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A bit about my story

Hello there. I had a recurrence of basal cell carcinoma on my nose in the spring. The oncologist I had seen five years ago referred me to a surgeon who performed two surgeries. The first removed most of the right side of my nose, and reconstructed it, utilizing cartilage from my ear and a flap of skin and tissue from my hairline. Most of my hair at the top of my forehead was shaved for the surgery and is only now lightly covering the area. The flap of skin and tissue was brought down to my nose and sutured in, with the flap of skin still attached at the lower portion of my forehead. The scar on my forehead was tender and looked awful, as did I! I spent two nights in the hospital after this first surgery.

I had daily visits from nurses to change the dressings for the month between surgeries. The second separated the flap and I no longer required the daily nursing visits. As welcomed as they were, it really was a relief not to have them any longer. I can't really explain that feeling but I've had a lot of feelings through this process than I can't really explain. I was, thankfully, able to go home the same day.

In the follow up appointments with the surgeon and oncologist, it was recommended that I have five weeks of radiation. I just finished #25 on Monday and am very relieved to have it over. It was very stressful and I felt a lot of anxiety, not really about the radiation itself, but because I had to wear a mask/cast over my face. This was fitted very tightly over my face and attached to the radiation table for the time I was lying there. It was awful. I had to do my best to relax and think of other things but it was difficult to do. I'm sure that a lot of it was irrational fear and anxiety but I was so relieved on Monday, not to have to be ‘bolted’ down on that table again!

I haven't had a lot of pain, just discomfort really, and I'm thankful for that. My skin is extremely pink and dry. I use Glaxol cream on it three times a day and Polysporin once a day for the inside of my nose, which is tender and where I frequently see blood on the q-tip. A lot of the hair on the flap (since it was taken from my hairline) has disappeared, but not all of it yet, another thing to think about.

My follow-ups with both the oncologist and the surgeon are in January. I wish I had had someone who had experienced this to talk to prior to the surgeries, just to have an idea of what to expect, but I didn't. I still don't really know what to expect going forward and that continues to make me anxious. I've always been the type of person who puts on a happy face and doesn't want to worry others. It's been tough.

7 Replies
Brighty
7731 Posts

@JustMyJourney welcome to the site. Im so sorry for everything you've been through. Im wondering if @sgt. pepper and @pomlady would be able to help you. Thank you for posting..and I'm sure others will come forward to share their experiences.

pomlady
26 Posts

Hi I am sorry, you have been through a lot! I have had a bcc twice, once on my lower eyelid in 2018 which was just removed (cut out) by an eye surgeon and again on my nose with Mohs surgery in 2020. I had 3 passes on my nose with a skin flap from the side of it. That was about it, so far, so good.

Just had a total body scan on Wed. from a new skin doctor that I found, it was a relief for him to say all is fine.

Not sure if you are with Facebook but there are quite a number of groups on there dealing with skin cancer. Maybe look on there to see? I have joined a number of groups. One is called “Mohs Surgery Support Group" another ”Skin Cancer, SCC & BCC Survivors" and another “Basal Cell Skin Cancer Awareness” and probably many more. There are so many people dealing with skin cancer these days and listening to peoples stories and replying with any help we can give others, it is a comfort. You don't feel as alone.

Hope this helps a bit.

Boby1511
720 Posts

@JustMyJourney

hi there,

wow that is a lot. I feel for you.

5 years and back, cancer is cruel.

Being “bolted” to the radiation table sounds scary.

I too found a facebook group with my cancer type. Does feel good to hear the stories of others going thru something similar.

Sending you best wishes.

Dave58
290 Posts

@JustMyJourney I am so sorry for what you've been threw ! You've done well from what I've read although it sounds like you needed a friend to be with you more than anything else. Sometimes that flesh and blood friend can be a huge benefit in how you feel in your emotional state.

We're a family here and now you're a part of that family. We'll never post and run but be here with and for you every step of the way. This is your safe place where you can chat, rant, cry or ask ANY question you feel you need an answer to. And please please please never give it a second thought about posting, you'll NEVER be judged !!! We're all in this together my Friend and together we'll make it through.

Whitelilies
1667 Posts

@JustMyJourney Hello and welcome from ON! Please know you have found a group of caring people…..happy to listen and share and support……Yes….you have been through a lot…….Now; time to officially heal! One day at a time…..The “mask” they placed on you, during radiation,must have been so hard to tolerate…..scary…..so close to your face! But; the radiation beams, had to do their role!

You were thinking “Beam Me Up Scotty !”

Share your emotions, right here…..I too am in ONT…..my treatment /Radiation was at Sunnybrook Hospital (Toronto) and Surgery (North York General Hospital (Toronto) - Colon.

We are all here, to support you.

Welcome again

Whitelilies

#welcome

sgt. pepper
183 Posts

JustMyJourney,

Your experience with basal cell carcinoma is so different from mine. I have had two occurrences, one on the side of my nose and the other above my lip, both of which were treated successfully with MOHS surgeries. No radiation, skin grafts, extensive scarring occurred. My ordeal with melanoma was another story. I don't understand why you had such extensive and evasive treatments. Where are you from?

Unlike melanoma which is invasive and spreads throughout the body, basal cell carcinoma is confined to the skin so why did they do radiation? You should google MOHS surgery to get an better idea of this procedure and its effectiveness.

Don't hestitate to contact me if you need more details. Good luck, Sgt. Pepper

sgt. pepper
183 Posts

JustMyJourney,

I forgot to mention that the best healing agent and scar prevention for me has been ordinary vaseline gel. It was recommended by my dermatologist and I find it to be the best lubricant and overall remarkable cure as the wound closes up nicely with no major scarring. Try it and see how it works.

Sgt. Pepper

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