Yesterday I had my post-op appointment with my plastic surgeon. I wasn't sure what to expect so I had lots of scenarios in my mind but none panned out. Before this is over, I'm almost sure I'll learn to quit guessing what's going to happen and just wait and see.
Yesterday the doctor looked at the incision and the flap repair and said, "We're very very lucky". I asked if he meant because he was able to do the flap as opposed to one of the skin graft options and he said, "yes, the graft from behind my ear probably wouldn't have worked". And I interrupted to say that I'd looked at some forehead to nose skin graft pictures on the internet and they were pretty horrible. Of course he wasn't too pleased that I was checking things out on the internet but he agreed, they were difficult to see.
So I was lucky - really lucky and I'm feeling pretty euphoric about it right now. Of course my cautious personality still reserves the chance that the flap repair could fail but I think that's just to be prepared - you know worst case scenario.
Right now it looks like it's supposed to. And that's awesome.
Ultimately I realize that skin cancer doesn't deserve the press and fear that other cancers warrant even if it's potentially disfiguring but it's still been a source of stress for me. One that I haven't given vent to because I'd feel guilty giving it so much more attention than it deserves.
And, it's not over yet. I have an appointment in two weeks and he already told me that we'll have to do another course of chemo cream.
Now, though, the stitches have been removed to minimize scarring and there are no steri strips because with the flap repair, that wasn't an option, so I have to be really careful. My nose is red and there are little scabs so it's hard to visualize what it will look like. I know that it will look different - at least to me. I can see that the shape has changed some which is okay with me - I wasn't in love with the way it was.
But the biggest change is in how I feel right now. I'm so grateful and so relieved and so ready to have all this behind me.
Skin cancer. If it's basal cell, it's not life threatening but the other skin cancers aren't quite as innocuous. And they all threaten the way you live your life and how you feel about yourself. It's nothing to mess around with.
So I have to reiterate again and again. Keep exercising and eating right but take care of your skin too. Remember your sunscreen has to have zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide and, when you can, stay out of the sun.