Jun 01, 2011 - 9:11 pm
This is the first entry of a log of my experience with skin cancer. It has taken a week to get over the shock of it but it has finally sunk in. It all started with what looked like a pimple on my lower left chin that would heal then bleed then heal. It was getting in the way of my shaving so I decided on an impulse one day to leave work early and have it checked (there was a cancellation at the dermatologists office). By the way I am a male, age 60, runner for the past 29 years, professional in a hospital, good health, take care of myself, married with 2.5 cats (one has cancer). He looked at it and said he didn't know what it was but would take a biopsy and let me know the results. After a few days I forgot about it. Then last Thursday I got the call. There was no preparation....it was just "The results are in and you have basal cell carcinoma, infiltrative type". I think I said something like "oh". I was in total shock, total brain lock. I recall walking around the house (I had previously scheduled some days off) in a daze. I recall thinking, this means cancer, this is cancer! Then I got a second call to come in for a "full body scan". Once again too shocked to ask the question "why". So I googled "full body scan" (bad idea) and learned that it was a scan for tumors. Total feeling of "This isn't happening to me, I don't get cancer". There's no skin cancer in the family. I am slovak, not exactly a fair skinned person. Then came memorial day weekend so I could not call to get more information. I finally called yesterday and the body scan amounts to the physicians assistant checking my body for other growths. There is a suious spot on my left cheek. "How long has it been there" she asks. "I never noticed it" I replied. A biopsy is taken and I will get the news in a few days. I am to undergo the MOHS procedure where the cancer is removed in layers until there is not sign of it left. I looked up MOHS on the internet. If it is deep (and as luck would have it mine is "infiltrative") they sometimes need to take out a lot of tissue. There was a story of a woman that had a tiny line on her face and ended up having a thumb sized piece of deep skin removed. The good news...it does not metastisize; the bad news, depending on how deep it is plastic surgery may be needed. They explain to me it will take time to heal as in a couple of months. Looking at people that have had it done on the internet shows not looking good the first couple of months. After fully healed, hardly notice it. So now I wait to hear when I can get in to have it done...likely sometime in July. I saw Cici the cat on the bed and realized we have something in common, both of us have cancer. I tell everyone I know to use sun block but it doesn't seem to register with them. Finally, one day out running there is this family I came across. I ask them if they use sunblock. The wife says she does and the kids do too. The man says no. I tell him he really should. Doesn't seem to register. I tell him "Look I was just diagnosed with skin cancer, use sunblock". Now I got his attention. For me now the waiting begins and I am happy the cancer will not spread but I wonder how far (deep) it is. Stay tuned.
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