Tag Archives: Cancer

Pre- and Post-Surgery Pictures of Skin Cancer-Don’t be scared-these Pics might save your life

Okay well, you knew I would do this… because it’s me… and if I have to go through this EVERYONE else should too.

Seriously… I’m wired as a teacher, and I figure if I can teach a few people about skin cancer and help a few people to NOT go through what I am going through, then this is all worth while.

First of all, thanks so much for the well-wishes and prayers.  I felt them.  Really, I did.

I had to go through two rounds of surgery on Thursday, and it took almost four hours.  Thank goodness it was nowhere as bad as last time.  (I didn’t pass out on the table)  Thank you Doctor P. for letting me have my Kindle!  I played a high-speed word game to keep my mind off what was happening. It did the trick!

I am giving permission to everyone to Twit and Facebook the ever-living-stink out of this.  Email it to your friends.  This is no joke, and the more people who see this and understand, the better.  You OWE it to the people you love.

Heck, I dragged my 6, 9 and 11 year olds into the bathroom and showed them the stitches before I re-bandaged tonight.

Littlest Dude looked like he would faint.  Good.  I’ll remind him of it next time he complains about putting sunscreen on.

Okay.  Here’s the art.

Basal cell on Left thigh

This is what Basal Cell Carcinoma looks like pre-surgery. I made note of the cute little freckle for your amusement.  Remember where that little sucker is.  Please click on the picture to zoom in and take a good look.  If you have ANYTHING like this on your body GET TO YOUR DOCTOR.  Pressure Bandage

In fact, if you have any mark that pops up suddenly and does not go away in a week, show it to your doctor.  It’s just not worth the risk.

This is the pressure bandage before I changed it.

Stitches 30 hours after surgery

And here’s the big bad and ugly about thirty hours after surgery.  It’s eleven or twelve stitches, not including the internal stitches that you cannot see.  I’d guess it’s about 2.5 inches long.  And what happened to that freckle?  I think it’s where the arrow is pointed.  Yep, they had to cut that far around the cancer spot.  That’s a lot of flesh to lose for a little spot of nastiness, isn’t it? I really wish there was someone like me around to show me this when I was 16 and did this to myself. If I only knew…

Run… don’t walk to the drugstore.  Wear 30+ sunscreen year round.  I have a special one for my face that won’t give me acne that also doubles as a daily moisturizer.

Wear a hat! you can get a sunburn in that scalp, too where your hair parts.

Promise me you will protect yourself, and promise me you will send this to at least one person you love.  Hey, who knows… you might just save their life.

Lotion up, my friends, and be safe!

JenniFer_EatonF

I’ll be going through another round of Cancer surgery today.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… didn’t she already have skin cancer surgery?  Yes, I did. Twice. This is number three.

The first spot was on my ear.  I had a full body check and everything else was fine.  The next spot popped up less than a year later on my arm.  Same thing… the rest of my body was fine.  Last June, another odd little spot appeared on my leg, and here I am.

Are you ready for the rant to wear sunscreen?  Well here it is.  WEAR SUNSCREEN DERNIT!  Believe me.  It’s just not worth it.  Hey Australia – You guys should slather yourself with it all the time.  Here in the USA, most of us don’t even think of it in the winter, but the truth is, the sun is the sun no matter what time of year it is.  You can’t feel it because it is cold out, but believe me.  It’s still there, and it can still cause damage.

This mohs surgery will take between four to twelve hours.  Most take four to six hours.  My own dermatologist has already removed the visible cancer, but the scar is already showing signs of the original infection.  The surgeon will remove what he can see, test it, and if cancer shows up, he will come back and remove more… and test it.  This will go one for as long as it takes until they no longer find any traces of cancer… and Yes, unfortunately… I will be awake through the entire procedure.

Are you diving for your sunscreen yet?  I would be.

Slather on that SPF 30 or higher and be safe… and if you get a spare moment… pray that I caught this in time and I will only have to go through one round of this surgery.

Cancer leaves Scars that you Cannot See

For those of you who may not be aware, I recently went through my second round of Cancer surgery.  If you’re interested in the kind, or the details, click here or here.

I’m cured at the moment.  Everything is fine.

Something unexpected happened to me the other day, though.

I sat on the floor, packing up the paperwork after finishing our taxes for the year.  I set one folder aside—the one with all the important investment information.  I realized that I was the only one in the house that even knew this folder existed, so I didn’t want to bury it in the filing cabinet.

My husband entered the room, and grabbed something from the table.

“Sweetie,” I said.  “Just in case anything ever happens to me, I need you to take this blue folder to a financial advisor.  He will tell you what to do.”

His face grew pale.  His expression blank.

I held up the folder.  “I will keep it on top so you can find it easily if you ever need it, okay?”

He stared at me for a moment more, before he burst into tears.  “It was just a little cancer spot,” he sobbed.  “You’re not allowed to die!”

I sat on the floor, stunned.  Actually dying was the furthest thing from my mind at the moment.  I was just trying to be a responsible adult.

I jumped up and held him, his tears dampened my blouse.  “Sweetie, that’s not what I meant.  I just want to make sure you and the kids would be okay if…”

“Don’t say it!”  His body shook in my arms.  “I can’t do this without you.  You can’t die first.  You can’t leave me alone.  I need you.”

“Sweetie, don’t worry.  I’m not going to die.”

We held each other for a while, silent.

My husband is my rock.  He stood beside me, holding my hand while they cut the cancer from my arm.  He changed my bandages.  He took care of me.  It never occurred to me that he was just as scared as I was.

For the first time in months, the children didn’t interrupt our brief moment of intimacy.  He needed that.

Maybe I needed that too.

Cancer Sucks. I can prove it.

Cancer Sucks.

Well, I guess it’s a given.  No one would disagree with me.  The good news is that I’m cancer free again.  Modern medicine is a wonderful thing.  Yes, skin cancer is curable (if you catch it in time).  But I don’t think people realize what they have to do to cure it.

My malignant basal cell was on my arm.  It was only about a quarter of an inch round.  Like the size of a squashed pea.  No biggie, right?

When I lay on that table, and they started drawing on my arm with a sharpie, I actually said:  “You don’t have to cut that much, do you?”

My surgeon explained that they have to cut bigger and wider so they can close it evenly.  He assured me that the scar wouldn’t be that big.  Okay… not really worried about the scar at that moment!

Holy freaking cow.  Get a ruler and draw a box that is a little over two inches long, and about three quarters of an inch wide.  Now put that baby on your arm.

Say what?  How stinking deep do you have to go?

Well, about ten minutes later, they were picking me up off the floor, and calling my husband in.

Okay, maybe I’m a wimp, but I think there should be a law that says you have to knock someone out before cutting two inches of flesh from their arm.  Sounds logical, right?

My husband is such a trooper.  He stood beside me and held my hand and talked me through it.  When they prepared to close me up an hour later, he glanced at my arm and his eyes told me everything that his fake smile did not.  Today, he told me he couldn’t believe how long and deep the cut was.

I don’t know what it looked like.  I kept my eyes on him.  I didn’t want to pass out again.

Not to gross you out, but this is what the stitches look like a day and a half later, from a pea-sized cancer cell.

Okay.  I lied.  I do want to gross you out.  Now will you go and buy some stinking sunscreen?  Yes, that scar is going almost completely across my arm.

Don’t be an idiot.  I did this to myself 25 years ago, when we didn’t know any better.  Now, we do know better.  Do your best to protect yourself.  Stay out of the sun, and if you can’t find shade, get some descent sunscreen.

Like I said before, if going through this helps a few of you to avoid it, it is all worthwhile.

You can go puke now.  (It’s okay, I don’t mind) and then get back to writing your novel.

(After you order some sunscreen— SPF 50 or higher.)

Sucking out all your creativity with one word: Cancer

Sorry, I know you are all expecting my normal Monday night Manuscript Red-line post, but I really felt like I needed to stray away from writing… just this once.

A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma.  It is a malignant form of skin cancer.  I was not surprised.  I had a cut on my ear that bled for a year straight while I was in denial.  My cell could not be treated with creams or freezing.  I needed to go through Mohs surgery.

In a Mohs procedure, the surgeon removes a layer of skin from the malignant area and tests it.  If it comes out cancerous, they take another layer and test it.  This could go on for hours, and you don’t know how many “cuts” you will need until it is all over.

Luckily enough, thanks to a very talented surgeon, I only went through one round of surgery, and was cured. And there was virtually no scar.

I prayed that this would be the end of it.  Until today.

Another “thing” popped up on my arm a month ago, and two weeks ago my doctor took a biopsy.  Today they confirmed it was malignant, and I will need surgery again.

I had a good cry.  Not because I was afraid of the surgery, but because I realized that I would be battling this for the rest of my life.

When I was growing up, no one even heard anything about skin cancer.  We never wore sunscreen.  I would lie out in the sun with the INTENTION of getting a sunburn.  One day of pain was worth it for the pretty glow I got for a week after.  If I only knew.

I am not telling you this to make you feel bad, or to share my pain.

The truth is, I am wired to teach people.  That is how this blog got started.  I thought it over, and if I can stop one person from going through what I will be battling for the rest of my life, then at least I am even.  If I can help two people, it would be great.  If I can help three… then it will all be worth while.

Please Please Please wear sunscreen when you go outside.  If you can sit in the shade, please do so.  I’ve been doing it for a year.  It can be done.

If you have children, please slather them with sunscreen, and give them hats.  Remember the backs of their ears.  That is where my first carcinoma appeared.

Please take skin cancer seriously.  It always happens to the other guy, until a doctor calls to give you the bad news.

Feeling better now.