Hi everyone. This is my first post. I am a 38-year-old wife and mom, and I was recently diagnosed with BCC (superficial infiltrative) on the side of my nose. I am scheduled for MOHs surgery in August, and I will have reconstruction performed by a plastic surgeon.
When I first got the diagnosis, I was relieved just to finally know for sure what it was. Since arranging all of the appointments, etc., the anxiety about the whole situation has been setting in. I've had this dot on my nose for 9 months or so, and I had it checked out this past February, but the dermatologist said he wasn't that alarmed by it and to leave it go for a while. Well, in July, I had it looked at again, and it is skin cancer afterall. I worry that the cancer under the skin might be large and about how disfiguring the surgery will be. I work in a professional position, and while I'm not an extremely vain person, I don't want to be so scarred that people notice and take a second look when they see me.
To be honest, I am very scared, and I haven't shared this with my family, as I don't want them to know about my fears. I am concerned about everything - the physical and emotional aspects of this.
I'm very thankful the cancer is not the life-threatening variety, but it can apparently be disfiguring. What does this mean for the rest of my life if at 38 years of age I already have skin cancer? I have never used tanning beds or been a sun worshiper. I do have fair skin, blue eyes and light hair, and my grandfather had BCC too (at a much older age, though). I don't recall my mom ever putting sun lotion on me as a child, and I did have a lot of burns over my growing up years.
I hope some of you might be able to lend some encouragement/support, as I'm struggling in coming to terms with all of this.
I had Mohs surgery on the left side of my nose 2 years ago, the surgery was NOT painful, the healing was NOT painful and most of all, to look at me you would never ever know I had it done. The scar is so so minimal that even when I point it out to people they cannot see it. Mine was quite deep too! The Dr. had to go in 5 times before he got it all out, I thought I would forever have a crater on the side of my nose but I do not. You can't see a thing, really, nothing at all!
You will be fine, honest, you will. I know when I was going thru it I was a nervous wreck and I admit I was worried about what my nose would look like after the surgery. The absolute worse part was the first week after the surgery, I did swell quite a bit and I just chose to take that week off. Once the stitches came out all was well!
Feel free to ask me anything about it. Actually if you do a search on my name I think you can probably find my original postings on when I was going thru it. You'll be able to see how scared I was, and how in the end it was all good.
Thanks a ton for posting. It helps a LOT to hear that things worked out so well for you.
My spot is on the right side of my nose, about halfway down, and more toward the peak than my cheek, if that makes sense. The plastic surgeon mentioned that if small, it could probably just be stitched up, but if it's larger, either a skin flap or skin graft might be needed. A forehead flap terrifies me. I didn't think this would be that big of an ordeal.
How was your spot reconstructed? Did you have a skin flap or graft? How long did it take before you felt you looked presentable again?
I am scheduled to take the CPA exam just days after surgery (can't change the appointment now), and then I'm supposed to go back to work 6 days after the surgery. I hope I can manage.
Thanks again. I feel a lot of relief reading your post.
My bump was higher up, closer to the eye but not too too close... I did not have a skin graft or a flap, and mine was really quite deep! My stitches ran from the corner of my eye all the way down to the crease at the bottom of my nose. I did not go back to work until week 2, which is when I had the stitches removed. Week one I was quite swollen the first couple of days then it subsided a bit each day until the stitches came out on day 7. Honestly, I left the Dr.'s office after having the stitches taken out, put a bit of cover-up on and went out shopping for the day! Granted my nose was not "perfect", just a tad bit swollen but I really think only I picked up on it.
Now I will tell you that the day I had it done and left the office I had such a huge white gauge bandage on my nose that I couldn't even drive, BUT, I was not in pain and I was starving so my husband took me out to lunch! The next two days were the worst for the swelling, the entire left side of my face swelled, the Dr. told me it was because mine was close to my eye and those swell more. I have to be honest, I did not leave the house the first 3 days. After that, I just covered the stitches with some bandages and was able to go out, still not to work though. I was too embarrassed!
Another thing that really really helped with preventing scarring was to put polysporin on it ALL THE TIME!!! I think I applied it morning, noon and night! Once the stitches came out I continued to use Mederma for awhile under my make-up. If there were a way to post pics of how good it looks now I would, but unfortunetely I don't think I can do that.
Trust me, you will be offering kind words and advice to people coming up behind you that will be having Mohs. You will breeze through it. Go out and enjoy the rest of your summer and don't fret about surgery.
I had Mohs surgery on my nose, in the area you describe, two months ago. When I found out I had to have surgery, I was filled with anxiety and fear. But having done it, I must say it was not that bad. It's not pleasant, of course, but the truth is, I really was not in any pain. The worse thing was the pain-killer needle in the nose, but I put Lidocaine on my nose ahead of time, and it numbed me enough to not hurt that much. I took Valium (the doctor approved and prescribed it) during the surgery. The healing doesn't hurt either. I had a skin graft, so I had to have gauze on my nose. The graft took and I've taken really good care of the scar, and so far, it is healing really well. I put Vaseline on it consistently and after a month, the doctor said I could use silicone. I have noticed a great improvement and it seems to get better every day. It is not that noticeable, and it's only been two months. Now I cover it with tinted sunscreen and it almost disappears. I found that finding a bit of serenity helped me overcome this whole process. I approached the surgery with positivity, grateful to be rid of the cancer, because I didn't want to suffer so much from the anxiety and fear. I'm sending you best wishes and hope things go really well for you.
I'm happy to hear that your MOHS surgery went so well. Can you share more about your skin graft? Why was it decided to do a graft rather than a flap? Does the graft have the same coloration as the rest of your skin?
It's great to hear that it's almost disappeared after only two months. I was told to give it a year for total healing.
Compared to how my nose looked when I walked out of surgery to how it looks now, it is a thousand percent better. It's not even something people notice. This is not to say that it is completely healed. As you said, it takes a year to see how it is going to look, and the doctor said that before that it's too early to tell. I continue to put silicone on it and massaging it. I think it helps. Even though doing a graft was additional surgery, I think it was the best way for me. The graft took less area than doing a flap, which would have required more stitches, and the wound was not big enough that I would have needed a flap. The doctor took skin from my inner ear and while it is still healing, the color seems to match pretty well. The doctor said that if I wasn't satisfied after a year, he could do dermabrasion. I am happy to answer any questions you may have, and hope this information is helping you feel better.
I'm 39, and a fair-skinned, blue eyed, blond too. I had MOHS surgery on my forehead about 1 year ago for BCC. I cannot comment on the nose area, but for me the surgery went just fine. It wasn't the best day ever... but it wasn't as bad as I thought either. My Dr said my spot was kinda deep (had to go back twice). He showed me the final wound before he stitched me up and it looked like I had a gunshot in the head... about the diameter of a nickel and quite deep. Once I was stitched up I had a scar about 1 1/2 in. long... It was really swollen for several days, mostly due to the lidocaine they injected. It was sore, but after 3 or 4 days I could just cover it with a bandage. I also used polysporin on it for several weeks. Now, you can hardly see the scar unless I point it out.
I too am worried that at 39 I'm having BCC... knowing the damage that caused that particular spot probably caused other damage that hasn't shown up yet. The thought of having BCC putting me at a much greater risk of developing melanoma than the general public also worries me at times... but I'm dilegent now about checking my body over. I see the dermatologist twice a year... coming up on my 6 mo. check-up in a couple weeks actually and worried I have another BCC on my neck. Of course I won't know until it's biopsied, but it appears the same as the one on my forehead, so I'm a little concerned.
Good luck to you on your MOHS surgery. I'm sure it will go better than you expect. Sending prayers and healing vibes your way ~~~~~>
Thank you all for the very interesting posts. I had surgery on the side of my nose today for melanoma. It was quite painless and went well. They had to return to it about five times during the cutting. I have a bulky bandage on the nose which they will check on Monday. They hope it will heal from the inside out but if not, they will do some reconstructive surgery using material from the ear. I thought the "bump" that I had them check was from my eye glasses but they said that sometimes cancer will form under that type of thing. A biopsy confirmed that it was cancer. Stay positive, and I wish you all the best.