My former nose with the carcinoma at the end (see red crescent shape)
I had MOHS surgery which lasted seven hours performed to remove the tumor. MOHS is a careful procedure (with a 98% effectiveness rate) where you are totally awake throughout. They stuck about 7 shots in my nose to numb it. Then the dr. came in and started cutting a small circle/hole around the tumor. I did not feel anything, but was awake and quite aware of what was going on. Then they taped it up withe gauze and bandages and I went to the waiting room for 45 min to 1 hour. During this time, a dr. examined the tissue under a microscope to determine whether the tissue is cancerous. Then I was called back for the next round. Another round of shots in the nose to renumb. Another circle cut around the previous circle. I was taped up again and waited again. The dr. again examines the new tissue to see if there is any cancerous cells. If they find cells, you have to go in again for another round. And another. And another until my sample comes back clean. Each round takes about 1 hour. Because I had waited so long to get it removed - I had to go back four rounds. The dr. had to cut a circle that was about the size of my thumbnail and down to the cartilage in the front of my nose. She said it is not normally quite this extensive, but like I said, the tumor had been slowly growing for a long time.
After my sample came back clean, I went in for the reconstruction considering a hole the size of a nickel wouldn't heal effectively on my nose. This was, and will continue to be one of the most surreal experiences of my life. They completely renumbed my nose. Switched on the bright light. Laid the surgical scalpels and tools on my chest and proceeded to reconstruct my nose. As they were doing this, I felt blood running down my cheeks and they wiped it away. I heard the dr. snipping through my skin. I felt the tug and pull of the stitches - both sub dermal and above skin. I kept thinking - this is one of the most unique experiences somebody could ever have. - to be awake in surgery. In the end, I estimate I had about 26 shots in my nose and 10 sub dermal and 21 dermal stitches in my nose. They taped up my nose and sent me home. Luckily Jeremy had driven me up to Portland and had been hanging out with the kids around town and was there to pick me up afterwards.
Here are the after pictures:
The next day upon waking (thank heavens for pain pills):
A few days later (flesh colored surgical tape over stitches)
Stitches removed and sterastrips applied to scar.
First series of cosmetic corrections to scar. First up - VBeam laser. Felt like little rubberbands snapping on my skin as she concentrated it on the scar. It was supposed to help with the redness of the scar. This doesn't do much justice to the laser treatment as I have makeup on my nose.
Next up, I went in for a dermabrasion. And when I say dermABRASION, I mean abrasion. I had my nose shots to numb up the area, aka surgery day, and after it was nice and numb, she took a shaving instrument and literally sawed off all the bumps and ridges on the scar. The biggest ridges were at top of nose and tip of nose. It took about two weeks to heal.
A few weeks later I went in for another laser treatment. This time it was a Refractive Light laser used for treating acne scars. It didn't have the rubberband pinch - just a slight burning smell when she was doing it and then afterwards lots of redness and teeny tiny blisterlike things on my nose lasting for 10 days.
One month after all treatments ceased. This is without makeup - scar is starting to blend nicely with my skin. I still thought it looked rather visible and felt kind of discouraged by the results.
Same day - only with makeup on nose.
Now a month later - TODAY - six months after the surgery date. This is my nose au naturel (as evidenced by the dark circles under my eyes and blond eyelashes and brows - no makeup on this face).
Check out the results. I think it finally worked.
Aren't you glad I didn't have breast cancer? boy, that would have been a revealing post. :)
So there you have it kids. Wear sunscreen at all times. I purchased one from my esthestician that I wear over my everyday moisturizer and it feels wonderful. Also remember that all skin cancer does not come in the form of moles. It can come as bumps and pimple-like forms as well. People with darker skin have built in sunscreen and don't have to worry as much as us white whiteys with fair skin. It is worth the trip to the dr. to get anything checked out.