Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Sun is not your friend...

So a bit of a serious post today.  Not for the faint of heart.  The pictures below are somewhat graphic...I'm posting this because I think that this is a serious issue that people my age and younger don't often think about.

I am a fair-skinned person but that doesn't mean this should be shrugged off by all of you tanned Adonis' out there.  

I didn't make my first visit to a Dermatologist until I was 25. In the past two years I've had numerous pre-skin cancers frozen off my face with liquid nitrogen, I've applied chemotherapy cream to my face, neck and arms…and as of today I've now had two Basal Cell Carcinoma cancers removed from my face…surgically. 


It's called Mohs Surgery.  A microscopically controlled surgery used to treat common types of skin cancer and minimize subsequent scarring.

They mark off the area that they are believe the cancer is limited to.  They shoot you up with Lidocaine, a local anesthetic to numb the area, and then with Epinephrine which keeps blood from flowing into the area.  This limits bleeding during the surgery.  For those who are allergic to Epinephrine…they can literally expect a blood bath.  

Then they cut.

The Epinephrine causes the skin to bulge and lose color.

When they are finished, the carterize that hole in your head (breathe through your mouth if you don't want to smell burning skin).  Then they slap a bandage on you and send you out into the waiting room for 45 minutes while they analyze the sample. 

If there is no cancer remaining on any edge of the sample, then you can get stitched up.  But if cancer remains on any edge of the sample, they bring you back in and cut again.


Two years ago I had to have three cuts done. It took about three and a half hours. Thankfully today I only needed two.

Then it's time for stitches.  That takes another half hour.  They grab two pieces of your forehead, tug them towards one another, and suture them together. It is a weird and uncomfortable sensation, believe me.   

Then they put a pressurized bandage on you that can't be removed for 48 hours. They tell you not to exert yourself, to stay reclined, take it easy, and keep ice on it.  

This won't happen to everyone, but I'm here to say that the Sun is not your friend. Some of us it hates more than others, but its rays will bake all of our skin into submission over time.  If you've never been to a dermatologist…go to one.  If you don't wear sunscreen…consider lathering up more often.  

Dealing with sun damage can be expensive, cosmetically displeasing, and potentially life threatening.  Don't take anything for granted in this life…especially not your skin suit!

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