I had to have surgery this week to remove a skin cancer spot on my nose. Having gone through skin cancer a few other times, I naively thought it was going to be no big deal.
So, I went into the surgery center very low key. I couldn’t believe how many people were in the waiting room when I arrived for my 7:45 AM appointment, but since I was the youngest one there by a good 40 years or so, I am guessing this is normal. I don’t think my generation arrives quite as early for their appointments as those of older generations.
I started out really optimistic. The way this procedure works, is they take a circle of tissue out, then cover you with a bandage while you go to a special patient waiting area, then they look at it under a microscope, then if the margins are all clear, your done and can be stitched up. If not, they go in again and take another sample until you are margin free. My MA was super duper nice… the Pandora station they had playing in my room had music I liked… I felt like I was in good hands. She gave me my local anesthesia, which admittedly is painful, but I was ok. The procedure itself took only 10 min, then they cleaned me up, put on a temporary bandage and to the waiting room I went. The room was filled with many other people with huge white bandages…. we had our own little club as we sat watching the Today Show. What a novelty this is I thought. I never watch tv during the day. Ever. They were brewing coffee, I had free cookies, my phone, tv, and a book… I actually thought to myself, “this is going to be like a vacation day”
7 hours later I learned that ….
1. Twinkies are going back on the market
2. What the black smoke and white smoke signify ( I seriously thought my friend was having car trouble the other day when he posted about black smoke)
3. Daytime tv really goes down hill drastically after 10am. So much so in fact that they show clips from late night tv and play those popular videos you see circling on Facebook. And then after that, they really have nothing left to say.
4. Most people with skin cancer are over the age of 70.
I ended up spending 7 hrs in the surgery center yesterday. I knew that could take up to 4 hours. I honestly thought I’d be out in 2. hahaha…. so naïve I was. They had to go in 6 times to remove it all. tAfter the second trip, I texted Scott to say, “They think they got it all this time. “And after time number 4, my optimism was falling. I didn’t have the same MA (though all of them were nice) or the same nice Pandora station every time. (twice I had no music at all) I did learn my way around the maze of rooms though. I am convinced that even music I don’t care for is better than no music while having someone dig around in your face. I had told Scott I was fine, didn’t need him to miss work to sit in the waiting room… and didn’t need lunch as I wasn’t hungry. After time number 4 I called to say, “Ya know they said maybe I should let you bring me some lunch and he said, “I’m already on my way and almost there.” Seeing his face did my spirits a world of good. As we sat side by side watching Access Hollywood and eating our bagels, I felt so blessed.
After visit number 5 I was told I was the “case of the week”…. a title no one ever wants. By the time they finished, the Dr felt it would be best for me to see a plastic surgeon to reconstruct my nose. So I left with a huge marshmallow bandage on my face and an appointment for the following day to have yet another surgery.
Before going my 5 year old was quite nervous b/c she didn’t want me to look disgusting. “Mommy… what if I can’t bear to look at you?” So thankful that when you birth kids God gives you thick skin. I assured her that if I looked disgusting, I’d try to sit so she didn’t have to face me.
Today was part 2 and I am convinced ignorance is bliss. Because I was WAY more nervous going in to today that in I was yesterday. Because even though this is the “good kind of skin cancer” and they got it all and it doesn’t’ spread… what I failed to take into account before was, it’s still surgery and the worst part, I am awake for it all. So, even if I don’t feel much pain after they prick me 20 or so times to numb me up, you still feel stuff and it’s gross to think about and feels like an eternity. However, God was so good to me. My MA was super nice and caring. My Dr was funny and light hearted. It was a great combo. Talking to the Dr helped a lot. Which is crazy b/c I am a classic introvert who HATES small talk, but I’ll small talk like the best of them if it means it keeps my mind off of them cutting up my face.
Thankfully, my Dr was a football fan. Even though he was a Ravens fan, our rivalry gave us some common ground and gave me something to talk about while he worked on my face. During pre op he went to make marks on my face with a marker, he told me “Don’t worry this is just marker, and it’s purple so it’s Ravens colors which is great.” I responded, “Actually I’m a Steelers fan so be careful.” To which he said, “I’m the one with the knife, maybe you need to be careful.”
And I liked him instantly.
I am thankful for the team of doctors I had. They got rid of all the cancer and my nose doesn’t look nearly as mutilated as I feared it would. I have a nice line of stitches up the side of my nose and promise of a black eye and swelling to look forward to tomorrow…and the day after that…
Upon further reflection, I have decided that I will no longer consider surgery however minor it is supposed to be, to be a vacation day. Even if I don’t have to make dinner and I get to take a nap and read a book in the middle of the day… it is still a far cry from a vacation.