Went to the dermatologist June 27 for a first-time...
About a year ago I noticed a "bump" like a clear cyst or whitehead pop up on the left side of my nose between the bridge of my nose and the corner of my eye. Managed to pop it, then it scabbed up and left a slightly raised circle with an indented center. I really thought nothing of it. Along with the sun spot damage on my chest I then mentioned the spot in question to the dermatologist because it really annoyed me when applying makeup, like I had to patch it. Thought that when I popped it, it just left a scar due to the thin tissue area. Needless to say I was in shock when she said she was doing a biopsy right then and there. Hearing the words "basal" and "2mm" quickly drew my attention. Going to college for nursing and have already taken medical terminology and A&P I and II, I knew what she was referring to. After she was done she handed me a pamphlet on Basal Cell Carcinoma and that it would be a week before I would hear back on the results. Sure enough it came back BCC and told me that they were referring me to Tyler, TX to have the MOHs micrographic surgery done. No other options were suggested due to the location of the BCC. The healing of the biopsy was amazing, looked like there was never anything there, but after a few weeks a brownish undertone color started to appear in the same spot. I then requested a copy of the lab report which stated it was both nodular and micronodular (showed specks of roots) and began my online research.
So in 2 days I'll be heading to Tyler and my nerves are beginning to kick in. I even thought of the possibly of postponing till Dec, but I'm sticking to the 31st. I'm not scared about having the procedure done or even the fact of it being cancer (which I am so thankful to God that it's not melanoma); my fear is about the amount of stitches that will be needed and worrying about whether a graft will be needed or not. So much uncertainty, going in not knowing the facts until after the fact. ????
I have 3 weeks before starting fall semester of college and I am so glad I found this site. To hear and see the photos of others that have had the same procedure has calmed some worrying. After looking at the before and after pictures on the internet...that really freaked me out! The area after removal look so deep and then going from a small spot to a huge (to me) line of stitches. I'm not one to be vain about my looks, had it been anywhere else on my body besides my face, I would not worry at all. After almost 18 years of marriage, I do try to hold on to my youth as long as possible!
Thank you all for sharing your experience and pictures. I will update often during this journey of the known and unknown.
Surgery over and Cancer Free!!!
The numbing part of course is the only painful part of the whole procedure. That's where the most of swelling came from. Only took her about 5 minutes to circle the darkened area of BCC and to cut it out. More longer lasting numbing injections were given (didn't feel those) and waited about 40 minutes for the tissue to be examined, which came back that all of the BCC was removed :)
Now for the reconstruction...she had me smile, crinkle my nose, and open my eyes wide to see how the skin moved to cut small dog ear cut on each side of the circle. Said that it followed my "bunny" line, which was complete opposite of the way I thought it would be. Dissolvable stitches were used inside and regular stitches on outer surface, which will be removed in one week (Aug. 7th). A small bandage was applied that has to be left on for 24 hours. Then 2x a day I have to clean with peroxide, apply Vaseline, and cover with bandaid. Also, apply ice pack for 15 minutes each hour I'm awake this evening and tomorrow till I remove bandage. I am also to sleep elevated tonight to help reduced the swelling.
The whole process took about 2 hours.
1 day post-op
7 day post-op and stitches removed :)
Dr. Shanna Meads located at the Dermatology Associates of Tyler removed my BCC and performed the reconstruction. This was the first time meeting her and of course I had many questions and concerns (mostly concerning the optional and best ways of stitching that would minimize any possible scar line) prior to starting the procedure. Yes, I tend to be OCD and like to be prepared as much as possible about most things in my life. She took the time and patience to listen and answer all of them without me ever feeling rushed or that I was being annoying by the many questions. Dr. Meads is so gentle, soft spoken, and could tell that she truly cares about her patients concerns and the best possible outcome. Prior to the surgery I did a lot of research online and watched several videos of the reconstruction that showed it only took a few minutes to stitch up. Dr. Meads took her time (had me smile, crinkle my nose, and open my eyes wide) to see which way my skin moved and how it wanted to move when the skin was pulled together. She definitely took her time and constantly checked while stitching. I also feel the need to mention her assistant Alysia because she was so sweet, not only with assisting Dr. Meads, but was also a great person to talk to while waiting for the tissue to be examined. She could have just done only what she needed to do without saying a word and walk out, however we talked about several things that we had in common; such as nursing school, her own experience with a spot that she would only allow Dr. Meads to perform back when she started working there 6 years ago. It definitely calmed my nerves and helped pass the time while waiting on the tissue results. Even though it was nearly a 3 hour drive each way (poured rain entire time both ways), it was definitely worth the drive. I honestly don't know if I could have found a better doctor or place to have had this procedure performed. I do know that if I ever need to have anything else done in the future, she would be the only one that I would ever use. Beautiful building and every staff member I encountered was very nice, upbeat, and smiling. I would highly, without a doubt, recommend Dr. Meads to anyone!!! Update: Dr. Meads called this evening (1 day post-op) to see how I was doing and feeling. Rarely do you get a phone call from the actual doctor to check-up on you. I was pleasently surprised :) Update again: I was able to email day 5 post-op pictures to Dr. Meads to make sure all was going well. She emailed back same day, saying it showed no signs of infection and that as long as in the next 48 hours no issues, that it would be okay to have stitches removed on day 7. She is awesome!!!!