I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my scalp yesterday. No need to freak out – though basal cells are cancerous, they only grow locally and do not spread to other parts of your body. But after having a suspected melanoma and two basal cells removed in the past two years, plus multiple biopsies at every six month dermatology appointment, I’m beginning to feel a little bit like Swiss cheese.
With my freckled skin and a family history of melanoma, I’m a poster child for skin cancer. Thank God skin cancer is a treatable one. Treatable with slicing and dicing, but treatable nonetheless. Still, I always dread the phone call with the biopsy results. I’m super squeamish, and every time I go to the dermatologist I have to confess, embarrassed, that I’m prone to fainting. Just for a biopsy. So if the biopsy comes back positive, that means real surgery with blood and stitches and grisly wounds.
Sure enough, this thing on my scalp, right on the crown of my head, was a carcinoma and had to be removed. Because of its location, and because of its size (more than 1 cm in diameter), I had to see a plastic surgeon.
The surgeon, thankfully, was hilarious. Well, he was hilarious to someone like me who thinks it’s funny when blood is dripping down your face and your surgeon says, “If these patients didn’t have to be alive they wouldn’t bleed so stinkin’ much!” When I told him my obligatory, “I’m prone to fainting, so I should probably be as reclined as possible” speech, he waved his hand, pshawed me, and said, “We have at least 2 people faint around here per week. We’ll take care of you.”
They laid me down face first, just in case, and for better access to the carcinoma. He parted my hair to look at the BCC (as he called it when he dictated my case to his tape recorder) and exclaimed, “Whoa! That’s a big one!” Then he pushed the skin together, like when you’ve packed a suitcase too full and you have to squeeze it as tight as possible so you can get the zipper to go.
“The scalp skin doesn’t have much play, but I think I can do this without a graft.”
“Whatever it takes. Let’s just get it over with,” I said.
So he began. We talked while he worked, my eyes shut tight so I wouldn’t see the puddle of blood on the floor. Somehow we got on the subject of books (shocking), and re-reading books. I’m a re-reader. He is not. But he does have a friend who, every decade, re-reads – you’ll never guess – Moby Dick! So of course I had to tell him that I finally read Moby Dick this summer. He couldn’t remember if he had ever finished it.
As he was stitching me up, he pulled my skin so tight I could feel my eyes stretching. I realized, hey, this guy’s a plastic surgeon, and I said, “Wow, it feels like I’m getting one of those – what’s it called when you stretch your skin to pull the wrinkles out?”
Yeah, that’s it. I got a free face-lift yesterday. I checked the mirror this morning, and sure enough, my crow’s feet are gone. But I have one hell of a headache.
12 thoughts on “I got a free facelift”
I’m chuckling, while also sorry that you are going through all of that. I went through a stage where they were removing moles left and right, and then it stopped. Now I only have to get checked annually, and my last biopsy was benign…unheard of! So, hang in there…you might just be going through a more “active period”.
I had one removed at my bust line a few months before we got married, and I was hoping that it would result in a little boob-lift (I’ve always been a bit saggy, but it seemed more pronounced to me when I hit 35.). Well, instead of a little lift, I just ended up with a very ugly stretched out scar…perhaps like a failed boob job would be! And I had Bryan trying to help me remove the bandage in the shower, and I full on fainted for the first time! Thankfully he caught me and was able to gently lower me to the tub floor so I wasn’t hurt, but wow! I’d gotten woozy a few times with past removals, but I couldn’t believe I fainted! Now it’s like I just have to think about certain medical things (like I read all the details on a woman’s blog about VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarian) and geesh…room spinning!
All this to say, I’m right there with you! Enjoy the free face-lift, and I hope the headache goes away soon!
Omg! Skin cancer scares me! I’ve nearly lost my Mom to it 3 times and we are SO lucky she is still with us…She has SO MANY scars from having them removed….Melanoma. That word gives me nightmares. I’ve also had some that I thankfully caught early. My first one at the age of 14. Yes, slice and dice is the name of the game and it sucks…I had a mole removed a few months ago (all was good) but everytime I see a new one crop up,I lose sleep…I too am prone to the fainting thing…ugh…me, the girl with several tattoos, 3 c-sections (one of them with NO anesthesia), more cuts and stitches than I can count and a simple little needle and scalpel does me in..it doesnt even HURT, just freaks me out…that and an IV….IV needles RUIN ME. I’m pretty sure that “hell” for me would be a place where some scary nurse is coming at my veins with IV needles. All that said, I STILL LOVE the sun…I know thats bad but it’s the truth. I DONT go to tanning beds anymore and I DO use sunscreen more than I used too but in my younger years I was all over the baby oil and sunshine….BAD BAD BAD. Be careful Andrea…I’m glad to hear it was a basil and not a melanoma. Stay on top of that stuff!
Enjoy your new face-lift 😉 (You don’t look like you need one though!) Take care and heal up fast! 🙂
After reading your story and the first two comments I have to lie down for a while. Whew! But I’m glad you are all good now and crow’s feet free.
Very sorry you have to go through these frightening moments, but glad you’re doing okay! I fainted the last time I had a mole removed and my doctor gave me some great advice: “Why are you so scared? You’re in a hospital!” Solid reasoning.
your mom and i had a chuckle about this today! it was great to see them; i wish you could have been there – taught face and all…
Congrats on the face lift and lack of crows feet! Glad to hear you are doing well.
I had a melanoma removed last year that completely changed my arm into a different thing. That pencil eraser sized thing morphed into an 8 inch long scar that looks like a shock got me. I am so so proud of you for staying on top of this bullshit. You’d think they’d have invented some awesome skin rejuvenator that would just sort of suck all these suckers up. But hey, facelift!!
Don’t let them talk you into the “Blue Light” treatment…..LOL my family said I looked like Freddy Cruger afterwards… but then it went away and I looked ten years younger !!!
Hey everyone, thank you so much for your stories (and the chuckles :-D) Just wanted to let y’all know I got the stitches out today, and the pathology report came back that they were able to remove everything. All is well.
Dear Madame Butterfly,
You are fantastical. If I didn’t have 7.3 loads of laundry to launder, and dirty floors that children have dirtied…that need a good scrubbing…I could sit here and read your words all day.
Yay! You were my lucky find today!!!
You have totally made my day, Lisa. I hope my blog helped carry you through all those chores. Your kindness sure got me through all of mine!
Yes!! It did!!! Thank you so much!!!
Looking to forward to more of your loveliness!!
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