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See ya later Basal Cell Carcinoma

10/08/2015

Belle

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It took months but the basal cell carcinoma was finally removed from my nose yesterday! I am so thankful it was much smaller than everyone expected and did not require a composite graft, where they would have taken part of my ear and sewn it to my nose – very Van Gogh. Instead the wound was small enough that my plastic surgeon was able to take a small skin graft from my forehead and stitch it to my nose.

The wound left after the MOHs procedure. So much smaller than what they expected!

The wound left after the MOHs procedure. So much smaller than what they expected!

I had a specialized MOHs surgeon remove the cancer. He started with numbing up the nose and then taking a small sample. After inspecting it under the microscope he mapped the tumor on paper and then took a little more to make sure we had nice, clean boundaries. This was surprisingly painless and only took a few hours.

My first bandage after the MOHs and before the skin grafts.

My first bandage after the MOHs and before the skin grafts.

I had a four-hour gap between my MOHs procedure and the appointment with the plastic surgeon to repair it. Going home would have taken too long so instead I took a long walk along Central Park and went to the Guggenheim Museum, which was half-off yesterday due to rotating exhibits and only half of the works being available! I love a good half-price day! I really enjoyed my alone time in the museum. It was the perfect interlude between the two procedures, allowing me to recenter and prepare for round two.

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Such an awesome museum!

Originally we had discussed booking an OR and doing the repair under general anesthesia if a composite graft from my ear was needed. I really hate the idea of general anesthesia and having a breathing tube so I opted out. Instead I was fully awake, locally numbed and draped in really awesome towels. It was an experience to feel them removing part of your skin and stitching it elsewhere. It didn’t hurt but I could feel and hear all the tugging and stitching.

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Prepped and waiting on the doctor. He had an emergency situation so I hung out like this for quite a while. Thank goodness for iPhones!

Hands down the worst part of the entire experience was having my nostril packed after the graft was stitched. The graft needs compression from the inside and outside to help it take so that means shoving a giant tampon up my nose and then squirting a syringe of local anesthetic up my nose all water board style. It was MISERABLE and was far worse than any of the cutting and stitching. I will keep the packing in until Friday afternoon. I am currently counting down the hours as it slowly oozes snot and makes me sneeze repeatedly. Yuck yuck yuck yuck.

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After all was said and done, this is how I left the clinic. My rough appearance made it REALLY easy to hail a cab though! I am not allowed to wash my hair or get the graft wet at least four days, which is going to be so gross and has me not looking forward to my birthday this weekend. I can guarantee there will be no romantic time with the hubs to celebrate my 35th year! All-in-all the procedures were pretty easy. That said, I really don’t want to do it again so I am collecting sun hats for all seasons and bought a huge jug of my favorite sunscreen to wear anytime I’ll be out and about. Hopefully with some preventative measures this will be my one and only brush with the big “C!”

 

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9 Comments

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  1. October 8, 2015

    Wow, sounds way easier than I expected it to be! I’m so glad it went so smoothly for you! Happy healing!

  2. October 8, 2015

    Oh bless you! I love that you had such a special interlude between the procedures. So, giant tampon remains until tomorrow evening? Ick. It’s going to feel amazing to finally remove it! You may not be having sexy-times for your birthday over the weekend, but at least you’ll be able to breathe through your nose, which, in the grand scheme of things is still pretty good :-)!

  3. Jos #
    October 8, 2015

    Is it bad that I’m selfishly stoked that you got pictures of all parts of this process? Super interesting. 🙂 I’m glad the hole was so much smaller than they were initially thinking!

  4. jak #
    October 8, 2015

    so glad you got this taken care of! lots of my family members have had Moh’s done as well. it’s a wonderful, now routine, procedure that can really prevent bad things down the road.

    speedy recovery to your beautiful nose!

  5. October 8, 2015

    So glad you got this taken care of! The packing of the nose sounds awful. Yikes. I will probably shudder about it all day. Hope you still enjoy your birthday!

  6. Karaleen #
    October 8, 2015

    Oh my. I have had two Basil Cell removals from my shoulder so far and have to redo the 2nd one next week as the margins ended up being too small after it was sent to pathology. We have not employed the MOHs method as it is my shoulder and I am not concerned about scarring that much. However…My boss had the MOHs procedure on his nose very similar to yours last year and now you can’t even tell where the darn removal was. It is amazing what these surgeons can do. I have also had to invest in wide brimmed hats, sun screen and sun protected clothing. I’m a fair skinned red haired girl and although I have never been a big sun worshiper…I was into a lot of outdoor sports and not the best at applying sunscreen in my younger years. Sorry for the 4 days of packed nose and no hair washing. Yuck. But happy birthday to you. I hope the day is fun regardless of your bandaged and greasy haired state. tee hee.

  7. nonsequiturchica #
    October 8, 2015

    I hope that this is your one and only brush with the big C as well! Glad everything went well. Happy birthday!

  8. October 8, 2015

    Whew! So glad everything went so well!

  9. October 8, 2015

    More importantly did they do any other nip and tucks 😂

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