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Gonna be benched for a week....Cancer procedure...UPDATE..Stitches are out!!

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  • #21
    I am glad that you are home.

    Make certain that your sunscreen is rated high for UVA and UVB. I got mine from www.coolibar.com . It is called Vanicream. Coolibar has great sun protective clothing, too.

    I just wish that I had listened to my folks, both of whom had issues with the sun and warned me against it. Those of us with fair skin, freckles and red hair just do not have a chance.

    If you are young and reading this, please do yourself a huge favor and pay attention to this thread. You will never regret having done so!

    Emily,

    I hope that you heal soon. How long before the stitches come out?
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #22
      Good Morning!!

      I don't have a black eye today after all!! But I look remarkably like a basset hound. Big droop of fluid filled skin sagging over my left eye. Very attractive let me tell ya!! Yes I know it will go away...I woke up in a positive mood.

      The stitches come out next monday.

      I am already putting ice packs on this thing in an attempt to help lessen all the swelling and fluid.

      My flight today is at 3 and I am set to get to the airport by about 1. Did my check in online and believe me I am ready for the change of scenery. I will probably get some looks at the airport, and I did think of wearing some type of bandana, scarf or headress but then thought better of it. TSA might be a little too keen to watch me at that point, then how the heck would I steal an extra bag of peanuts???!!!

      I have tons of high UVA UVB sunscreen, I did start listening after the beginnings of this were noted a while ago. I have lots of check ups scheduled with the dermatologist starting early in 2009. They are gonna watch me like a hawk and make sure if there are ever any other 'blips' of cancer that we catch them earlier and get them when they're small.

      Yes the story suggestions for this one are pouring in. I myself liked the idea of getting into a fight with a larger woman at Macy's over the last cashmere sweater, and she, in a fit of xmas shopping rage, takes off her high heel and clubs me with it. Then another friend came up with the idea of a gang initiation scar, and another suggested that I put the wrong studs in on my horse and he ended up giving me a permanent reminder. My friends are all sick sick people....and I love them for it!!!

      Thanks to everyone for all the kind words and I wholeheartedly agree with Auburn, pay attention to this thread!!! This is serious stuff, I was lucky that my cancer was the good kind, it can easily be the bad kind. And just think how many hundreds/thousands of dollars a month we put into our horses, and do we remember to spend $6 a month for a bottle of good sunscreen to protect ourselves??????

      All those lessons, entries, and vet work won't do much if you aren't healthy enough to ride.

      Take this seriously, and please consider buying sunscreen for yourself and at least 1 good friend. It could save a life.

      ~Emily
      "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

      Comment


      • #23
        Have a great Christmas Emily-the-basset-hound!
        You'll be looking and feeling like yourself soon and in the meantime enjoy the vacation

        Comment


        • #24
          Hope you'll have a safe flight through the snowstorms. I had a melanoma taken off my arm 3 summers ago, and they neglected to mention that the 1 cm margin around the mole they were removing was in 3 dimensions, not 2 -- so they basically took a mini-melon ball out of my arm, then had to draw the skin together in a long line to close it up again. I have a 4" scar on my forearm and still have a bit of a divot, all for a mole no bigger than the tip of a sharpie. I'm actually amazed at how well it healed and people don't seem to notice it. Anyway, it sounds like they took a lot more care in stitching up your head and you'll probably be surprised at how quickly it heals. I love the story about the Christmas shopper whacking you with her high heel!

          Comment


          • #25
            I had a melanoma taken off my arm 3 summers ago, and they neglected to mention that the 1 cm margin around the mole they were removing was in 3 dimensions, not 2 -- so they basically took a mini-melon ball out of my arm, then had to draw the skin together in a long line to close it up again. I have a 4" scar on my forearm and still have a bit of a divot, all for a mole no bigger than the tip of a sharpie.
            Hey- do you have my arm??? I had the same surgery done in July. Ended up with a slightly jagged 4 inch long scar. Melon-baller is right. Impressive scar, but its starting to finally fade a little bit, so hopefully will be less noticeable as time goes by. I have a divot as well, but its from the surgeon removing fat in order to have enough room to close the stitches. I also have what appears to be a permanent lump on one end from a hematoma. So very lumpy and bumpy and a scar that's not as narrow as the plastic surgeon would have wished for. But at least I finally feel like I fit in here in Los Angeles now that I've had plastic surgery and lipo.

            A good story is essential. Right after surgery I was going with knife fight in a bar. After I did the Alcatraz swim in September, I've been going with shark attack.

            DEFINITELY wear sunscreen! The upper inside of my forearm seemed like an odd spot to have melanoma, but I wonder now if it was from riding- my arm is tilted just right when I hold the reins for that little mole to have been sunning itself. Who knows, but I was lucky enough to have a dermatologist that was ultra-cautious and took off a mole that he didn't even think was cancerous. Go every year and get a full-body skin cancer check. Riders spend way too much time in the sun, even with the most diligent sunscreen application.

            Xctrygirl- Hope you heal quickly and that you don't have any further problems.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #26
              Ok day 3 has come and with it a completely swollen shut left eye! Ugh. Safe to say its a good thing I am not riding, I couldn't find a distance right now if it hit me, well, in the eye!

              Mom is loving on me, the bandage get changed today and we get to see how the skin and stitches are doing.

              Cookie baking starts this afternoon and I am freaking out that I haven't had time to get her stocking stuffers. Maybe tonight.

              I miss Lad. I love to be near my ponies during the holidays, but he is now 2000 miles away. I know he's well taken care of. Just hope he doesn't decide this week to tear off the 3rd blanket of the year.

              Hope you all are doing well. I might take some pics of the stitches and post 'em later.

              ~Emily
              "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                Pictures!

                http://s103.photobucket.com/albums/m...%20and%20Head/

                Enjoy these as you like.

                I may actually end up looking like Harry Potter!!

                ~Emily
                "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                Comment


                • #28
                  Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

                  I have a few "spots" I really need to get looked at, but I've been putting it off for several years. They look "just" like the "bad" mole pictures you see in magazine articles, but I'm procrastinating... I guess I'm scared, I don't like being on the receiving end of medical care (I work IN emergency medicine, but that just makes it worse!), and I feel/look fine, so it's easy to put off. Anyone care to talk me through what to expect when I finally go, how to pick a good dr, etc? I know it's OT, but my ponies would appreciate someone helping mommy take care of herself... the spoiled 8yo TB knows if anything happened to me, he'd have to get a job!! (PT's welcome if you'd prefer! Thanks!!)

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Wow! That is an interesting shape to your MOHS procedure. You will definitely need to protect that area from your riding helmet for quite awhile.

                    By the way, for those of you who are now interested in protecting your skin, Coolibar is having a 30% off sale of everything on their website. Go to www.coolibar.com . The coupon code is WINTER. Now, would be a great time to get everything that you will need during show season. Hopefully, I will see alot more hats like mine, when I am out walking my courses next year!
                    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Hope you feel better soon. I had the same procedure a few years ago and looked like a creature from Star Trek for a week. Ice was my friend. The scar is still visable and always will be but I rarely even notice anymore. For many months, I put a large bandaid over my forehead when I was outside as the plastic surgeon who stitched me up told me to protect the scar from the sun to prevent it from discoloring. He also told me it would blend in with my wrinkles over time...nice..... When my procedure was done, the Dr. had to cut a nerve out so even today there is a spot on my forehead that I do not feel. My coworkers told me "Cool, you can crush beercans on your forehead". Again....nice. Another coworker told me "It's not like you are a model or anything" when I commented on my concern at having a scar. Well at least I developed some "character".

                      Take care.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Oh Cloud Walk, I would have just CRIED if someone said that to me...how hurtful...oh my! Don't scare dear Emily! She sounds good so far!
                        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Cloud walk....

                          It's so funny you said that. I told my doctor, a nice 33 yr old woman, I am 37; to make sure I can back to my modeling career. She laughed. I then had to explain how at one point in life I had been a dress model at Bridal shows. She kind of cringed right when the hole in the paper had gapped enough for me to be able to see her face. For the next 5 mins I kept saying "What??? I was a model.....Now put humpty dumpty back together again" She laughed.

                          I too had a nerve hit....imagine that, over 12 lidocaine shots and somehow a nerve got hit! Gee....DUH. I bet I can crush a beer can on that part of my head.....but why would I???

                          Don't worry, she isn't scaring me. What Cloud walk and I know now is that we're sisters. She has walked that 1/4 mile in my shoes, and I hers. We both "get it" with regards to surviving this teeny tiny form of cancer. It just changes you. I could care less about my scar b/c I know the other possible outcomes aren't nearly as character building as my new "Harriet Potter" scar.

                          Come and get me Voldemort.....I'll kick your butt.

                          (Swear I am not on any more meds...I am just this goofy)

                          ~Emily
                          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Jingles for everyone dealing with this type of cancer. My oldest brother has had several places removed from his back of the past several years. Yeah he is still good looking AND he still knows it.

                            It is something most all of us aged sun worshippers and horse folks will have to deal with. I pray to have the same positive attitude as shown in this thread.
                            "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                            Courtesy my cousin Tim

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              And if you have ANY questionable spots GO GET CHECKED. I've had a few removed (as have just about every member of my family). And do have a couple of scars....none on the face though. But it is what killed my Grandpa (he put off getting checked and it spread). It is a nasty cancer if it get's that far but an EXTREMELY easy one to treat if caught earlier enough. Most of the time, removing the spots is not a big deal at all. On the face...that is clearly more complicated.....but still much much better than dealing with the alternative.

                              Take time and heal!
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                When I first was told I had basal cell, it was very disturbing as I did not know anyone who had had the diagnosis and/or MOHS procedure. After researching the topic, I soon realized how lucky I was. The "side effects" of the treatment (puffy face, etc) do not last long and although I was somewhat sensitive about my face for a few months, it healed quickly. I have always been the type of person where harsh comments hurt my soul, but for some reason when people made those goof ball comments to me, I was amused. Hey, maybe I am finally growing up.

                                A few years ago, I had a C-section. I kept thinking what a piece of cake it was healing from that surgery compared to the MOHS procedure. (The MOHS procedure did not hurt but the days after did - maybe because it was on the forehead and not a great place for swelling).

                                Lauren - do get checked. Any dermatologist (preferably board certified) can remove any suspect spots. It takes less than fifteen minutes for the entire visit and the lidocaine burns for just a few seconds. No matter what type of cancer, it is always better to catch it early.

                                Emily, you have a great sense of humor.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Emily, from your posts and descriptive words like "unicorn" forehead and your mention of shaving into your hairline, I was prepared for something really gruesome, but your pix weren't bad at all.

                                  Now, I know it's incredibly painful and will need to be taken very good care of, I'm just referring to the, shall we say, aesthetics of the situation -- and you don't look bad at all right now, and it can only get better from here!
                                  If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    For the person with spots they're concerned about: you can also start with your GP, family practice or internal med doc. They can look at the spots, do the biopsy and send it out, and then refer you to whoever comes next. In my case, it was the university hospital (referral center for my HMO) and I could then choose to follow up with their skin cancer group or work with my own HMO. Sometimes getting a referral and an appointment with derm takes longer than getting in to see your own family practice person, and at least in my experience, once you get the referral from the gatekeeper everything else goes a lot faster. My yearly skin checks are with my own HMO's dermatologist.

                                    If you have spots that look like the pictures on those little cards in the waiting room, go now to get them checked. I can't imagine how big the margin would be if it was a more advanced stage than mine was... and if it's a melanoma there's also the possibility of metasteses (sp?) which would suck even more.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by betsyk View Post
                                      For the person with spots they're concerned about: you can also start with your GP, family practice or internal med doc. They can look at the spots, do the biopsy and send it out, and then refer you to whoever comes next. In my case, it was the university hospital (referral center for my HMO) and I could then choose to follow up with their skin cancer group or work with my own HMO. Sometimes getting a referral and an appointment with derm takes longer than getting in to see your own family practice person, and at least in my experience, once you get the referral from the gatekeeper everything else goes a lot faster. My yearly skin checks are with my own HMO's dermatologist.

                                      If you have spots that look like the pictures on those little cards in the waiting room, go now to get them checked. I can't imagine how big the margin would be if it was a more advanced stage than mine was... and if it's a melanoma there's also the possibility of metasteses (sp?) which would suck even more.
                                      Thanks everyone, that's good advice, and I appreciate the moral support... I'll make an appt. after the new year Anyone want to ride my horse so I can take a day off to get this taken care of?? (Not entirely kidding... he's up on giveaways as a free or half lease! LOL)

                                      Asking the GP doctor would be a good idea, if I had one I DID ask my OB/GYN a few years back, and she said they looked OK to her, but I should see a Dermatologist if I was worried not so helpful, but it's really my fault I never took it any farther. All the docs I work with are Emergency Medicine guys and gals, so they aren't much help for these things ("Ewww Lauren, you should get that looked at!" LOL).

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        Ok Lauren.... this is not hard...

                                        You find a phone book, find a dermatologist or a GP and CALL them!!

                                        Seriously better to get it checked sooner. This one I just got removed has been a longtime resident of my forehead space. It was because of this that they had to really hack me up once it was removed.

                                        (It had been frozen twice before, and noted since 2005)

                                        Please do not put it off.

                                        To everyone else.... I got my stitches out!!!!!!!!! Yippee. All looking good, just have to have a band aid on the one little unstitched part til it heals. Cleared to ride and will be up on the horses tomorrow. (1 set)

                                        Thanks for all the support!!

                                        ~Emily
                                        "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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