Face in the Crowd

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Quite the day today. Lesson for the day – find a good dermatologist. I don’t know if things would have been any different if I had gone in earlier. This thing on my nose started out like a pimple so it was pretty big to begin with. Well it is all cut out now and they had to rotate some skin to cover the spot where the cancer was. So my nose is stitched up and looks pretty horrible.

From what I’ve read, basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and it rarely spreads to other places. But, left unchecked, it can grow and move into bone and other tissue so it needs to be removed. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the doctor after but the process was to cut out the bad stuff (along with a border of good stuff). Then it went to the pathologist to make sure that they got it all. If not, more cutting was needed. Since I was out, I have no idea if I required multiple iterations. The process has about a 95% success rate. So, hopefully, it is gone for good.

The surgical process was interesting. The last time I had any type of in patient surgery was when I had my tonsils out. I’m not counting the removal of my wisdom teeth since I was in the dentist’s chair for that. They kept asking for my name and date of birth. I guess they need multiple layers of confirmation that they’ve got the right person. My wife and I were joking about that while waiting because you’d sure hate to end up getting the wrong surgery.

The doctor came in briefly and put an “x” to mark the spot. Guess he didn’t want to mess up and cut the other side of my nose. I mean you could see it was there so that shouldn’t have been an issue but if you want to put an “x” on my nose, knock yourself out.

Also had to meet the anesthesiologist and sign a piece of paper saying I authorized him to put me under. There was that little bit of hesitation when they started doing my history and asking if anyone in my family had ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia (like ending up on a respirator). And then they asked if I have a living will (yes). While you know the risk is small, it still runs through my head how much it would suck to go in for a simple procedure and never come back out. That’s when you start to weigh the odds – do I really need to have this done. I know they have to do all of this for liability reasons but it wasn’t very comforting.

And I had that wonderful gown that is wide open in the back. The nurse tied it loosely because I suck at reaching around my back to tie something. I had a bathrobe that she tossed over my shoulders like a cape so I gave it a little extra flourish. Then I kind of thought it would be cool to wear a cape all the time.

I get in and they put me on the bed which is heated and a little too hot for me. I got hooked up with all the wires and monitors and other crap and the anesthesiologist started his work. The doc was listening to Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne which I thought was cool. I was going to compliment him on his musical taste but whatever they gave me, it worked really fast and I was basically there one minute and gone the next.

Oh, and because my mind does sometimes work in strange ways, when the put the IV port in, I kind of flashed back to when we had to have Dolly put to sleep because they did the same thing. (I did take a pain pill earlier so my stream of conscious stuff may be a little weird – you’ve been warned)

But I woke up in recovery with things still attached to me. I was there for a bit and then they moved me back to my little room so I could sit up for a bit and change back into my clothes. Was a little foggy but nothing else really.

Supposedly, I’m not allowed to drive for 24 hours. Guess that stuff could have lingering effects. But this is the “you can’t tell me what do” part of me coming through. I’ve got physical therapy scheduled for tomorrow morning and I’m still going. Unless I wake up and just feel totally crappy. Also need to have my knee looked at. If I had known a little more about the surgery, I might not have scheduled things the day after but what’s done is done.

In addition to having the hideous slash on the side of my nose, I’m getting some swelling and bruising under my eye. I’m not sure why because he didn’t mention that as a possibility. I think because they had to manipulate skin to cover up the gap created when they took the thing off, that it ended up doing some damage. That didn’t show up until tonight.

So I look like a mess. Which is really great when you are self conscious to begin with. If I had a surgical mask, I’d cover my nose and just pretend like I’m trying to avoid catching a cold. People would still stare but they wouldn’t see how messed up I am. Again, I should focus on the big picture and the fact that they cut out something that needed to go and I didn’t end up in some kind of coma. All good outcomes. But my face is so messed up! I’m not sure about dancing tomorrow. I’m guessing nobody in the studio would care but I would.

Well, you may be wondering why I’m telling you all this. Turns out I wanted to tell someone. In my family, we tend to be very private and were raised to be independent. So I didn’t want to tell Dad last weekend because I know he’d worry. And if I told one of the siblings, it might have gotten back to Dad and then he’d worry. I tell nobody and it is just another day on the ranch. I will probably fess up at some point.

In the end, it seems like everything went well. I go back in a week to get the stitches out. Hopefully, I can clean up the area and make it a little more presentable. And I guess I’ll have to start using more sunscreen on my nose (not now of course)

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