Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Zippity Doo Dah

Note: a bit of medical information and a photo not for the squeamish. You have been warned!

Yesterday, Herself underwent Mohs surgery to remove the basal cell carcinoma from her right temple. She was surprisingly at ease with the idea of the procedure beforehand:  she knew she would be awake and that no IV would be required; she likes the doctor and his staff very much; and once it was over, she would be essentially 'cured' of that spot.  All good things.

The procedure went exactly as she expected. There was no pain beyond injection of the initial numbing agent.  The sensation of cutting was a bit icky, and the sensation of tugging and manipulation necessary to close the surgical site was, in truth, rather a lot unpleasant.  And then it was done.

As the doctor handed her the mirror, he explained that the gap had been nearly an inch square, but that because Herself has beautiful skin for closing -- elastic and movable -- the hole had been closed nicely, with enough skin to make a slightly raised closure that would smooth out well over time without pulling.  (Herself was vaguely amused at being told that her skin was beautiful for something; her skin has always been temperamental and difficult and has never received a compliment before.)  Because of the location, she should expect some bruising and swelling of her eyelid, as if she's been punched in the eye, that could last for a few weeks.

Herself was a bit taken aback at the length of the closure; it seems nearly two inches.  It looks a bit like a zipper because of the sixteen dark sutures.  She's at peace with it, knowing that in time it will not look quite so Frankenstein-monster-y, but is a bit concerned about horrifying/repelling other people.  The site will look far better after the sutures are removed and any bruising and swelling dissipates.

In the evening as the numbing agent wore off, Herself was shocked at the degree of pain.  She's normally fairly stoic and has hardly ever used anything stronger than ibuprofen even post-surgically before.  This time, though, she filled her prescription for acetaminophen and hydrocodone willingly and took a dose as soon as possible.  Ah, a bit of relief.  Dulling of the pain helped to diminish the unexpected flashbacks she was having to the unpleasant sensations of the surgery, too.  Shudder.

This morning, it still hurts, but not as much as yesterday.  Swelling and bruising has begun, but is not too bad as of yet.  She's a little worried about removing the pressure bandage to wash and rebandage the site, but what needs to be done will be done.

This is her thirteenth scar.  It is the third largest, and the first visible to the public. But it is OK. In time, all shall be well.

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