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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”