Here's My Story

I noticed a "beauty mark" on my forehead that I hadn't noticed before. It was right above my eyebrow. I was pregnant at the time, and you know how your body changes when you're pregnant. So, I just watched it. I'm not one to run to the doctor. In fact, I really hate going to the doctor. Maybe it's because at 37, I was finally mature enough to realize that I need to take care of myself. So, I went to the dermatologist. ...biopsy...(didn't hurt, but it wasn't pretty for a few days) He scrapped it off with a razor or something similar. I closed my eyes, because just the thought of it could make me faint.

To make a long story short, I had Basal Cell Carcinoma! My really great doctor, quickly introduced me to another really great doctor, a plastic surgeon. "A surgeon?!" I thought. Ok, so I'm pregnant. I can't have surgery. Surgery was scheduled for 1 month after my due date. The dermatologist and the surgeon both agreed that I was too young to be dealing with this, but it runs in my family and also, yes, I was a sun worshipper. I live near the beach, I have fair complexion. What else is there to say?!

Unfortunately I don't have a before picture of this spot. But, besides being a little bit raised, it looked like a small mole. Wasn't ugly, and it was not noticeable to anyone but me.

The Next Chapter

So, where was I? I found the spot, had it confirmed, scheduled surgery...

Delivered my baby (happy times!) and then 2 weeks later, the dreaded appointment. The worst part of it all, was not really understanding what to expect. We're talking about my face here! I've never had surgery. I was quite nervous about how I would look. I even had my hair cut as to hide my forehead. I opted to be asleep during the quick surgery which took place in an abulatory center connected to the hospital. Basically, the doctor cuts around the spot, sends that sample down the hall for the pathologist to look at and then decides if any more needs to be removed. In my case, more was needed! Ugh!! As you see in the gruesome pictures, the incision was vertical so the skin could be pulled closed easily. The pathologist found cancer at the top of the incision as well as in the original place.

I'm not sure how many stiches there were. Pretty ugly, huh? My faced swelled up for a couple of days, but in the end it healed really well. But Then Guess What Happened? Yep, Another Spot!
So what about that scar? The doctor as well as the nurses recommeded Vitamin D oil rubbed in several times daily. And of course...SUNSCREEN! year later, no one notices.

Another Spot

While preparing for my first surgery, a "pimple" showed up on the side of my nose. That's exactly what it looked like to me. A pimple. Remember, I was pregnant so this did not really alarm me in the least bit. Several weeks passed and this pimple wasn't going anywhere and in fact it was looking a little bit angry.
So I was there in my plastic surgeon's office. I reluctantly asked him to look at my nose. "Aha! Let's get a sample." A few days later, the call came in. Yep, I'll be facing another surgery. A different type of surgery. A skin graft! Noses have less loose skin so using a flap technique could possible misshape the nose. I've seen someone who's had the flap on their nose. And although it wasn't entirely noticable, I'm sure it would have bothered me!! Again, these pictures are taken after the biopsy, but it didn't look much different before.

Surgery Number Two

Surgery number 2 was mostly the same as far as my comfort and anxiety level go. It almost felt like dejavu. There I was again. Did I mention that I adore my plastic surgeon? His name is Dr. Jonathan S. Jacobs M.D., D.M.D., F.A.C.S. of Associates in Plastic Surgery He is kind, understanding, friendly, thorough, and very professional. None of my questions were silly to him and he was very patient when I started crying in his office. The nurses and office staff were very personable also. When you think of plastic surgery, vanity tends to come to mind, but actually plastic surgeons deal with much more than face lifts and breast enhancement.

So, here we go again. Like I said, the surgery was mostly the same as the first with the exception of having 2 wounds. My skin graft donor site came from behind my ear. After I was all sewn up, my head and face were bandaged. Don't I look lovely?

What you end up with is a big round cushy thing sewn onto the skin graft. It must stay there for several days while the graft heals. Mine was removed about 4 days after surgery. The nurse warned me that the site on my nose may be indented and a little disturbing to look at at first. She even recommended that I give it another day or 2 before looking in the mirror. She said that the indention would suddenly "pop out." She and the doctor both knew that I was fearful of how I would look. I'm ashamed to say that I am a bit vain and my nose has always been one of my pet peeves to begin with. I really didn't look forward to having anything draw attention to it. Nevertheless, I was brave and I took the mirror. I was exceedingly happy with what I saw. Even the nurse was surprised to see how well it looked.

This is just 8 days after the surgery.

If there is one thing I want to stress, it's seeing a plastic surgeon for any surgery done on your face! And above all else....Stay out of the sun!!!

A year has passed

I'm a little bit weary now of anything that looks peculiar on my skin. I just visited my dermatologist last week because I found something weird on my back and also because it's been a year since my ordeal. He's the best. It's so important that you like your doctor. I'd be apprehensive to go back if I didn't. Anyway, the spot on my back turned out to be....yes... a pimple!! Hooray!!! Dr. Jenison checked another spot on my face and then gave me the once over in all the places that might be exposed to the sun. Everything looks A-O.K.! The doctor recommends seeing him once a year and sooner if I find something suspicious.