This promises not to be much fun

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dwashbur
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This promises not to be much fun

Post by dwashbur » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:22 am

So, apparently I have cancer.

So far it doesn't seem to be the life-threatening kind, but I still hate that word. I've had this little doodinkle on the bridge of my nose, just a whisker away from my right eye, for as long as I can remember. In the past year or so it seemed to get a little bigger, so when my family doctor asked me about it during a routine exam, she decided we needed to look into it. She wanted to remove it, but she's still an intern and didn't have the confidence to do it, especially considering the proximity to my eye.

Three specialists later, this tiny, adorable Korean woman came in, took one look at it and said "That's a basal cell carcinoma." After explaining to me that basal cell is the "wimpiest" (I loved the way she used that word!) of the various skin cancers, in that it's fairly easy to get rid of and doesn't generally metastasize, she took a biopsy of it and explained the rest of the process to me. We should hear back from pathology in a week or two, and once they confirm what it is, she'll use a special microscopic surgical technique called Mohs surgery to remove it. In this process, they take pieces of it and map where they are, while simultaneously checking each piece in a microscope to see if there are still cancer cells present. Once they dig down to clean tissue all around, it's done. Then it's time for some reconstruction to fill the moon-size crater that I'll have there. It doesn't sound like fun, but I have a good friend who's doing the whole chemo thing right now, and it makes me thankful this isn't any worse than it is.

I'll update as often as I know anything. But I seem to have joined a fairly non-elite group of people: those with cancer. I think I could have done without that honor.
Dave

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CaptnJack
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by CaptnJack » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:30 am

Wimpiest is right and almost everyone get's those little guys eventually. Basal cell carcinomas aren't even counted in most cancer statistics since pretty much everyone gets one or more eventually (and lives). I'm sure you'll be fine once you can wera a mask again :)
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

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Dusty2
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by Dusty2 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:49 am

So once again you will be out of the water for awhile?

SeaDNA
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by SeaDNA » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:17 pm

Take care, do what they say, and your recovery should be pretty straightforward. My mom has had 3 bouts of cancer, Hodgkins, breast, and thyroid, over the past 25 years.

Keep your spirits up and don't let it get you down.

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Matt S.
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by Matt S. » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:25 pm

My mom had Moh's procedure as well as some kind of awful topical creme for a similar problem. Everything worked out. Fingers crossed for ya!

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renoun
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by renoun » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:34 pm

If somehow you haven't heard it you should listen to Tig Notaro's monologue.

I've got several friends who have had MOHS, it wasn't pleasant but not that big of a deal compared to the one who was unfortunate enough to have had melanoma. Be sure you go prepared to deal with entertaining yourself while waiting for the pathologist reads after each layer. Given the proximity to your eye you may not want to read or watch tv/movies so I'd suggest queuing up podcasts or other audio entertainment.

Be sure to make inquiries about the availability of a plastic surgeon to close the site even if someone else is doing the procedure and expects to close the incision themselves. A good plastic surgeon has some really neat tricks for closing divots in one's face. Be sure to get started early in the day so that they have time to deal with contingencies. 6:30PM isn't a good time to decide to transfer care, especially if you don't have a good contingency plan.
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GearHead
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by GearHead » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:50 pm

I will second the recommendation to have a plastic surgeon close the incision. After having having a few subdermal inclusions removed over a few years by various surgeons, I can say that the plastic surgeon will do the best job of minimizing visible scarring.

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dwashbur
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by dwashbur » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:41 pm

CaptnJack wrote:Wimpiest is right and almost everyone get's those little guys eventually. Basal cell carcinomas aren't even counted in most cancer statistics since pretty much everyone gets one or more eventually (and lives). I'm sure you'll be fine once you can wera a mask again :)

I did not know that. Thanks! And it doesn't interfere with wearing my mask. Dusty, as far as I know I won't be out of the water for any significant length of time, and that only when they actually get around to doing the procedure. Right now, the main thing keeping me from diving as much as I want is a knee problem. But that's another story.
Dave

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Linedog
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by Linedog » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:14 pm

My wife had a cancerous mole cut outa her leg, she's fine! My knee is an issue also.
Pop tarts and gravy,
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lamont
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Re: This promises not to be much fun

Post by lamont » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:33 pm

I had this mole on the top of my head at least since i was in high school. Everyone who looked at it said it was just a mole, no biggie. It got bigger and became noticeable. Went into a cosmetic surgeon to have it removed and the surgeon looked at it and concurred with all who went before him that it was no biggie. So he removed it, patched me up, but still sent it off to the lab...

Came back in a few weeks later and the lab results showed that it was a basal cell carcinoma (and actually the wimpiest morphology of basal cell, I don't recall the name any more though). Kinda surprised the surgeon and me. Even though he was going for cosmetic results and removing as little as possible he managed to get clear margins around it...

Good news is that I thought I was paying for the surgery out of pocket, but insurance picked it up after the lab test came back...

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