I like my nose. I always have. It is cute. It fits my face nicely. It is my favorite feature about myself. So you could say that I am pretty vain about my nose.
I noticed a tiny white spot on the right side of tip of my nose. It started to periodically bleed, usually after I dried my face with a towel. It started to get slightly bigger and puff up. I finally asked my GYN-PA to refer me to a dermatologist and she, being an amazing woman, did. Sure enough, the prognosis was Basal Cell Carcinoma: the most popular, easily treatable and typically non-spreading skin cancer. It required Mohs surgery and plastic surgery.
I arrived at the Dermatologist early in the morning for the Mohs surgery. They gave me local anesthesia in my nose which burned like fire with a hint of sneezey. The doctor scooped out the tumor plus a precautionary extra layer of tissue which, in all, was the size of a large green pea. They controlled the bleeding, bandaged me up and I went to the waiting room while they tested the tumor. If the cancer remained, I would have gone back in for a second scoop and would have repeated the process until all the cancer was gone. Thankfully it was clear with just one scoop and they sent me to plastic surgery.
The surgeon numbed me back up, good times, and then started cutting away. It felt like he was raking my skin. He had to borrow skin from the middle of my nose to fill the tip, then he borrowed skin from the bridge of my nose to fill the middle, then he had to pull the skin tightly from the side of my nose to cinch the bridge together. It was so tight I felt like and looked like I had a face lift on the right side of my face. The incision looked like a backwards 3 from the bridge of my nose to the nostril. 25 stitches in total.
He bandaged me up and discharged me. Before we were a mile from the hospital I started to bleed, which made me panic, which made me start to cry (ugly girl cry), which made my nose bleed more. So we headed back and we applied pressure, yes, pressure. Pressure! Pressure applied to a nose that was just tortured. A nose that was no longer numb. Finally three nose dressings later it had stopped bleeding enough to go home. (After Googleing, I found that bleeding was pretty uncommon.)
The next day my body, especially my feet, were sore from being so very tense and nervous through the surgeries. My nose, cheeks and eye lids were swollen, blue and tender. But the worst was behind me, with prayer and Tylenol, just days later I felt pretty good.
Since the surgery my nose itches, has moments of stinging and cold burning. It feels heavy and numb along the scar. My nostrils are different shapes. But all in all everything looks and feels better than I expected.
So what did I learn?
1. Be proactive about your health. If you think something is wrong, stand up for your health.
2. Check your self, before you wreck yourself. Use your vanity and notice changes in your skin.
3. Anyone can get skin cancer. I'm young. I don't tan. Most of the sports I played were indoor sports. When I was outdoors as a kid, I spent more time in the woods than out in the open. I use SPF every day.
4. The smell of cauterized, betadine covered skin does not leave your memory quickly.