Let’s Talk: Skin Cancer
When I started my blog, it was more about fulfilling that creative outlet I have on a regular basis. It was never supposed to be too serious and never about my little fight with skin cancer and so this post a little different from what I usually write about. There’s no fancy tutorial. No pretty pictures of smiling faces at just the perfect angle. Lot’s of run on sentences, vulnerability and honesty. I’m always honest but this is a little different in the sense that I am not gonna sugar coat it. It’s been over a year but the experience is still a little raw. And sure… one could say I might be a little over dramatic and that’s totally fine – remember: my blog is called Riva La Diva not Riva La Calm. But it’s how I felt, it’s how I feel and this is my story…
I’m from Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve lived in sunny Southern Nevada my entire childhood. I grew up in the sun. I was a young child in the 80s and a teen in the 90s. I spent many weekends over the summer at the lake. I spent many weeks playing in the pool. Sometimes ALL DAY LONG. I played sports outside. I swam on a swim team that practiced indoors but traveled to the beautiful sunny California for swim meets that lasted all day long in the sun. I burned a lot as a kid but also tanned really quickly after. Sometimes, those first day sunburns turned into a beautiful tan the next day. I’m also Hispanic. So needless to say, Skin Cancer was not on my radar. It only happened to the whitest of white people, old people, or people with a family history, right?
After I got married, started a family and wised up a little, I wore sunscreen a lot more. If I was going to be outside I was wearing the stuff. We were living just outside of Los Angeles when I spotted this strange pot hole looking scar in my nose from an old zit I had in the fall of 2014 – maybe November? When January of 2015 came along, I noticed this scar was still not completely gone – it was not healing. Was the air super dry that winter? Was the skin care products I was using at the time too harsh and not letting it heal? I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. Maybe it was skin cancer…? Maybe not. Maybe it was my paranoia getting the best out of me. So I found a scar ointment to help heal this pothole thing in my nose.
Months passed. The pot hole seemed to somewhat patched up… I guess… maybe..? The hole was gone, but, oh gosh, the scar was THERE. Around the same time, my husband had a job offer to work for Microsoft. My focus was now on moving away from a city and home that I loved to Seattle, Washington. I joked often with my SoCal friends and family that being cold, pale, and consistently wet will be my new reality. In a way, I was right. I have been there for 2 years now, I am still always cold, mostly wet, and generally pale. But you know what I noticed? There was also a big pay off for living in the Pacific Northwest – everyone has beautiful skin. It’s practically ageless. No sun spots or fine lines for women my age. I had skin envy for my 50 year old women friends! Everyone had beautiful skin which made me focus on my skin once again after I settled in to my new area. I invested in a new exfoliator that received great reviews and upped my skin regimen. When I started exfoliating my skin in the mornings, something strange happened…. this super teeny, tiny little pore on the edge of my little, old pot hole scar started to bleed. Was I exfoliating too hard? It was weird. Back to my ointment. But after it healed, rubbing my nose or washing my face with a hand towel would also make it bleed a little. Also weird. Another thought entered my mind…. is it getting bigger? Were the tiny bleeding pore holes making the scar bigger? What the heck is going on?
To be honest, I was kinda afraid to get it checked out. Cancer scares the crap out of me. I had a young friend die of cancer (not skin cancer) a few years previously… it rocked my mental world; for a while I thought every bruise and bump was cancer. The anxiety I was experiencing with my friend passing away, selling a home, moving, making new friends and now settling into a new environment was throwing me off. It was March of 2016 when I finally decided to get my scar checked out. But it came in way that I am most grateful for because I think I would have panicked if it happened any other way….
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day and not to go full religion on you, but that specific month at church seemed, to me, to be all about personal trials during talks and lessons. I teach the young women (14-15) in my church and it was like all the assigned lessons were about trials. One Sunday, I remember a missionary standing up and giving a talk about his brother… he shared an experience where the younger brother could not use his legs for some reason and the reatment to get better was very painful. When the brother mentioned this to his nurse, she responded “I know it hurts and it’s very hard, but it’s not too hard”. I’m not sure why that resonated with me that specific Sunday but it did and it still does. I thought about those words often the next day, I remember driving home from my kid’s school, looking in the rear view mirror, and this very calm thought entered my mind, “go get your nosed checked out”. I think if I didn’t receive that very firm and yet calm prompting, free of paranoia, I would have never made the appointment. Needless to say, I called my doctor as soon as I got home.
That week, my family doctor referred me to a dermatologist who took a biopsy out of my nose that same day. When I had my biopsy, I was super freaked. The nurse I had was named, Stephanie. I love Stephanie. I remember her looking me in the eyes and said, “your doctor is one of the best in the valley. He will get this out.” There was peace in that bold statement.
And a week later the test results arrived…
I had Basal Cell Carcinoma on my nose.
The thought of having cancer freaked me out. Cancer is a scary word, What if it spread? What if it was all over ther place? Needless to say, I made the soonest available appointment to have that thing removed with MOHs treatment. It would be 2 weeks after my biopsy and the day after Easter when I went in for treatment. They kinda prepare you for the worst… prepare to be there all day for your appointment…. Have someone there with you… You will be exhausted afterwards… You might need a skin graft…. yada, yada, yada. I showed up bright and early Monday morning with my husband and I was scared and calm all at the same time. It was weird. Those thoughts of “it hurts and it’s hard but it’s not too hard” kept replaying in my mind.
Now, if you ever get skin cancer make sure they do MOHs. It’s awesome because they can take very little skin away until they get all the cancer out – there is no guess work and they can remove it all. The part that sucks the most? You are awake for the whole thing! We didn’t know how deep it was or how wide it was and so the process starts with them marking a circle around this funny looking scar on my nose. Then they covered my face with a small sheet that had a hole in the middle for my nose to fit through. Numbed my nose in 2-4 different spots with a needle and started cutting skin away with this small knife looking thing (according to my husband). Then they remove the sheet, covered my nose with gauze and said, “Hold this here. We are going to get the removed skin tested to see if we got it all and will return in 30 minutes”.
The morning of March 28, 2015 – day of surgery.
The nurse (I lucked out and had Stephanie again) returns 30 minutes later with semi-good news… The margins were not clear. There was still cancer along the edges BUT it was not deep. They would not have to cut deeper than what they started with – hooray for that!!
And so the process begins again, numb, cut, test, repeat.
Each time Stephanie returned to my room with bad news and my heart sunk lower and lower. HOW MUCH nose would they continue to cut off my face. For years, I had never loved the shape of my nose and now I was wishing I gave it a little more love. When the nurse returned to my room on the fifth time, I didn’t want to hear the bad news. I closed my eyes, put my head back in my chair and said “just numb it already and let’s get this over with!” But this time was different! Stephanie says, “look at my face Riva, I am smiling, we got it all out!” That was the sweetest sentence!
Next up? They need to repair the hole in my face. Bad news? I needed a skin graft. If you haven’t noticed yet, your skin around your nostril does not wrinkle very well, so they needed to get skin from a different location… that location was right in front of my ear. So they move me into a surgical room, still awake friends, prepped both areas – the donor site and my nose, and the process of obtaining a skin graft begins! That was kiiinda not fun. They numb the area but unfortunately, they do not numb the sound. The sound of flesh cutting is the worst, it was my personal torure. I tried to distract myself with church hymns, stories, scripture verses – NO LUCK. However, an extra hard long division problem definitely helped! I am crying, my husband is crying and I can hear my doctor telling me how lucky I was to keep my nostril because it came REALLY CLOSE. They cut the graft down to match the size of my new pot hole, shave the excess skin from underneath, soaked the skin piece in some antibiotic and patched me up. The man should be a sewist, those stitches were small and perfect. Then they bandage you up, give you prescriptions to fill, directions for after surgery care and send you on your way.
When I left that day my biggest worry was: will there be a scar? YES. What if the donor does not attach? To which my doctor replied, don’t touch it, do not bend over, do not lift and do not exercise. This was so hard because I have 4 small kiddos at home. Additionally, I could not exercise for TWO MONTHS. That was even harder. Exercising was my stress relief and so was junk food. They usually balance each other out and now it did not… needless to say, I am still burning away the 20 extra pounds I gained last year… gah!!!
I walked around with bandages on my face looking like this for 10 days…
Then they remove the bandages, applied lot’s of Vaseline to the site for scar prevention, slaps a band-aid on top and then my doctor proceeds to give new care instructions… “Don’t rub it. You can get it wet but the water has to gently run down. Gently pat to dry. Any questions?” My mind was blank… then they tell you to come back in 4 weeks. Questions didn’t come until after I saw my nose for the first time later than evening…
The next day is always better. Two days after is even nicer.
2 Days after the removed the bandages, April 6th:
I uncontrollably cried when I say my nose for the first time. I felt like a monster. I felt extremely ugly.
It scared my kiddos. Then thoughts started to rush into my mind….
is this healing right?
it is supposed to look like this?
what’s that smell?
what’s all that white stuff?
oh crap, my baby just bumped into my nose, will the graft not attach?
I am ugly, what will my husband say?
what if it comes back?
I babied the CRAP out of my nose before my follow up appointment. Then I did something stupid… I googled “skin grafts”. I needed to figure out what was “normal” as far as healing. Images of half noses removed and ears cut off are images my nightmares are made up of. Since that was so scary, I ventured on to Pinterest. Sweet Pinterest. Nothing ugly ever appears on there. Just crafts, recipes, fashion, home decor, and pretty things show up there… right? NOPE. Skin grafts were kinda scary, too. I have a weak stomach for all things medical… the moment I saw a hip replacement surgery in high school was the minute that I discovered I never want to be a doctor. I was dying to find something helpful. I just wanted to find someone who was experiencing what I was going through. That’s when my bestfriend told me about the blog, Mel’s Kitchen, she had a similar experience and documented it on her blog. I loved it, it gave me hope. But she didn’t have a skin graft and she was only a few month post op. I needed MORE INFO and I hjad no source. I felt alone, so, I called the nurse every week trying to figure out what was normal and what was not.
April 15th, with Vaseline (green circle) and without.
It looked more or less like this until my 4 week post op visit:
Four weeks’s passed and I made it to my 4 week check up. This would be the appointment to find out if my skin graft attached. They mostly do and my graft was looking goood. The weird smell was coming from the dead skin healing from my nose. My doctor rubbed it all off which was so weird because I was so careful not to touch it and then he said continue to use vaseline until it was completely healed and return in 2 months! Then a few more times throughout the year…
4 Week post-op visit. My good looking skin graft ATTACHED. Happy day, April 26th.
No makeup on scar but the little bit of mascara I had smeared from happy skin graft healing tears.
2 months post-op with my hubby, no makeup on scar.
I am lucky to be married to a man that constantly builds me up:
11 months post-op with makeup and in PARIS:
13 months post-op, with makeup. Some days the scar is more noticeable than others and most of the time I don’t notice it anymore. Best part? I can have a say about where I want to stand in a photo – I have a skin graft scar and you can count on me pulling the “let me get my good side” as often as I possibly can! At my one year check up, I was told there were no visible signs of skin cancer! YAY! (BUT the possibility is always 50%):
Quick Sun Cancer Facts
Over a year has passed and I publicly tell my friends to wear sunscreen on Facebook ALL THE TIME. So let me tell you what I share with my friends….
- Wear sunscreen, if not for yourself then put it on your children. Slather the stuff all over them. EWG.org is a great place to find healthy sunscreen choices because not all suncreens are made equally – ZINC is the magical ingredient you want to use. It totally sucks to wear but they are coming up with some amazing zinc that’s a little more sheer, expect to spend more time blending it in.
- Skin Cancer does not discriminate. I had Basal Cell Carcinoma and that particular one loves alll skin colors, black, white, brown, yellow, green, orange, purple, blue, whatever, it loves everyone.
- UV Rays bounce. Just because you are sitting in the shade or wearing a hat does not mean you are protected. THEY ARE RAYS. They bounce of the floor onto you your face. Wear sunscreen.
- Clothing is also a great protector against harmful rays, if I am spending a lot of time outdoors, I will wear a long white shirt.
- You can get skin cancer on your eyes – wear UV protected sunglasses.
- ReAPPLY sunscreen. Most of us have smart phones – set a timer to remindyou to reapply your sunscreen.
- Buy bottles of sunscreen and put it everywhere.
For the rest of my life, no matter how many times my skin cancer comes back, I have a 50% chance of getting it again. I have to wear sunscreen everyday for the rest of my life, even if I do not leave my house and I have to wear gloves to protect my hands because my windows are not UV protected. Lame but my new reality…
What I wish I knew
- It’s okay to worry about that cancer spot on your face. It’s not vain, YOU ARE NOT VAIN. Dang it, you have cancer slowing trying to kill you and it started ON YOUR FACE. Don’t you dare feel guilty about that, you already have enough on your plate.
- It’s going to heal. Not fast but it’s gets better with time, I promise. Be patient.
- TRY every zinc-based sunscreen and find which one you love the best. I have my some favorites but not 100% committed to – I am always on the look out. Remember use ZINC.
- You are not a failure of a human being because you got cancer.
- People are ignorant, you were, too – DO NOT SWEAT IT.
- Makeup is a life saver, the new skin care line I am using is amazing, and the things they can do cosmetically at your dermatologist is AWESOME! If you look closely, there is small dent still in my nose. My doctor says they can put a little filler in there to fix it – hopefully with time, my doctor thinks it will resolve on it’s own.
- Surround yourself with good friends, family and loved ones – ignore the rest.
- People will say stupid stuff, I got a couple of “that’s what you get for living in California”… just ignore them. Sometimes, people are really stupid.
- YOU ARE NOT UGLY.
- Do not be ashamed – I’m not sure why I feel that way. But I did.
- You will not always be afraid of the sun. It gets better, promise.
Hopefully, this will give some people reasons to take better care of their skin or children’s skin and for those experiencing the same thing, I hope this is a little helpful?
Thank you for your brave vulnerability. I am so glad that the cancer is gone and you are beautiful still. There is so much value in your telling of your story. I grew up much like you and know that I will probably face the same issues. I now protect my kids like crazy. Thanks again!
Laura, THANK YOU for your kind words. Yes, protect your babies. xoxo
Riva, I also had a basal cell on my cheek. It was a little round circle the color of a pencil eraser. I also thought is was something trying to heel. I finally got into my dermatologist for my annual review. He took one look and said you have a basal cell carcinoma. That is the one to get if you have to get it. It is slow growing. I had Mohs also, but my cheek was pretty soft and they could pull the skin together and stitch. I was told to rub it like crazy after a few days to remove scar tissue. The opposite of a graft. And, they only made 3 trips back into the area which made me totally in fear, but 5 for you? Ugh! So g lad you are OK. I still want to photo you for the fit book. I decided to finish writing first. But let’s see how you are early fall and if you are still up to it. Take care. Pati Palmer
Eye opening, terrifying, hope giving and VERY educational! Thank you for sharing. When God needs you to hear a message….He won’t leave it alone until you finally listen. I am so happy that you came through victoriously Riva ❤️. You are a blessing.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I had basal cell carcinoma form in a chicken pox scar on my forehead when I was 37. I grew up in So. Cal and burned often, was always outside and my parents have had skin cancer but were a lot older than I was. I too, took over a year or two to finally go to the dermatologist because I was so scared it might actually be something. I ended up having MOHS surgery after the initial biopsy showed in had spread. It was pretty traumatic for me when they closed up my forehead and for a few years I had a bump where the top and bottom of the scar had been closed. I recently went to a new dermatologist who was able to lengthen my scar and take out the bumps and it seems to be healing quite well. Skin cancer is such a scary thing. I am seeing that more and more of young people in their 30’s and early 40’s having it. I am always telling my friends to get that spot checked and I recently noticed a spot change on my husband and it was pre-melanoma. If you have questions, have it checked!! Thank you so much for sharing your story as it helps remind me that people really do understand how scary of a trial this can be.
Riva! Thank you so, so much for posting all the pics and details! I love you forever!! And thank you for sharing your feelings too- i still just want to cry about it most days but I know I won’t feel like that forever. It’s hard but not too hard, right?! XOXO, love you girl!
Thank you for sharing your story! I’m an oncology nurse in the Willamette valley, and we get skin cancer here, too. Your scar looks terrific! I wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t point it out.
Thank you for sharing your story. I just want to give you a big hug! I have learned a little more about skin cancer by reading your post and will keep the information in mind for prevention. I am so glad you have recovered. I am Hispanic too and sometimes take liberties because I think my skin can take the sun much more than a very fair white person. You have proven that not to be the case. Everyone must take precautions! You are still very beautiful (inside and out). All the best…
[…] you want to read a couple other stories, check out Mel’s and Riva’s posts – they have so much great info! They really helped me decide to go in and get my spot […]
In July I had MOHS for squamous cell carcinoma on the top of my head…Lovely. Happy to be healed but it will take some time for the bristles on the top of my head where they had to cut my hair to grow back…
Hello Zanna, so glad you are on the mend! I had a friend that had one on the top of her head and needed a scalp reconstruction to close the site – no fun. I never knew that you could get it on your scalp! ugh, this skin cancer thing sucks. Fingers crossed it’s just the one spot. xo
I’m having a scare right now, so I googled “nose cancer images” and found this post. Thank you for it; it gives so many details and that helps me to know what to expect. The photos and timelines are especially helpful. I’m going to make an appointment straight away, and the go out and buy some zinc sunscreen (I’m a pale blond but never liked using anything even remotely greasy on my face, so hopefully there’s a formula that doesn’t gross me out too much.) How long were you off work?
Not too long, at least 2 weeks because of the skin graft. I am sooooo happy you found this helpful, that means so much to me!!
Please stay safe and covered! Thanks Lisa xoxo
This was such an interesting and eye opening read. I appreciate you sharing it!!!
love your site. Cant wait to create something beautiful using one of your tutorials!
You are gorg! AND BRAVE!
Tammy my dear, thank you for your comment. This is such a delicate topic for me and I truly appreciate your comment! Thank you for taking the time to read something so personal and dear to me – I want to share this as much as I can. xoxoxo
What a beautiful testimonial, I was glue. I found your blog by googling red spot on nose because I have one that has shown up and I’m afraid. This blog post has given me more courage thanI had before I read it. I’m going to the doctor asap. I just got a new job and medical coverage, so I hope this doesn’t turn out for the worst. I fear my job will fire me
if I have caancer becausee I’m a month new and I’ll be left without coverage. I just don’t know. But I sure don’t want to die, so her I go….
Go see a doctor first and make a game plan. I had a friend that waited 3 months to do her treatment, hopefully that will give you more time with your job! Good Luck Annette, hoping you get a solution and answers soon! xo
Thank you for your post. I have a spot on my nose that has been there probably for a year or so and will
Not heal. It is on the side of my nose and nostril. I kept picking at it as it would start peeling and that bothered me. After reading your post I am more scared as I do not know what the outcome will be I hope it is not much but I know my nose will swell when I get a cold and blow and wipe my nose often so I don’t think it will be a good visit. I have never been to this doctor before it she is a female and I have heard good things about her. I am not sure what treatment you had and suggested as I have never heard of that. Please explain if you can.
I had MOHs treatment, it’s very very precise! It is scary but you got this!! xoxo
Thank you for sharing your story. I go in for MOHs Surgery on 1/30. I relate in a lot of ways to your story. I am 35, married and with 4 kids. My spot is also on my nose so reading your blog has really helped mentally prepare me. I will most likely refer back to your blog a few times throughout this process. Thank you again for sharing!!
I will be thinking about you tomorrow Aimee! Praying that everything goes well tomorrow!! *hugs*
I was just diagnosed with bcc on my nose. I go for a skin graft in roughly 4 days. My cancer was so small that I couldn’t even see it my doctor said that it looks like the beginnings of basal cell carcinoma and confirmed my fears once he biopsied it. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I have been so afraid this whole time waiting.Sharing your journey has actually made me feel better thank you so much!
This means so much to me thank you for reaching out Jessica!! xoxoxo
Your post has been so very helpful and hope giving. Thank you! I had my bcc diagnosed and removed in November. Like you I had it on my nose and I also needed a skin graft. So much thinking and worrying you go through. And how alone you can feel with it all. The photos of your healing have helped me a lot with my own healing process. To see how the skin graft looks after two months, three months and so on. Things are starting to look a bit brighter now already. Sending love your way all the way from Finland 💛🌻 – Asta
Your post and the photos you’ve shared have helped me a lot with my own healing process. My bcc was diagnosed and removed in November. Like you I had it on my nose and I also needed a skin graft. So much thinking and worrying you go through. Would have been nice to talk to someone who’s experienced the same. When I needed encouragement I read your post. So you’ve been there for me – well sort of. Thank you, Riva! Sending love your way all the way from Finland. ❤🌻 Asta
Oh my gosh, THANK YOU ASTA <3 Please continue to take care of your self and stay healthy! Sending you virtual hugs xoxox
I found your post one week after having Mohs to remove a bcc spot on my nose. I’m a 41 year old single mom of 3 living in Ohio and was shocked when I found out that I had bcc because I use sunscreen on my face every day and have no family history of skin cancer! It was incredibly helpful and comforting to read about your journey. It’s now been 6 weeks since my surgery and I still come back to your post for reassurance. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. xoxo
Thanks for your comment Jen, please let me know how are you feeling after all these months? xo Hope your recovery has been smooth! xoxo
Thankyou so much Riva for posting your experience & photos. I am week 3 from the same operation in the same spot & it is so comforting to see your pics as I am always worrying that my graft is progressing normally as this whole experience had been truly nerve wracking with not really knowing what to expect!
YES!!!! I know that feeling so well, I’m sooo happy to help and hope your recovery is a smooth recovery with each passing month!! It took a while for me to not notice my scar. Thank you so much for your comment Julia. xoxo
Hi Riva, thanks so much for sharing your story. I had Moh’s surgery and a skin graft on the tip of my nose on May 20th. The healing process is so slow….but I’m really glad to see you had a good experience. It makes me hopeful. Definitely having a lot of feelings like I’ll never look like myself again. I’m jealous that you have a “good side” since unfortunately it’s not an option for me, being front and center.
I’ve noticed a lot of redness around my graft, but the plastic surgeon thinks it’s fine thus far. I have rosacea so I’m hoping it’s just that.
My graft is also rather spongy looking and whitish compared to my surrounding skin, like it’s dead. I keep asking the plastic surgeon if it’s normal but it looks so weird! I’m supposed to not let it dry out. I was told the whole top layer would eventually slough off.
I wondered if you would be willing to share what products you are using? My dermatologist friend recommended Neutrogena ultra sheer spf 70 sunscreen which has been pretty good for day to day, but it has no physical sun block like zinc. A friend of mine is a Chanel salesperson and recommended their CC cream which is SPF 50 and looks amazing on, has zinc and titanium in it, and is matched to my skin tone. It’s a bit pricey (full disclosure I’m not much of makeup wearer) but seems like it will last awhile. Much better thank the chalky Elta MD tinted SPF, though that’s not bad either. I also started using Alpha Ret, Alastin nectar, and Lumiere eye cream and I’m loving the results, but boy is this so pricey! I have never been so high maintenance! But given the state of my nose I’ll take some pampering!
Thanks again, I appreciate your pictures as well, it’s good to have a sense of what to expect.
Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I agree it can add up and get so pricey! I started using a sunscreen from the brand, DRMTLGY. Bioessence is nice. I’m always looking for sunscreens! LOL So sorry this comment is coming so late, maybe you have better recommendations by now. 😉 please share if you do! 💗
I’ve been referring to your blog Thru my entire ordeal. Right on tip of my nose. Everything seemed so similar to your blog. Except mine is healing dark like a scab from being cauterized perhaps….? yours healed such a nice light pink. But wow, the donor site ear was very sore. I hope mine heals nearly as nice as yours did. I feel mine looks awful and will probably have a piece of flesh colored tape covering for for a long long time.
Thanks for your blog, it’s been really reassuring; all of it.
It’s been 6+ months since your comment, I hope you are healing and feeling more and more like your self. Thank you Missy.
Went through the same process with my right ear and now feat I may have in on my nose. A little nervous.
I always get nervous, too, with every spot. I really hope everything is okay.
When I discovered this site last night I was so relieved since your four week photo of your skin graft looks almost exactly like mine. I was worried because mine feels rubbery and is slightly brown/shiny. Looks like yours did! I don’t see the doctor again for another ten days so this is reassuring. Thank you so much for sharing about your skin cancer and helping to be a little vulnerable in order to educate and help others. I’m so glad that things have worked out for you. Yes, you do always fear the return of cancer. And, yes, your emotions run the gamut during the treatments fearing what you will look like, will it return, etc.
Nancy, I hope you are healing! I’m so glad this is helpful and relatable. Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot.
Just had a shave biopsy done on the side of my nose after having gone through pretty awful Mohs surgery back in January, and stumbled across this post when looking for info on potential alternative treatment options in the event this biopsy comes back positive, too.
It’s amazing how similar this whole story is to my initial skin cancer experience – from pimple to non-healing scar, to “wait, is this getting bigger?”, to a little bit of concerning bleeding, to finally going to the doctor. Unfortunately for me, it took almost a year to get a positive diagnosis, which meant almost another year the cancer had to grow, and finding out it was the aggressive infiltrative type of BCC to boot. Mohs produced a 2.5” scar running down my right cheek, nestled as close to my nose and mouth as possible in an attempt to reorient the scar (doing so made it longer but better hidden) so it would run vertically within my smile line.
It’s been 5 long months, including a rough initial healing period and now 6 laser treatments with 2 different kinds of lasers. And now I might have it again in a different spot before this one even had a chance to fully heal and fade. It sucks.
But reading this and knowing others have gone through a similar journey, really helps. I’m trying to stay positive and will face it head (or face, quite literally) on again if I have to.
Idk if you still read these comments, but just wanted to thank you for writing this, and hope you’re still doing well.
Sean, I really hope they got everything and that you are healing. Please stay positive. Thank you for your comment.
Thank you for posting this in such detail with all the photos. You have no idea how helpful this has been to my own MOHs healing journey. My surgery was in the exact same spot and I couldn’t find any other materials online that didn’t show me horrifying imagery. This post has been really influential in helping me keep a positive outlook over the past month. Hope you’re still doing well!
Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so glad this was helpful.