August 10, 2005

Step Away from the Knives

Today I went to the dermatologist. I went in March and got a clean bill of health… actually an over the top, ‘I can’t believe you spent your life in the tropics and your skin looks so young’ type bill of health. Yeah. He spoke to soon.

I do have to say, I was surprised that as I approach my 40th birthday, that my skin is not leathery and wrinkled as I spent many a day lying poolside in a bikini having slathered myself in baby oil. I’d just lay there and… bake.

But, good genes, thanks to my Mom, have saved me to date. The Great Omnipotent One gets stuff cut off every 6 months I think. Didn’t they write a song about that, “With a cut, cut, here and a cut, cut there… here a cut, there a cut, everywhere a cut cut….” Hey, it sounded right.

Anyway, beginning of July, I noticed on my cheekbone a raised mark, bigger than a pencil eraser with jagged edges and discoloration… didn’t bode well for my face thinking back to that ol’ skin cancer card he gave me at my last visit. My Mom noticed it separately and made me realize, it really didn’t look good. So, I made an appointment.

I called the office and it went something like this, “I have something on my face that does not look good… “, and I proceed to describe it.

She says, “No, that doesn’t sound good. Where did you say it was?”

Me: Middle of the left half of my face. On my cheek bone. Look, I just want him to cut it off. I want it gone.

She: Well… *pause*… he may want you to see a plastic surgeon.

Wha??? I didn’t want to see a plastic surgeon! If they think its cancer, I want it GONE. YESTERDAY.

So I’d been mulling this whole thing over. Plastic surgeon vs. letting him take it right there if he needs a biopsy. I decided, screw the plastics guy, I want that bad stuff off my face.

Luckily, that was not an issue. Yes, it was pre-cancerous. But he burned it off with this funky cold blow torch thing, leaving me with what looks like a soon to be volcanic zit. Yeah. Real attractive, but I don’t care. I don't want pre-cancerous cells on my face any more than I want cancerous cells. If has cancer in the phrase... I DO NOT WANT IT.

I was told to go back in 4 weeks if it isn’t cleared up because by then they WILL do a biopsy and it’s not a good thing for it to not go away. Oh… I’ll be back… but only because it’s the threat of skin cancer.

It will take all I have not to cut that bad boy off myself. You think I jest. I.DO.NOT. My sister said I shouldn’t tell this story, she thinks its awful, but I am. And a little background… I have a thing about hands. I notice people’s hands. It’s one of my things.

I was a senior in high school and I had this massive wart on my small finger, left hand, in between the top and middle knuckles, outer edge. I hated it.

I used that over the counter ‘wart be gone’ stuff. Nothing.

Mom took me to the doctor and he put some cold fluid on to burn it off… Nothing. That wart was not going to leave.

So finally, one day, I took my pocket knife and I cut that awful wart off my finger. Did I say it was big? Oh yes. And I bled like a stuck pig. I wrapped it tightly and my only regret about the entire episode is that I had not thought about sanitizing my pocket knife before my self surgery. I could have gotten an infection.

I can be rather impulsive. I sat there, looking at my hand, hating how it looked, so I grabbed my pocket knife and cut off the wart. No thought, just did it.

And so… I have this burned spot on my face, that will heal. But if it does not… only the knowledge of knowing I have to make sure it’s not the big C will keep me from taking my pocket knife to my face. Well… that and the fact my husband would have a FIT if I did any self surgery. This is going to make me nuts.

Posted by Boudicca at August 10, 2005 09:40 PM | TrackBack

I had a malignant melanoma removed from the outside area of my hip/upper thigh -- right where the leg bends. After the dermatologist did the initial removal - a plastic surgeon did the rest of the skin removal of the surrounding area. That was back in 1987. Since then I've had dermatologists remove a couple of moles... but no more. If something must be gone - a plastic surgeon can do it - they are MUCH neater about it - and if there's a skin cancer possibility they can get you in as quick as a dermatologist.

I figure if I wanted extra scar tissue that can turn cancerous later in life... the dermatologist is the way to go... what wankers they can be. They tend to hack you up. Plastic surgeons tend to be very neat and there is little to no scarring to have problems with later in life. Just a thought!

Posted by: Teresa at August 10, 2005 10:51 PM

I know a couple good plastics guys. I didn't know they could fit you in just as quickly. I'm glad you told me that. If it comes up I need to have it biopsied, I may reconsider then. It is right in the middle of my cheekbone. Very prominent.

Right now... Geez, I look like I'm PMSing. The small burn really swelled up.

Posted by: Boudicca at August 10, 2005 10:59 PM

Wow. Having *had* cancer, and getting a few little thingys frozen off of my face this spring.... reading your post was like, Yikes! Especially since I am slated to go and have a little something bothersome removed from my right ring finger in a couple of weeks.....

But I *do* relate to the feelings of urgency and fear (and potential for "self surgery"). I hope that everything is okay for you... (and you remember to sterilize the pocket knife ;-)

Posted by: Richmond at August 10, 2005 11:15 PM

I can relate as well... And understand the urgency!
I had a plastic surgeon [sent by my dermatologist] remove a pre-cancerous place right on the top of my NOSE! Still not pretty, if ya know what I mean... LOL! But it's gone.

Skin cancer sucks. I've got another couple of places on my stomach I want looked at next time I go back - in just a few months.

I don't know if I'd take the knife to myself, though. Don't really trust my skill... ;)

Posted by: pam at August 11, 2005 07:42 AM

Hubby had a pre-cancerous thing remove from his hand last year by the same method. It look just gross and took a couple weeks to heal but everything is A-ok now. No scar to speak of either.

Posted by: Machelle at August 11, 2005 08:36 AM

I have some a couple biopsies done a couple of weeks ago and I still haven't gotten the results back... it's been driving me mad not to know. Do I have cancer or not?!?

Posted by: Princess Cat at August 11, 2005 10:50 AM

I can sooo relate. If I have any little skin 'thing' anywhere, it's self-surgery. I make Ziggy snip any little skin tags that come up. I had a little wart come up on my right index finger that I FINALLY got rid of...after doing everything BUT taking a pocket knife to it. I had a 'senile keratosis' come up on the side of my nose, under the nosepiece of my glasses that I used that wart-freeze stuff to get rid of (worked great..and no scar). I'm definitely a 'picker'...good thing I never had an acne problem. heh

Posted by: Pammy at August 11, 2005 12:19 PM

It's scary how many people can relate to this post.

Of course, I was a lifeguard for 5 years. Part of that time on the beach. In South Florida.

Posted by: Ogre at August 11, 2005 12:22 PM

If anything, the comments for this post should show how prevalent pre-cancerous cells of the skin are. It is nothing to fool with.

I almost think it is better to assume you're GOING to get it, and just make peace with it... getting a good doctor early on.

I go yearly now... but after this episode, it may be more frequently. We'll see.

Posted by: Bou at August 11, 2005 02:46 PM

I have no response.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at August 11, 2005 03:31 PM

... keep thinking positive...

Posted by: Eric at August 11, 2005 03:40 PM

Had a wart on my thumb knuckle about a decade back. Over the counter stuff did nothing.

2 years later it just disappeared like it was never there.

Stupid wart.

Posted by: Harvey at August 11, 2005 04:04 PM

Well, my melanoma had nothing at all to do with the sun - it was a very weird type (the melanin was actually clear not dark... thus a very surprised dermatologist!)

Princess Cat - if they had been cancerous - the doctors would have gotten hold of you immediately. They don't even wait until your next appointment.

Last of all - no matter what type of mole you have removed - if nothing else grows back in that spot - you're okay... Skin cancer won't lurk under the surface - although it will spread if it's a melanoma Any of the others are slow growers and only cause a problem if you let them go for years.

I've never been a sun bather anyhow - I just burn and peel... no fun in that - no tan either.

Posted by: Teresa at August 11, 2005 06:19 PM