Happy Valentines Internet – Don’t let this kill you

My Valentine’s gift to you, dear internet, is this little nugget of wisdom.

Melanoma does not have to look like a mole. I didn’t know this. I thought I had some kind of weird ring worm or something. Even my regular dermatologist thought it was going to turn out to be a Basel cell when she biopsied it, not a melanoma.

So here is a picture, you can see that it looks like nothing more than a zit, or a bug bite, or a patch of dry skin. It doesn’t even appear on a part of my face that would normally get sunburned (i.e. nose, forehead, chin) as my hair generally covers my cheeks.

pink melanoma

In need of a good bar fight story

So the massive its-no-a-tumor bandage came off on Friday night. Thank Gawd, ’cause that was sort of the worst part.  My friend with the very best kind of OCD went to New Orleans with us and when she saw that bandage she was all,

“Yeah I can’t look at that we need to take that shit off. ”

and I was all

“Good lord how I love you”

And she proceeded divest me of my facial side tumor.

And this is what was left.

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And I was excited and decided the surgeon guy was just being all set-the-bar-low on expectations and she’ll be all kinds of excited later guy.

Then today I went and had the last of the bandages removed and the stitches taken out and we’re really at “yeah, not so much” with that low bar setting thing.

melanoma surgery scar

Holy Moly – I know it will heal and get better with time but Ahhhhhh

Also – it appears that all that bandaging did some kind of derm-abrasion therapy to my cheek and left me with much nicer skin underneath.. I think I’m going to start ordering rolls of surgical tape and wearing it around for a few days routinely.

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Putting the Mel in Melanoma

I’ve been holding off about posting this for a while because I felt like I needed to have something of an ending before I put it out there.

About a year or so ago I noticed what seemed to be a under the skin type pimple that never came to a head. Now I’m not acne prone at all so this seemed strange but I figured it was just something that needed to work itself out and ignored it. In the early spring I even had a facial where the very experienced esthetician looked at it and confirmed that it just seemed to be a deeply clogged pour and said that she bet her treatment would eventually cause it to open up and drain. It never did. But it never looked like much either. Time went by.

photoBy late summer it was starting to look different, more prominent, it became difficult to cover with just some powder. After showers it would get bright red. Then  in the fall I noticed I seemed to be getting a new freckle beside it. A dark freckle. I don’t have dark freckles, at least no ton my face. I have a coverage of splashy light brown one but nothing dark or moleish. I decided to go to the dermatologist. It took a few weeks to get in but in November I went in and they took one glance and said Cancer! I had had some basal cells on my arms and legs over the last 5 years so this was not a total surprise and they said they expected the biopsy to show the same.

A week later I got the call, Surprise! It’s Melanoma! Happy Thanksgiving. No really they were much nicer than that and were very sweet and made me swear NOT TO GOOGLE ANYTHING ABOUT MELANOMA. Of course you know I did but they tried. Mine was In Situ so I quickly found relief in what I found. The week before Christmas I met with my surgeon who specialized in the required MOHs procedure and he was all… it’s big and not very distinct so this might get ugly  but it’s early so this isn’t an emergency or anything so come back in February when I have time.

Melanoma Pre Surgery with his cutting plan mapped outAnd here we arrive at today. Today I went in and he drew out his plan. Literally drew out is plan on my face. The melanoma is about the size of a dime, he drew a circle around it about the size of a quarter or maybe a little larger. Then showed me where he would later make additional incisions in order to close the wound. He explained that little double flap he drew and how it was going to help him close over with a flap and the grain of the skin or something like that – I’m not on those spacial relationship people that can see the folding patterns so I just nodded and said okay.

Next they loaded me up with the numbing stuff and some adavan and then carved their crop circles. After the first pass they came back and said, nope, we see junk in that so we’re doing more at the bottom. The they came back again and said still not done yet and carved a third layer out.

250752_10152539875855215_1002185490_nAfter that they came back and said they were ready to stitch me up . All in all it was about 4 hours.

So now I have a massive bandage on the side of my face, looks like my check is pregnant or something. I’ll post more pictures as the bandages start to come off.

A little googling around today and I found that today is Bob Marley’s birthday and that he died from Melanoma at age 36. So seems like an auspicious day to begin my Melanoma story.