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Old 03-28-2008, 08:06 AM   #1
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Unhappy I'm soooooooooooo scared

Hi,

I went to the Dr. last week to have an annoying bump on my nose removed, did not look like any cancer spots I have ever seen in print before. The Dr. said he was not too concerned with it either, anyway, went back to have the 3 stitches removed yesterday and he told me the path report came back as "basal cell carcinoma". Now, yes, he did try to reassure me that it is not that serious I am just freaking out...

He is a Plastic Surgeon and has scheduled for me to go in to have more removed as the margins were not clear.

I have a lot of questions, hopefully you can answer a few and put my freaked out mind to ease.

1. Does this mean I am more likely to get melanoma some day?
2. Has anyone ever died from basal cell carcinoma?
3. Am I going to left with a huge gaping hole on my nose?
4. Should I stick with the Plastic Surgeon or switch to a Dermo?
5. Has anyone ever heard of treating it topically with a cream? A family member who happens to be a Dermo, (but lives in another state) offered to look at it and try treating it topically first.

6. Mainly, can someone just help me chill a bit???

Thanks in advance for any support/comfort/advice you may have.

 
Old 03-28-2008, 09:24 AM   #2
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudo59 View Post
Hi,
1. Does this mean I am more likely to get melanoma some day?
2. Has anyone ever died from basal cell carcinoma?
3. Am I going to left with a huge gaping hole on my nose?
4. Should I stick with the Plastic Surgeon or switch to a Dermo?
5. Has anyone ever heard of treating it topically with a cream? A family member who happens to be a Dermo, (but lives in another state) offered to look at it and try treating it topically first.

6. Mainly, can someone just help me chill a bit???

Thanks in advance for any support/comfort/advice you may have.
Don't be too worried, the answers to your questions are:
1. No
2. No
3. No
4. No, a plastic surgeon is a good choice, especially if you need a skin graft or other repair
5. I have heard of creams, like those containing aloe vera, that have been of benefit, especially as a preventative measure for sunspots, etc.
6. I have had three BCCs removed from various parts of me, including my nose. Keep alert and get them while they are small and they are just more of a nuisance than anything else.
Good luck, Sera

 
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Old 03-28-2008, 06:06 PM   #3
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Relax - Seraph pretty much covered everything very well. I don't have much info on BCC but there is a lot of info out there on it.

 
Old 03-30-2008, 06:16 AM   #4
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Hi All,

Thanks so much for responding.

Dianne, I'm not done with it yet. When I went to the Plastic Surgeon to have the bump removed he didn't originally think it was anything to worry about. It was when I went back, this past Thursday, to have the stitches removed that he told me it turned out to be BCC. He has scheduled me for April 10 to go in have more of it removed, it, may be Mohs he is planning on doing. I'm not sure, I didn't ask because I obviously had never dealt with this before. He said what he was going to do is scrape more skin, send it to the lab while I waited and scrape more if neccessary, etc. Does this sound like Mohs??

I talked to a Dermo who happens to be a relative and she suggested going the topical cream route first, as to prevent scarring. But from everything I've read so far I wonder if I should just stick with Mohs, and whether or not to have a Dermo or a Plastic Surgeon treat me?

I'm just still so scared, even though everything I have read is encouraging. I guess one of my biggest fears is that after this is over and I go to a dermo to have all my moles checked, which I have never done before, that they are going to find more, and possibly the Melanoma type. Do any of you fear that? I hate feeling this way cuz normally I am a very confident woman and this has just shattered me....

I also feel embarrassed by it all, I know that might sound strange, but I feel like friends and family, well, maybe not family, are all going to be saying behind my back, "see, she always had a gorgeous tan and now she is paying for it"...

I don't know how to get that confident feeling back.

I hope in a month I feel like you do Dianne, and the worst will be over. I am afraid of what it will look like while it's being treated as well. Am I go to be able to work or what?

Thanks again so much for your responses, I cling to them and re-read them often along with everything else on this board.

 
Old 03-30-2008, 02:18 PM   #5
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Thanks again Dianne for your quick response. Please keep posting on how you are doing and I will do the same.

I feel better when I am on the web learning more about it.

Time to go make dinner...

 
Old 03-30-2008, 02:25 PM   #6
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

I wonder if any of you, like me, look at every mole on my body now and wonder if it is cancer? I have so many, how could they ever check every single one? I mean this one that was just removed did not look anything at all what you typically see pictures of skin cancer looking like. This scares me so much.

I fear that they will clear this one up on my nose only to find another on my body somewhere that may be melanoma. How can I stop feeling this way?

 
Old 03-30-2008, 06:38 PM   #7
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

You should have an annual check up with your dermatologist. They will do a close examination of all moles and determine if any should be removed. This is not an unusual exam.

 
Old 04-02-2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

It sounds like you are having Mohs surgery. I adore my doctor and he has done so much for me the last 18 months but I wish I had had Mohs surgery. I had a squamous cell carcinoma on my nose in July 2006. I went to my family doctor who sent me to a dermo. He took one look at me and said I needed to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. The ENT he sent me to was great. I went to him 4 times during the month of August and the margins kept coming back with cancer showing in them. The last one came back clean and I had a hole straight thru my nose. They did a paramedian forehead flap to close the hole. I looked hideous for about three weeks. He cut the flap after three weeks and I didn't look too bad. I had a bump on my nose but he said he could shave it down in about six months. Then two weeks later another bump came up on my nose and it was SCC again. To make a long story short - The SCC grew into the side of my face. I saw another doctor in the practice who specializes in cancer of the head and neck and is also a plastic surgeon. He told me that he hated doing this kind of surgery because it is so disfiguring. He has done a wonderful job of recontructing the left side of my face. (I had the left side of my nose removed and 5cm of bone and flesh removed on the left side of my face) I will probably be another year with reconstruction.

I am not telling you all this to scare you more. What happened to me only happens in 3-4% of all SCC's. My mother had several on her face and my sister has had one on her neck. I just want to let you know that Mohs is the best kind of surgery because they can get all the cancer in one day instead of sending it to a pathologist and waiting a week to find out if the margins are clear. And the doctors will be able to fix any damage done. So my advice to you is to not worry and remember God will be with you through it all as he has been with me.

 
Old 04-03-2008, 04:58 AM   #9
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Hi All,

I thought I read somewhere that if you did have either BCC or SCC that you are at a 40% higher risk of developing Melanoma than someone who has not had either. That's what freaks me out. My sister-n-law has had both BCC and SCC. BCC was on her chest and SCC was on her leg.

That aside, I have made my decision, I go in on the 10th for Mohs on nose, I am nervous, scared and at the same time anxious to just get it over with.

Mary

 
Old 04-04-2008, 02:11 PM   #10
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Hi Dianne,

As far as chances of getting other skin cancers when you have had one specific type, I don't know. My mother had about 5 or 6 skin cancers removed from her face but I don't remember what kind they were. My ENT told me I would have to pay more attention to my skin since I have had skin cancer. I have an appointment with my dermo on April 14 to have a check up.

What I had on my nose the first time looked just like a pimple. Of course I tried to pop it and nothing came out. Then it starting growing. It would look bigger everyday when I looked in the mirror. It was really big by the time I got to the ENT. It was scabby looking on top.

I had the paramedian forehead flap to repair the damage. The second bump came up just under where the flap had been sewn to my nose. It also looked like a pimple but started growing bigger. This one did not scab but was just a hole that looked like it went in really deep. When he was doing my forehead flap he noticed a brown spot on the right side of my face by my eye. It was brown and it would dry out and itch. I had had that spot for over a year. He biopsied it and it was squamous cell also but he removed and the margins came back clean the first time. So I have had two different looking skin cancers that were the same.

Depending on where your bumps are I would probably say they are scar tissue but if you are concerned I would talk to the doctor again. Everytime I go to my ENT I always seem to have a little bump or something else on my face I ask about. I think once you have skin cancer, and especially on your face, you are more aware of all the little bumps and flaws.

I am glad you are getting the hang of the lotion applying. Hope you are healing well.

Anne

 
Old 04-09-2008, 06:27 AM   #11
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

My Mohs is scheduled for tomorrow and I an absolute nervous wreck. My biggest fear is that they will find it to be very deep and I lose half of my nose!

Any calming words for me out there?

 
Old 04-09-2008, 09:13 AM   #12
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Dear Sudo,

The moderators suddenly changed my username because the one I was using
is a famous person and it was forbidden. The experience really startled and
frightened me and I wasn't going to post again, but I saw your post today
and I have to respond. You haven't been far from my thoughts these past few days, because I remembered you're having your Moh's on April 10.

You're going to be fine. You're in great hands with your plastic surgeon. You're acting quickly to get rid of your bcc - I still can't believe you got a surgery date so quickly. You are very fortunate.

Make sure you aren't drinking any alchohol or taking any blood thinning medicines right now. I even stopped my vitamins 24 hours beforehand.

Just plan ahead, and know what to expect.I'm sure the dr.'s office told you how to prepare, but I'll remind you. Bring a good book or magazine, because you'll be there a long time. I got a little chilly from lying on the surgical table
for so long so maybe bring an extra sweater. They had a blanket for me.

The worse thing you'll feel will be the anaesthetic needle in the very beginning. It will hurt like anything. They will probably tell you to expect this.
Then they'll put a little paper napkin around your nose so that just your
nose sticks out. If you want to know now what this feels like, take a paper napkin, open it up, and poke your nose thru the middle. That's how
you'll be spending most of your surgery.

Then they'll draw on your nose with a special pen to help them know where to make incisions. It is very precise. They do this in the shape of a clock.

If your surgery is like mine, they will put an electrical pad somewhere on your
body to control the bleeding. With me they tried a number of places until it
worked. I think it ended up on my stomach.

There seemed to be a lot of participants in my surgery. Besides the dr., there were 2 assistants, and several others popped in to visit and check me. The
lab technician, responsible for analyzing the tissue samples, came in to introduce himself. The whole staff seemed to want to get in on it, and it gave
me the feeling that Moh's surgery is a very positive event in a dermatology
office. That should make you feel a little more comfortable - if anyone was at
risk for losing their nose as the result of Moh's, I don't think the staff would
have been so happy and eager to get involved.

I must admit the dr. looked a little nervous when the moment to start operating arrived. I think that there's a lot of uncertainty about what the surgeon might find once he starts removing tissue. He doesn't know how much
tissue he'll have to remove until he actually goes in.

Before he actually started operating, the dr. went in and seemed to "tenderize" the area for several minutes. He stuck a small tool underneath the skin and wiggled it around a lot. It's just like being at the dentist when you've
had novocaine. You can feel movement but it doesn't hurt.

I've erased my previous posts where I described this, but I'll remind you again.
The Moh's will go in stages. The dr. will do a 1st stage and extract tissue. You'll be free to relax, even walk around, or read, while this tissue is sent to the lab and analyzed. It takes about 20-30 minutes. Then the dr. will come back in and tell you if he has to take more tissue and go to a 2nd stage. This
process will repeat and repeat until the dr. is satisfied that there is no cancer
remaining on the tissue he's removing from your nose. Each time he is taking
the barest minimum amount of tissue out - only what is absolutely necessary.

You are in such good hands on this - in the event that your Moh's goes several stages, and a lot of tissue has to be removed, you've got the plastic
surgeon already working on you, so he'll know exactly what to do.

For me the most disconcerting part was the "sewing up". The dr. described
out loud to his assistant exactly how he was going to "undermine" and cut the
flap of skin to cover the wound. He had to do this, because the asst. took over the sewing up procedure at the end and needed to know, but I probably
would have been better off not listening so carefully.

They told me ahead of time to plan to have someone on call to drive me home afterwards, because my nose bandage might be too big to see to drive, but I was just fine. I felt great until the anaesthetic started wearing off, and then
it hurt like hell. I mean I was wondering why they didn't prescribe anything for
the pain. I took Ibuprofin, which helped. It hurt pretty badly for about a day.

Make sure you get wound care instructions - you'll leave the bandage on for 24 hrs. and then change it twice a day, washing it, and putting antibacterial
cream on it. They put me on antibiotic pills for 5 days to make sure I didnt get infected.

It's all very routine, and you have nothing to worry about. You are getting the
best possible surgery for your bcc, and it probably won't even be noticeable in time that you've had this done.

If you feel anxious, maybe get your general dr. to prescribe a tranquillizer, or
something to relax you. If not, as I mentioned, I listened to recorded ocean sounds which really helped a lot.

Please post as soon as you can to let us know how it went.
If you're worried about the number of stages you might have to go, just expect to do several. That way, if it's any less, you'll only be happy!

You're going to be fine. We're here rooting for you!

I will sign this with the new name the moderator has given me. I am the person who had exactly what you're having tomorrow, Moh's for bcc on the nose, last month. I am doing great, and you will be very soon, too!

"Ruth Ann"

Last edited by ruth ann; 04-09-2008 at 04:01 PM.

 
Old 04-09-2008, 09:27 AM   #13
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Hi Ruth Ann,

I was wondering what happened to you. I was actually looking for Princess and couldn't find you. I'm so glad you replied. How many times did they have to do yours? How does your nose look now? Did you take time off of work?

 
Old 04-09-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Hi, Sudo.

Yes, I am Princess. I got renamed. I think the moderator thought my Princess name sounded like someone famous, which is not allowed here. I was very traumatized about this name change, especially since I am still recovering myself. I erased all my posts.

My surgery went just one stage. The surgeon, who had looked a little worried
as we began, came bursting thru the door after he had the lab results with
a big smile on his face, saying "It's your lucky day. We got it all.". He was
visibly relieved. Then a multitude of his staff also came in to congratulate me. I mean, this Moh's was a real group effort! I definitely got the feeling that it's unusual to just go one stage, and that most people go at least 2 or 3.

It's funny, all I could think of at the time was the cost. My insurance fell thru,
and I knew I'd be paying for it myself, and I was told that the surgery gets
more expensive with each level. All I could think about at the time was "Whew, at least I won't be paying too much!". Then I suddenly realized that
my nose was pretty lucky, too, not to have to get more tissue off.

My nose looked hideous at first. When I first took the bandage off, I was sure I would be permanently disfigured. Don't get scared if this happens to you. Your nose will be swollen, discolored, with black stitches on it. Just do exactly
what the dr. says, and take very good care of it, and it will heal remarkably fast. They say that face wounds are the quickest to heal.

I am now at about 6 wks. after surgery. The shape of my nose is the same as
before. Just the bcc bump is gone. My nose is still very red where the surgery was, though. I seem to have hit a plateau. It looks about the same as when they took out the stitches. It doesn't look bad - like a sunburned nose. Everyone keeps telling me that it is still red because the new skin takes at least 3 months to regrow. Everyone assures me that it's fine, and right on course. I am putting on a very expensive scar cream 2 x a day and hoping it
just takes time to get back to the natural color.

My mother, who is 87, had a bcc removed from her chin in Nov. I saw her in
Feb. and there was no mark or scar whatsover. This is a woman who's had
2 facelifts. You couldn't tell where the bcc had been at all.

I have a feeling noses are a little more complicated. My nose is still a little tender, and gets cold easily. The skin is a little rough where the surgery was,
and I feel a small scar tissue bump where an incision was made. This doesn't show, though. It looks good. Just with a red spot.

My wound area was basically coverable with 2 bandaids, strategically placed,
a few days after surgery. I didn't miss any work (I pretty much had to be there) and just covered the spot with bandaids. As soon as the stitches were out the nose looked normal again, and I could go to work without the bandaids.

The work thing really depends on you. For me, it was more important
to be present at work, even though I had the bandaids on my nose than to
stay at home resting. If you need to rest after your surgery, and can get the
time off of work, then that's something to consider. Under normal circumstances, I might have taken a few days off. But it's mainly because you feel self conscious about the nose that you don't want to go out. You'll feel fine, physically, just a little shy about having your nose in a bandage.

You also have to be really careful with that nose (and everywhere else) when you are in the sun now. It must be protected.

I have just discovered, after unbelievable searching, 2 companies in the US which sell "nose guards" that you attach to your sunglasses and hang down
to cover and to protect your nose from the sun. This is a great way to protect your nose after surgery. It's really a pain to have to constantly put
sun block on the nose. And even after your nose has healed, it's a good way
to protect from future bcc incidents.

One nose guard I found is by a company called "Beko". The "Beko Nose Guard", it's called. They are sold online thru many mountaineering supplies stores. It's a black cloth triangle that fastens onto your sunglasses and covers your nose. It comes in s,m, l and ranges from 6.95 to 9.96 depending on where you order it.

The other nose guard I found is a little more attractive - it's flesh colored and slightly more feminine looking, but basically functions the same way - you attach it to your sunglasses and it hangs down to cover your nose. I don't want to enrage the moderators again by posting commercial information but the company is called "sungrubbies". You can google it easily. They also have
some very attractive top quality protective sun hats and other products of
interest to folks looking to protect themselves (fashionably!) in the sun.

Sorry this is so long. As you can see, the nose and the bcc thing is very much on my mind, too. Like you, I was very nervous before my surgery, and now that I can see how easy it was, I hope that I can allay some of your fears about it.

Get a good night's sleep, take very good care of yourself during this important
day-before-surgery, and relax!

Let me know if you have any more questions - and please be sure to post here when you can. Just remember, it's a chain of kindness and wisdom and
experience. What you learn during this experience can help someone else
who will be going thru it soon.

With warmest wishes,

Ruth Ann

 
Old 04-09-2008, 11:58 AM   #15
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Re: I'm soooooooooooo scared

Oh wow Ruth Ann, you are the best. You just don't know how your responses ease my mind. I wish I knew you in person, you sound like a great person! I'm going to go check out the nose guards now.

I will definetely post back here as soon as I can.

Thanks again for all your encouraging words and I do plan on helping others behind me as you have done with me...

Mary

 
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