Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gross pictures.. and LAGOON!

The picture with the blue stitches was taken 7 days after forehead surgery (May 21) with suchers.
Then, another picture was taken 15 days after, without. YUM! The skin graft was still healing.
May 23rd Surgery on my neck (by my ear) and clavicle went great! Jaren was even able to come home from Vegas for it! The wounds are healing soo well and look really good, even though they said that it looks the worse after 1 week. The doc did about 12-14 inside stitches on each one, and zero outside stitches! Instead, he used liquid skin which is basically super glue, to avoid scarring.
Right after my second surgery was over, I mentioned to Dr. P that I saw another (yes, that makes four) suspicious spot on my back. I showed my mom earlier that day, and she also thought it just was a red dot, but that I should clear it by the doctor. Better safe than sorry. I noticed that it itched, and would bleed very easily, just like the other 3 Basal Cell spots on my body. The dermatologist told me that it if WAS Basal, then it was the world's smallest, but he highly doubted it. He saw my worry, and quickly made the decision to just perform MOHS on it right away and not put me through another week waiting on a biopsy. I agreed and he started up the local, cut it out, and took it away to be examined.Sure enough - results came back cancerous.
...Ha! I am a officially a Basal Cell Carcinoma expert! :) It took all I had to not shout "YESS! I'm getting good at this!" I didn't cry this time. If I have to live with this for the rest of my life, I need to know what to expect and exactly how to spot it. I actually was proud, haha. Dr. P was really surprised at the results and said it was a very small amount of cancer, and actually had to take out just a smidge more. Then he stitched me up (only about 5-6) and I was sent home. Also, another spot I'm almost positive was caused from indoor tanning. I didn't get any pictures of the middle of my back today, because my body doesn't bend that way! I miss Jaren, haha.
Man, these 3 surgeries combined were SOo much easier than the forehead! And now, cancer-free with no more surgeries scheduled, I'm doing soo well! Here some more pics! Plus my eyebrows have evened out very nicely. Wahoo! Thank you, Botox. :) These nice clean pics of my scars were taken 6 days after surgery, and I think they look pretty good!
Sooo there's more to our lives than skin cancer! Here's some other updates :)Lagoon!
For memorial day, we went to Lagoon with the Nelson's for one last "hoo-raw!" before Jentch leaves on his mission to Osorno, Chile on June 20. We're gonna miss that guy! It was soo fun, and I loved the Wicked ride. My motto is that I'll give anything a try once - those nelson's can ride the pirate ship over and over again! Maybe I'm getting old ;) Our great fam would even re-arrange just to let us newlyweds sit together on the rides. We can only be away from each other for so long..
Only SOME of us got sUper sick... ;) Poor Cameron. He barfed on a little kid ride, the Flying Aces. And I laughed. I still feel really bad. I couldn't help it!!! Little carrot and licorice chunks right in front of the long line of anxious kids waiting for their turn... We LOVE makin memories, right, Cam?

Monday, May 21, 2012

7 months of BLISS

Gross. Sorry, mom.
Surgery was exactly 1 week ago - one of the longest I can remember! We had no idea the severity of this surgery and the lasting effects it would have on my skin, head, and face.  Today, they removed the stitches, and injected a little dose of Botox under my RIGHT eyelid to attempt to even things out. It takes up to two weeks before I'll see any results, but if you see me walking around looking "alarmed" you'll know what's up! (my eyebrow.. hah) My scalp is still lifeless because of the face-lift procedure they performed when they snipped most of my nerves along my hairline. It feels really weird to wash/do my thick hair when the top of my head is so sensitive. The good news is that I WILL get the feeling back in my scalp, but no one knows when. It could take a month or two, or it could take a year.
We also got more bad news today. They found two more spots of Basal Cell on my chest/neck, and on the side of my neck. That means more surgery this Thursday. I'm almost positive those are from tanning in the tanning bed (I usually covered my face with a towel), but the doc still says that this is caused mostly from genetics.
It was hard hearing the news! As I was sitting in the waiting room, looking around at the 75+ year olds with tiny bandages on their bald, exposed heads, I couldn't help but feel sorry for myself. A young 24-year-old does not belong here! My skin is stark white! Why did I end up 3 different cases of skin cancer? I'm tired of being laid up from surgery when I'm used to being at a job that a I love, a calling that I adore, and workout classes that I tolerate (wish I could say I loved! haha) I'm not used to taking so many pain killers and antibiotics and asking for so much help.
However, once again, I'm reminded how grateful I am that this can be treated! I'm also reminded of ALL the many people who love and care for me and have been praying for me just to get feeling better!  My wonderful mom even offered to drive to provo just to stay with me because I was lonely. Thanks to friends and family, and a husband who is worthy to give me priesthood blessings of healing and comfort before he had to go back to work in Vegas. He is absolutely, simply, the best.
It's our 7th Month Anniversary, so he sent flowers to me at work! How cute is that, miss him tons. He's selling pest control this summer, but will be home this weekend. He is doing awesome, and I'm so proud of him. Wahoo!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Skin Cancer

Well.. here I am! Just sitting at home with a huge bandage on my forehead. Just got home from surgery at the dermatologist's office. Here's the story...
A couple of weeks ago, after a lot of urging from family, I went in to have a little spot checked on my forehead. It was red, with little raised bumps and looked like a mix between acne and a scar. I first noticed it in high school, and since my hair covered it, and never hurt, I ignored it.
Hard to see, right? After a biopsy, the results came back as Basal Cell Carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancer. It is usually found in older patients; many of them are sea sailors from the WWII! People who have had a lot of sun. Since I'm so young, the doctor contributes my cancer to mostly genetics, but of course, also to sun exposure. I'm also a perfect candidate because I have red hair and such fair skin.Today, the doctor did a procedure known as MOHS Surgery to remove the cancer. They take off a piece of the cancer, then look at it under a microscope to see if they've removed it all. If not, they take more, and then the patient leaves cancer-free! Easy enough, right? 
Not really! Since the forehead skin is so tight, they had to do a facelift-like procedure to attempt to keep my eyebrows symmetrical! The doc pulled my skin tight and left me with a "quizzical" look. Jaren thought it was pretty funny! Luckily, my skin should pull back down, but if not, I'll have to get some botox in my OTHER eyebrow so i don't look so goofy... why would ANYone ever want a facelift!? (ask me in a few years and maybe I'll understand).
60 stitches later, I was finally sent home with some antibiotics and a few painkillers. But I'm good! and cancer-free. Thank goodness for a husband who likes blood and surgeries. He was such a trooper and probably liked watching the procedure a little TOO much.. The doctor was great and let Jaren stand right next to us. They were all laughing and telling hilarious jokes the whole time - I didn't get any of them and was just trying NOT to pass out. Thanks, babe :)
Here's some pictures before the dressings were put on. Bad lighting + stupid expression = picture of a dead person at the morgue. Woops! Jaren made me smile on some of them, but I wasn't happy.
It looks a lot worse than it is, I promise! haha. The bumps are from 15 cc's of local anesthetic, and will go away. I will probably get skin cancer again throughout my lifetime, but now I know what I'm looking for! I'm just happy it's gone and curable.