Melanoma Scar Update

mohs surgery scar update 2 monthsI posted a picture of the original melanoma with the it’s not a pimple message on imgur.com today and so far it’s gotten over 100,000 views so that made me think I should post an update here as well.

This is what the scar is looking like these days – roughly 2 months after the surgery. No make-up and picture is straight from camera.  With my hair down you almost don’t even notice it. I am still putting Aquaphor on it daily and massaging it to keep the stiffness out.

I went back for a full body check a few weeks ago and had a ton of little spots frozen off and three spots biopsied. None of them came back as anything. One of them was on the bottom of my heel – I would never ever have thought to look there myself. But sure enough I have (had) several small freckles/moles on the bottom of my left heel.

So now I go back every three months and get a full body check again so they can look places I can’t see.

Also they are having me use vitamin C oil on my face and neck and chest every day – evidently it’s shown to remove pre-cancer cells before they really amount to anything.

Celebrity Crush: Mayim Bialik

Myim BialikI wish I were young enough to blame my affection for this actress on her 90s sitcom Blossom – but we all know I’m old enough to have “grown up” with Cindy Brady and Tracy Partridge instead. In fact I have absolutely nothing in common and no reason to identify with this really quite amazing woman – I’m not an actress, a neuroscientist, a vegan, Jewish, and I in fact am opposed to a lot of the Attachment Parenting lifestyle she promotes. So why do I just really really like this person? It’s simply – she’s just so authentic.

I think it must be that the first thing that leaps out at you when you see her, being herself and not in character, is how completely unique she is. She clearly marches to the beat of her own drummer and conforming to social norms is not her thing.  She has not followed the prescribed path to success but has in fact become incredible successful in both Hollywood and the world of science. I find that refreshing and inspiring.

I first became aware of the adult Mayim when she appeared as a subject on What Not To Wear. Honestly I was only vaguely aware of the whole Blossom thing since I didn’t do a lot of tweeny TV watching during my 20/30s.  When I saw her on WNTW, she had gone on to do other things and had pursued her academic interest and was now a neuroscientist and new mom. She as warm, friendly, and just open to the whole experience. Most of all it was clear she was very funny and very intelligent. Two things that always make me interested.

Later when she showed up as Amy in BBT, I thought how very perfect. She fits right in.

Since then I’ve read her blog, and followed her on Twitter.. and while I don’t agree with some of the things, like the AP stuff, I have enjoyed her as a writer for how she approaches topics with such kindness and warmth. Her intelligence and wit are always there but so is this just really sweet, caring personality. She quickly became one of those rare exceptions  –  a celebrity that I’d actually like to meet in real life. You feel like meeting her would only make you like her more, rather than being a huge disappointment.

So if you think of her as Blossom, or Amy – do yourself a favor dig a little deeper. There is so much more interesting go on there than just those two things.

Here’s a good place to start…y

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/secretlife/scientists/mayim-bialik/

What the heck? Where did March go?

So I knew I had been a slacker about posting anything here for a while but seriously I had no idea it had been that long. Feb? Wha???

I’m trying to figure out what happened there, but at the same time it’s not that surprising. Life in general just sort of exploded. First there was the biggest meeting of the year at work, then Spring Break, then Easter then catching up from you know the biggest meeting of the year and then Spring Break and Easter.

That combo sort of blew up my March I guess.  I’m not the kind of person who recovers quickly when my routine is broken. If I’m not careful it short of spirals me out of into the depths of confusion even more. Everything sort of spins out of control.

It didn’t help that in the midst of that I was in heavy FCAT prep mode with Puddin’.  Every year we seem to go through this were she need extra work in some area or another and it always works out fine but I’ve come to know she’s going to be one of those kids who needs plenty of prep for these types of tests. She will not be the type to roll out of bed and head over to the SATs without lots of preparation.

But FCATS started this week so there’s little to nothing left to do about that and all the house guests are gone and we have no trips notable scheduled for at least a month so yesterday was the first day I felt – lighter. More in control. More able to get things done. I think I feel to-do lists like some people feel depression pressing on them. It overwhelms me to the point where I can’t even start. The the house is a wreck, the bills aren’t paid, there’s no food in the kitchen and I can’t figure out where to start of how to get caught up. Maybe that’s just it, maybe for me depression manifests itself as a fairly severe case of procrastination. Given what I know about me and our situation and our life in general that sort of makes sense. (Also I only clean, really clean, when I’m angry and hurt – I understand the story there too but it’s not one for sharing today)

I think the biggest thing is feeling like there is actually free time. And Saturday I have free time. I have no “obligation” – sure there are things to do, but no where I have to be, at any certain time. Nothing is planned other than loosely in my head.

The very notion of that has be walking 2 inches higher this week.

So here is a list of things I got done yesterday and today:

  • Figured out that part of the problem with the pool was all the jets were clogged with dirt leaving only the first one open. Cleaned them out. Worked on cleaning up the pool a bit.
  • Actually got the mail from the mailbox. (Yes that’s a big deal for me)
  • Cleaned up desk
  • Paid Bills
  • Pool Guy came and repaired the motor so that it doesn’t sound like a stump grinder
  • Put sticker on car tag – wait that should be hunted down and FOUND sticker to put on car tag.

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.

IMG_0897

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.

2454037275fe11e2aae322000a1f9858_7

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.