Thursday, June 6, 2013

JUNE 6, 2013

Work has been insanely busy (as has cycling training this spring), so my latest round has been neglected for sure.  Short version is 2 more surgeries and another round of Efudex on my neck this spring has me going from being pissed off to just being resigned.  This is a "forever" something and I'm just incorporating it into my life like haircuts.  Not really that casually, but I'm trying to be extremely accepting.

So, the longer version.

Since I work 7days/wk for a couple months each winter, my "normal" has been to have my derm checkup, usually late February and did that again.  They ask if there's anything in particular concerning me and, as usual....yes, these 2 particular spots for sure.  Both malignant.  Both requiring surgery.  Since the surgeries March 2012 took me a year to pay off, I begged my doctor to do them herself, which she reluctantly agreed to.  

#1 spot - Top of my forehead above my left eye.  Started as just a teeny dark spot that looked like I poked myself with a needle, but nothing on the outside of the skin.  Remained just a small dark spot, but it was definitely different!  Since I can wear bangs, I was fine with the scarring she predicted.  About 3 months later and I'm pleased with the results.

#2 spot - My left shoulder blade.  This one turned into a booger.  I'd already tried treating it on my own with Efudex a couple times.  Both times it would fester, even bleed during treatment, but never reallllly go away.  She said I could try 8weeks of Efudex treatment if I wanted to, but it's a pain in the butt, so I asked her to cut it out to.....especially since I'd already tried Efudex and I didn't want to deal with another surgery later.  Do it and get it over with. This one was quite a bit larger and so the scar's a little uglier.   But again, I'm 50 years old and live an active life, a shoulder scar is pretty acceptable right now.

#3 Efudex - Had a  small little pink spot show up on my jawline about the middle/end of this April.  Since I had a 765 mile bicycle event I'd been training for this spring, I chose to wait til it was completed and started treating it May 5.  I was SHOCKED!  The teeny little spot on my jawline turned into the entire right side of my neck.  Areas several inches away from the treatment were reacting!  But I also had a scuba + bicycle vacation planned end of May, so I chose to limit the treatment to the 20 days and will do my entire neck this fall.  

All in all, I'm tired of continuing to find these things, but I'm also glad to find them sooner than later.  Our insurance changed at work last year, so my cost was a LOT higher for the 2 in-office surgeries, which disappoints me, but my doctor is working with me to pay it out over the next 6 months or so, so at least I don't have to rob savings.

Still choosing to keep living at 100%  Just finished diving in Key Largo and Key West for a few days, then went to Boston to ride bikes for a few days.  I'm certainly diligent about sunscreen, but oooooooh, it's hard sometimes!!  I see these lovely, tan ladies and I wish I didn't......but I still think "brown fat's better than white fat!"  I told a black girlfriend of mine that and she just howled...and then agreed :)  The fake tan stuff comes right off the minute you're in the ocean for a while, so no point in that.  Ah

My encouragement to you continues to be WATCH YOURSELF!  Do not rely exclusively on your doctor.  They're human and they can screw up.  It is YOUR responsibility.  You know your body better than anyone.  Be diligent.  You don't have to freak out or be scared of everything, but you do have to keep both eyes open.  I truly believe the spot on my forehead would've been missed by anyone but me.  I knew it wasn't there one day, then it was there the next.  And it never went away.  

Hope my travels through this can motivate you to keep an eye on yourself.  Ain't nobody else going to! Be safe and have fun on the way :)  I'll add some pix shortly.