Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bad News, Good News

So after Christmas, I had a holiday hangover and was rubbing my head. I felt a bump on the top of my head. I have had several basal cell carcinomas, so at my scheduled dermatology visit, I asked my Dr. to look at it. He said he did not like the looks of it and took a biopsy and sent it to the lab. So a week later, BAD NEWS, he called and said it was a melanoma cancer.
When the nurses were getting my "history"-- I had spent my entire youth outside as we lived in Fresno, CA on a grape farm the made raisons. Sunscreen was not even invented, and I didn't wear a hat very much. I am also fair skinned (1/2 Danish) and my grandfather on my dad's side died of skin cancer. Also, there is cancer on my mother's side of the family. So I am pretty set-up to get skin cancer :<.
I was referred to a specialist, and on Feb. 13th they shot radioactive dye into the site, and did a cat-scan. They marked where the dye showed up- on my left neck and jaw. Then on Feb. 14th I went into surgery. They took out lymph nodes and the cancer site on top of my head. It was about the size of a deck of cards and 1/4 " deep! (Now you can honestly say I am a few cards short of a deck!) Didn't know you had that much skin and muscle on your head! Then I went in every week and they scrubbed the site to take off old scabbing and encourage growth. OUCH! Then about a month later, a patch of skin was taken of my front thigh and grafted to the top of my head. (John offered to donate a patch of skin off his back so that I would have hair on the spot!) When doing the surgery, a nerve was bruised/ damaged, so I have a lazy bottom lip on one side. It seems to be getting better, or I am getting used to it. Makes me look MEAN! John says I look like Steve McQueen! Thanks John!
GOOD NEWS-- all the pathology came back NO CANCER ! So we got it before it spread!
So the graft took and I am healing and feeling better everyday! Ruth called the other day and asked how I was feeling. I told her that I got tired easily and that I still had some aches and pains. She said "Mom! That's just because you are old!" So yes, I am old but feeling better every day. Thanks Ruth.
I feel really loved because everyone has been so kind and so concerned! Neighbors brought in meals for weeks after every operation! And everyone is so kind! I even get compliments on the hats that I wear! Thanks! B

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