My Skin Cancer Removal

I love the sun. Sadly, the sun does not love me. I’m embarrassingly pale. I never tan. I go from white, to pink or red, back to white again.

When we travel, I’m always on the look out for sunny destinations. I want palm trees, blue water, and warmth.

I always coat myself in a force field of sunblock before emerging into the sunshine. I will admit that I’m not the best at remembering to reapply.

I originally went to the dermatologist because of skin issues related to my Lupus. While I was there, I mentioned a red spot on my nose. I’d had the spot for months. I assumed that it had something to do with my glasses rubbing on my face, but since it was ever present, I thought there was no harm in bringing it up.

At that first appointment, the dermatologist did a freezing procedure, hoping that would take care of the spot, but when I returned for a follow-up, the spot was still there.

“I never mess around with the nose,” said the dermatologist, as she prepped me for a biopsy. It was better to be safe than sorry.

Since the spot was so innocuous, I was surprised when I got the call that the biopsy came back positive as a squamous cell carcinoma.

The nice person at the dermatologist office assured me that it was the “non-deadly” type of skin cancer and could be easily removed.

I was given a rundown of what the procedure would entail. I was told that I should be prepared to spend the entire day at the office.

They would remove a layer of skin, then send it to the lab to be processed and tested. That part takes an hour and a half to two hours. If it still tests positive, more skin is removed, tested, and so on.

I was the first patient of the day.

I sat in the chair and got prepped for the procedure. Because the cancer spot was on my nose, I couldn’t see what was going on, which was probably good. No need to see the jabby needles going into your face.

I appreciated that the office gave you a squeezy stress ball to hold and fidget with during the procedure. I am a huge fidgeter, so it was nice of the medical staff to think of adding that little touch.

I barely felt the needles that poked into my nose to numb it, and I didn’t feel her cutting the cancer out at all. The only minor disconcerting thing was when she cauterized the wound. You should never know the smell of your own burning flesh.

After the procedure, I was shown to the waiting room.

There, snacks and drinks were provided.

I grabbed a cup of coffee, which was not half bad for free, doctor’s office coffee.

I brought my laptop and a list of tasks I needed to accomplish for my website. I tried logging into the wifi, but it didn’t work. I tried and tried, then finally asked the front desk if there was something special I needed to do.

“Oh, the wifi hasn’t worked for days,” the staff casually responded.

I wasn’t upset about the skin cancer, but I had to take a few calming breaths at the prospect of being marooned in a waiting room all day with no wifi. I had a list to check off. I had things to do. After regrouping, I realized that I was a writer. I could still write, even without wifi, so I worked on some posts.

Thankfully, my cancer was eliminated on the first go, so I didn’t have to stay all day.

My face was stitched and bandaged up.

I had to wear the large bandage for twenty-four hours. I looked a bit crazy.

After twenty-four hours I was able to downgrade the bandage situation.

I ended up with a gnarly looking face. I decided if anyone asked, I’d say that I was an Auror (Harry Potter) like Mad Eye Moody.

Though the scar is still healing, it’s cleared up well, and with my glasses, you really can’t see it at all.

With my never ending list of tests, procedures, and surgeries, I’d say that having a squamous cell carcinoma removed, was easy peasy.

Though I have no plans to avoid sunny destinations, I have purchased more protective swim wear. I started using sunblock with zinc in it on my face. I’m also taking advantage of the situation, as a great excuse to add purchases to my ever growing collection of travel hats.


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4 Comments

  1. April | Minivan Adventures

    September 20, 2017 at 1:08 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! So glad the removal process went smoothly for you. (P. S. I would’ve been frustrated with the wi-fi situation, too.)

    1. obligatorytraveler@gmail.com

      September 21, 2017 at 1:42 am

      Thanks. I did feel a little silly about being mad about the WIFI, but I was really looking forward to having some time to get things done that I usually don’t have extra time for. If I ever have to go back in the future, I’ll make sure to have a book just in case.

  2. Dawn Byrne

    September 21, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Wow. So glad it wasn’t worse, but sorry you had to go through this. Take care.

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