks T Powell!
How stupid we were back in our youth-before sunscreen and knowledge about skin cancer. Thanks for reminding us. And thanks too for the humorous ending.ReplyDelete
Diane - The scary part is that people are still spending way too much time unprotected in the sun today. I also can't believe tanning beds are still in business. Spray tans are the safest way to go if you want a summer glow. Thanks Diane!Delete
We all pay for the sins of our youth.ReplyDelete
I was a blue eyed, freckle faced Irish girl who grew up to pay for my dermatologist's children to go to college. You name it, I have it.; basal cell, squamous cell and now and then, early melanoma. I have been frozen, cut and been part of the Mohs brigade, and I am sure that when I see my doctor in 2 months (I am on a 6 months schedule) she will find something that will pay for her daughter's second semester book bill. To think, many years ago, I thought that my burn would eventually turn into a perfect tan and people would admire my beautiful bronze glow. That never happened and now the only part of me that is not in jeopardy is my Lilly white bum.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
Arleen - I hope your dermatologist has good magazines! It's the least she could do after all you've gone through. Now I sound like Dr. Seus! The melanoma part is the most frightening of all. Thank goodness it was caught early! You probably had Mohs surgery for both the basal and squamous cells. Sorry you've had to endure so many painful procedures. Sending lots of positive thoughts for your next appointment. Take care of yourself, and your "Lilly white bum, " Arleen!Delete
Sarah - Did he at least say it in Ye Old English? I hope you didn't get a bad sunburn at the Ren Fair.ReplyDelete
Joanne - I'm sorry you've also had major sun damage. It's good that we're both on the bi-annual dermatologist prevention program. Hopefully, your next visit will be uneventful. It's true that we've always adhered to the "it won't happen to me" philosophy.
Michael - I agree we have to be "vigilant and listen to our own bodies!" This reminds me, have you had you colonoscopy yet? Thanks for hosting this enlightening bloghop, Michael! I'm sure it will help ease more people into taking better care of themselves
Robyn - Sadly, the nurse and I haven't kept in touch. We've both had surgeries that were more "horrendous," but I was glad when it was over. Though I don't know all the details, I think Roland has had multiple Mohs surgeries. I offered my support when I first heard about it, and hope he is doing well. Thanks Robyn! Broad Hugs!
I have a lot of freckles and moles and have spent quite a bit of time outside, so I try to keep an eye on my skin. I've had two pre-cancerous moles removed from my arms. However, it's never been recommended to me that I see a dermatologist. I've been questioning that lately, and this makes me question it even more. Hrm. Glad they got you taken care of, and that it wasn't 16 layers of skin! The hair thing is funny, though. Yikes!ReplyDelete
I think I'm one of the palest people in Florida :) But, when I do go to the beach, I make sure to load up on the SPF. Great advice and glad they caught your condition early.ReplyDelete
We all need to cover up and protect our skin. Good that you took care of that early and had a good Mohs surgeon. My husband's been through two of those procedures. Very effective, but very trying for the patient.ReplyDelete
I'm very fair skinned too. I've had one small spot removed from the bridge of my nose as well. Sheesh, when we were kids we used to grease up with baby oil and sit in the sun for hours. So dumb. But we didn't know any better.ReplyDelete
That was a very humorous way to end a post on a serious subject. Nicely done. HA!
I've been there too. I was born and raised in Southern California and spent most of all the Summers during the 1970s body-surfing at the beach. Back then there was no sunblock, except for that thick, white zinc paste that lifeguards smeared on their noses. All we had was "suntan lotion" which actually magnified and intensified the sun's rays on the skin.
My friends and I rarely used any suntan lotion. It was more of a girl's thing, giving them that delicious coconut scent. Do you remember the jingle "Bain de Soleil for the San Tropez tan"?
Anyway, we would just go to the beach, burn, peel, burn, and tan... Summer after Summer with no skin protection at all. But, boy, I sure used to be dark-skinned at times.
It finally caught up with me in the early 1990s, when I had to have a cancerous basal cell removed from the side of my nose. Then about ten years later I had to undergo the same operation for basal cell cancer at the far corner of my left eye.
Who knows what next year will bring. But the Sun's damage does catch up, even if it's years later. Here in Phoenix, there is no beach, and I stay out of the Sun as much as possible. My Stetson cowboy hat sure comes in handy.
'Loyal American Underground'
Shannon - I'm glad you had your moles removed early on. It is a good idea to see a dermatologist for peace of mind, since you've already had a few pre-cancerous growths. Thanks Shannon!ReplyDelete
Mark - Sounds like you're taking all of the necessary precautions! I'll be thinking of you when we go through another grueling Chicago winter! Thanks Mark!
Lee - I'm glad your husband's doing okay. I agree that it's definitely "trying," but worth it in the end. Thanks Lee!
Luanne - Yes, "bridge" was the word I was looking for! I also hope they caught your growth early. The strange thing is that Dr. Mohs created the procedure back in the '30's, so it doesn't make sense there wasn't more awareness about it. Thanks Luanne!
Stephen - We have to laugh through everything, scar hairs, and all! I do remember the Ban de Solei jingle, as well as the Coppertone commercial with the little girl and her dog. Sorry you had to go through two surgeries. The basal cell by your eye had to be particularly frightening. Glad you're doing well now, and keep wearing your Stetson!
Oh my. Sounds like you had to go through a lot to get things taken care of. Glad you are OK now. Also glad you kept your sense of humor. :) Great post, Julie.ReplyDelete
Cancer spreading to an eye! Never heard of that--pretty scary, but cancer always seems pretty scary.ReplyDelete
Other than a couple of rare occasions I've not been one to purposely lay out in the sun for the purpose of getting tanned. I've done my share of time being out in the sun, but so far no skin problems. I'm always keeping watch of such things though as I get older.
Tossing It Out
Julie, I'm so pasty skinned I gave up getting a tan along time ago. I use protection and limit myself outdoors when its really hot.ReplyDelete
Thanks for participating in the Blogfest. Hope to see you again for next year's event!
I laughed out loud about the hair on your nose. But how fortunate you got that spot taken care of early.ReplyDelete
Connie - Most of it was done in one office visit, so it really wasn't that bad. I couldn't help but laugh at the silliness of it all. Thanks Connie!ReplyDelete
Lee - Shortly after the procedure, I went to see my ophthalmologist. I told him what the nurse said, and he said it was very unlikely that it would've spread to my eye. Since stranger things have happened, I'm glad I didn't take any chances. Glad you're being careful in the sun. Thanks Lee!
Stephen - We should start a "pasty skinned" blogging group! Lots of people have come forward with their ghostly tales. Good thing you're using protection from the sun. Thanks for hosting this informative bloghop, Stephen!
Carol - Just in time for Halloween, though there's no telling when it will pop up again! I was very fortunate, and hope others will be on the lookout for suspicious markings anywhere on their bodies. Thanks Carol!
HA! Only you could end a tale like this with a laugh.ReplyDelete
Reminds me of my father. He had skin grafted to the palm of his hand, and sure enough, hair sprouted. He liked to say a hairy palm was the sign of an honest man.
Terrific post, Julie.
Susan - Oh great, now I have something else to look forward to! What a wonderful quote from your dad! Thanks Susan!ReplyDelete
There is a huge problem here in Florida. Use that SPF 30!!!!ReplyDelete
Yes, I've surfaced. A cautionary tale of the sun. Of course, living in England, the mysterious glowing orb in the sky is the stuff of ancient stories of when it actually shone. A nice balanced posting, my dear friend.
JJ - I know that some of the best dermatologists have practices in Florida for that very reason. My husband thinks I live like a bat, so I'm extremely careful! Take care of yourself too! Thanks JJ!ReplyDelete
Gary - I know how busy you've been, and I hope you, and your son have happily settled into your new homes. You deserve to have some healthy rays shine down on you, but wear a hat just in case! Thanks Gary!
I'm your newest follower now! :-)ReplyDelete
Quid pro quo!
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry that the first surgery didn't work out, but glad to hear that your second doctor gave you what you needed. I like to wear hats with wide brims along with wearing sunscreen so I can still be out during peak hours.ReplyDelete
Cherdo - Thanks for following me! Looking forward to getting to know you!ReplyDelete
Cynthia - You're wise to wear a wide brim hat in the sun. Sadly, I never got to thank the second dermatologist who recommended the Mohs surgeon, as he died shortly afterward. Though he was too ill to see patients, his partner told me that he personally reviewed my biopsy. I'll always be grateful to him. Thanks Cynthia!
It is such a good idea to ask the doctor about everything. The first time I had one of those exams where they put a camera down the throat and look at the stomach the MD said I sounded awfully disappointed that they did not see anything. Then he asked if I would have liked it better if he had found throat cancer.ReplyDelete
That gave me a different perspective. So I went home and took a long nap.
Another story of relief! I've just read Denise Covey's survive and thrive post. Very scary! I am white-haired now, but was very dark haired when I was young. All the same I have a couple of big liver spots on my face which I watch carefully and loads of freckles on my arms and legs despite never having been a sun bather. I hope I am watching them enough! So pleased that you're over it, but funny about the hair! Does it keep growing? I hope not!ReplyDelete
Yvonne - I know what you mean that it's frustrating when something is wrong, and doctor's can't find the reason for it. Thank goodness that everything was okay, and hopefully you won't need to have another endoscopy.ReplyDelete
Val - It's good that you're keeping a close eye on those spots. Hopefully, they will never turn into anything serious. I haven't seen the mystery hair lately, but I'm sure it will reappear at some point. I'll have to read Denise's story. Thanks Val!
Julie, what a story...with a not-so-hair-raising ending!ReplyDelete
Thank goodness everything turned out okay.
Thanks for sharing this Julie. Follow your instincts in future for sure. Take charge of your own well being. Doctors can be so complacent. Scarily Australia had its first Casey [HR] Hunterof a young child with melanoma. It took 3 doctors before the parents were taken seriously. Yes, it was melanoma. So there's more to it than being a beach babe like us. I wish you a healthy future as I wish for myself. :-)ReplyDelete
Excuse the auto correct in the middle of above. On my phone lol.ReplyDelete
Oh, thanks Julie for sharing. So scary.ReplyDelete
Ha estado un regalo el visitar tu bloc, he encontrado cosas muy interesantes, te invito a visitar el mio y disfrutes del post de esta semana decorando el otoño como yo disfruto haciendolo, y si te gusta me encantaria que si no eres seguidora te hicieras para seguir compartiendo nuestros blogsReplyDelete
Michelle - You deserve extra points for this one! Thanks Michelle!ReplyDelete
Denise - How sad a child also contracted melanoma, and that it took three doctors to find it! I hope the child is doing okay. Take good care of yourself, Denise. Melanoma is more serious than basal cells, but we're both lucky it was caught early. Thanks, and I'm also sending good wishes to you!
Nas - It was a little scary at first, but I was incredibly fortunate! Thanks Nas!
Julia - Voy a visitor tu blog tambien! Gracias Julia!
I'm sorry you went through this, Julie, but the ending cracked me up as usual! I am so fair-skinned I look like I belong in a coffin so I have to be so careful with the sun. I always look like a nutcase at the beach because I am all covered up while everyone else is soaking in the rays. The sun is my mortal enemy LOL.ReplyDelete
Cancer seems just so easy to get. It makes me worried.ReplyDelete
Julie - Sorry I didn't respond sooner, as we had Internet problems again. I can't picture you ever looking like a "nutcase," and you're wise to protect yourself. It's good to know we both have something in common with Aleksei! Thanks Julie!ReplyDelete
Michael - Just be sure to take extra precautions living in the Austrailian sun. Thanks for following me, Michael!
Well here's a website that had me wait wait, I finally found the website also very contains a lot of benefits in your website is
Penyakit Benjolan Di Leher Atau Kanker Tiroid
Pria Subur Memiliki
Resiko Tinggi Diabetes
Memahami Tentang Bagaimana Resiko Penyakit
Selain Baik Bagi Mata,Wortel Dapat
Mengenali Lebih Jauh Tentang Penyakit Diabetes
Bahaya Terlalu Sering Minum Air Mentah
Meningkatkan Risiko TBC
Yang Benar Agar Terhindar Penyakit
Obat Untuk Ibu Hamil Tanpa Efek Samping
Obat Wasir Cair Tanpa Efek Samping
Penyakit Jantung Koroner Pada