Friday, June 15, 2012

Zombie Chomp

Hello folks. It has been a while. The past few months have been maddeningly busy, but that is no excuse. There is so much to share, I don't even know where to begin. In the spirit of existentialism, I suppose I will begin with the present. The picture above is a shot of my bedside table on Wednesday. Tomato soup and grilled cheese are a combo to two choice comfort foods, that I yearn for when I feel vulnerable.  

After having skin cancer surgery, which left my face looking like a zombie chomped my sweet little button nose...lets just say I felt a bit wounded. Yup. The big C. I was told three weeks ago that I have two sites of skin cancer on my face. The first a squamous cell carcinoma on my nose, and the second a basal cell carcinoma on my upper cheek. This Wednesday, I had the former cut off through Mohs surgery. The process is simple. They cut your skin one layer at a time, freeze each layer, make a microscope slide, and look at it for cancer cells. If there is more they cut out another layer, until they get a slide that reads no cancer. 

A girlfriend recommended that I listen to a book on tape during the procedure.  There is a lot of waiting time in between cuts, and this idea seemed like the most brilliant distraction.  When I listen to music, my mind tends to wander off. I didn't want my mind wandering down any dark fearful tunnels. I wanted it safely enveloped in an engaging work of fiction, and as a high school English teacher I felt a certain obligation to read The Hunger Games...but just haven't wanted to dedicate the time. So I took this opportunity, and popped on my head phones as they began to carve and snip away at my face.

The cancer was deep. So deep that they could not sew my nose up with out leaving me disfigured. So they sent me home with a dime size hole in my face to tend to until my skin graft next Friday. They want the wound to "granulate in" so the skin graft will be level with my skin.  I prefer the word "granulate" in the context of sugar, and this new definition left me feeling queasy.

 I love gory horror flicks, but when a nurse tells you, "I want you to look at your face here so you don't have to worry.  This is what it is supposed to look like..." brace yourself. I glanced in the mirror, and then in total shock turned away in disgust. I took one more peek then demanded they take the mirror away. At the end of my nose was a hole the size of a dime. Like someone took an over-sized hole punch to my face.

"You let people go home with gaping holes in their bodies?" 

"All the time." Yikes. I told Chef, as we got into the car to go home, that I could not bear to look at my mangled face. He was going to have to change the bandages on my zombie nose. He tried to make me feel better by talking about all the fabulous hats I am now going to start collecting.

This brush with mortality has made me realize something. I am getting old. There is no more pussy footing around my health now that I am in my 30's. This was my first major health crisis as an adult, and I gotta do something to keep this from snowballing into a mid-life avalanche. 


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Bless your heart. Thank goodness for Grandma's tomato soup (I didn't go for the tomato and got chicken noodle) and grilled cheese. Heredity has its good and warm and soft side too.
My heart goes out to you, Nan.