Second PDT, Much Worse Than First (So Far) - Atlanta, GA

I have the PDT procedure done a couple of years...

I have the PDT procedure done a couple of years ago and it was fairly uneventful. All I really recall about it was my face got extremely red on Day 1, and I had a fair amount of flaking the next week. Not a dramatic experience and no memorable results other than feeling good about doing something preventive for my skin. I have a history of basal cells, and had a squamous cell last summer, so I wanted to try PDT again this year and my Dr recommended 2 rounds, 6 weeks apart.

Went for the 1st treatment Friday morning (2 days ago). Yes, quite painful and thank God for the handheld fan. I would definitely recommend playing with the fan before the procedure starts so you know how close you can bring it to your face. With the eye coverings, you're just guessing once the light starts. Also, I wish I'd put sunscreen on my lips. I literally saw stars!!! The technician told me that some people have no pain and don't even use the fan - wow! She did say everyone's experience is different, and that does seem to be true.

When I had this done a couple years ago, I do recall distinctive stinging that afternoon when I got near a window, etc. This time, there was no stinging at all in the car driving home or for several hours that day. There was really no discomfort whatsoever and my face was barely red - I looked fine. I assumed that perhaps my skin was healthier than I thought and hence, the lack of reaction. Later, I went outside to get the mail and within a minute, my face starting stinging like crazy. And, it's pretty much been all downhill from there. The stinging and redness continued to worsen that night, and yesterday (day after PDT), the color of my face was worse than the worse sunburn ever. And, since there was a covering on my eyes during the treatment, I look like I'm wearing a white mask. There is a distinct line in my skin where it goes from white to scary red. I took ibuprofen all day, splashed my face with cold water, used cold packs, moisturized with the stuff the Dr gave me, used a little olive oil, tried vinegar, etc. Had trouble sleeping due to constant stinging and discomfort, so I took a benadryl, put a fan next to my bed (pointed at my face) and slept with my head elevated. Surely, surely, I'll look and feel better in the morning, I thought.

This morning (48 hours after PDT), my face is every bit as red as yesterday, and is now COVERED with little bumps and blisters. Constant pinging and stinging. It's so uncomfortable and discouraging. This level of discomfort reminds me of the way it feels if you've ever had a horrible round of poison ivy. Yesterday, I was ok with going to the grocery wearing sunglasses to somewhat hide the white/red contrast. But today, my face looks so bad, there's no way I'll step foot outside. And unless a miracle occurs, which I do not expect, given the way this is going, I will be working from home this week. Oh, also, my face is very hot to touch. Splashing cold water on it is the best relief, but I can't just stand at the sink all day. I'd really love to put my face in a bowl full of ice.

I am really surprised at how this is going (not well) vs. 2 years ago. However, I'm also hoping that maybe this time, with great pain there will be great results! Thank you to everyone who has shared their experience on this site. It has been so helpful to read everyone's posts. I will update my post in the days ahead.
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