Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blue Eyes, Fair Skin, And Outdoor Adventures Could Cost You. It Did Me. Check Out The Pictures

OK. So I didn't use much sunscreen. I grew up in California and got lots of sun but living in Washington for decades there really isn't that much sun!

I always thought skin cancer was suppose to be a "change in a mole" or some dark ugly spot of rot. Apparently, that is not always the case.

Mine was a little red (as in slightly raw) spot on my face but thought nothing of it. By the time it had been there a year and never healed I thought I would check it out.

A month after a biopsy I returned Dr. Peter Odland of Bellevue to have the cancer removed. It was skin level and had not progressed to muscle or blood vessels. That was, of course, good news. I was never worried about it and I took this all in stride. Basically, I just thought of all the good years I have had with great health. (At 57, I did the Seattle to Portland bike event. That is 206 miles in two days and I never walked the bike up any of the hills!)

Dr. Peter Odland (Bellevue)did the surgery. This ended up being the size of a quarter!
Then I drove to miracle man, Dr. William Portuese (Seattle) who is a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon for closure.

I regarded the outcome as a miracle and gave Dr. Portuese a big hug!

This picture is day five right after the 7 stitches were removed.

On the day of the surgery there were seven people in the waiting room. The drill was the same for all of us. Go in and they cut out the minimum of what they think will "get it all." For me it was a circle the size of a dime. One person was losing half an ear. Two women, both under 40 were having chunks taken from their noses. An 80 something woman had gauze on her head.

With the Mohs Method the tissue is sent to the on-site lab and analyzed. Twenty minutes later you go back in. "Need more at 4 and 7 o'clock." Then, I went in again. "Need more at 4 o'clock." Great. The black is the cauterization that was necessary because the face bleeds.

Both doctors were great as were staff in both offices. I can ask a lot of questions and they answered them all! Then I drove to the miracle man, Dr. William Portuese (Seattle) who is a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

I am at day 10 now and the swelling is going down, redness is lessening. At about 6 months out it will be hard to see.

Thanks goes to my many friends who continue to offer encouragement. And, I was VERY surprised to learn how many people have had this procedure.

I always like a little "color" in the summer but I will change my ways. I hope this little vignette gives you pause to think about your sun time habits.

Best Wishes,


infinite freedom said...

"been there a year"? shame on you Senator Roach!! I usaully go in to the doctor within three or four months of something being wrong. Five or six months at the most!

God bless you and yours, and may god keep you happy and healthy from here on out.

Get Well Soon Senator!

Anonymous said...

Ouch! God Speed to healing and the best Doctors.

strawberryblonde said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures of your experience with a skin carcinoma.

If I have noticed an area on my cheek soon enough, it can be cauterized instead of excised.

Either way, you may have saved my life!