Skin cancer

A place for people affected by any type of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

BCC - Surgery

Sharkey2007
Posted by

I am booked in for surgery on Monday for a BCC removal on my top lip and to he honest would like some reassurance. (If possible) 

I am a 44yr old man...pretty newly single after a long relationship and the thought of disfigurement fills me with dread moving forward. 
When I was first diagnosed back in May I was pretty calm..had already prepared myself for it and so when I then visited in August to see 'plastics' was delighted when he was very confident in just 'cutting it out' and then stitching it up. This was a huge lift to me as I really had expected to have to go through some form of plastic surgery/graft procedure. 

So I was booked in for late Sept and on the day turned up looking forward to getting rid of the Cancer. A different surgeon was to perform the operation...I had my face deadened...lines drawn on...he had scalpel in hand. Then...i could see apprehension in his eyes and asked what was up. He explained that to go ahead with this procedure would result in severe disfigurement due to the size and placement of the BCC. It was agreed to halt and to meet with a specialist to discuss options. (A kick in the balls at the time but for the best) 

So having met with 3 specialists who discussed all options (and taking pictures as I am now going to be a bit of a case study for future) I am booked in for Monday where they are going to bring a flap over from my cheek and also bring some of my gum round to rebuild my lip. (As an aside I now have developed a cold which I am trying to shift to enable the procedure to go ahead but that is another story) 

Anyway questions...

They seem confident this is the best procedure for me cosmetically...anybody with experience know how bad I should expect the result to be? 

Post op...how long before going back to work...i work in a builders merchants so obviously do get dirty/dusty but also am the kind of person that doesn't like swinging the lead and if I can be at work want to be. 

Eating/Drinking/Talking....how badly affected can I expect these to be? 

Sorry for the long post...any future ones will be shorter I promise 

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com

barbaral
Posted by

Today's the day Sharkey

Keeping my fingers firmly crossed that you'll do really well today and that you'll be back to being as handsome as ever in a few weeks time.

I'm sorry that I can't answer your specific questions but I'm responding the bump this one up the list so that people get a second chance to reply on those questions for you.

Best wishes

Barbara

“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

Sharkey2007
Posted by

Hi. Just a quick update. Really didn't go as planned. Had an extreme reaction to the anesthetic and went into anaphylatic shock and according to the anesthetist was pretty close to Cardiac arrest and was put into an induced coma for 24hours. 

Obviously my life became more important than the cancer very quickly so no operation. For now everything is on hold. Was released from hospital last night having checked no damage to my heart etc... for now I am just resting up and coming to terms with everything. Will fill in the gaps at some point. 

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com

Mackie
Posted by

Hey Sharkey2007,

Goodness was a terrible experience for you.. so glad that you are ok, recovering well and are back home.  I hope the docs come up with a plan for removing the cancer soon.


Best wishes


Mackie

JonathanD
Posted by

Hi Sharkey

I have sent you a private message. Let me know if you don't receive it.

Regards

Jonathan

Sharkey2007
Posted by

4 weeks after the aborted operation. Still very tired. But news just in...they are confident it was the muscle relaxant that caused the reaction and have booked me in for surgery this Monday 11th December. Weird feelings of excitement, relief and apprehension. 

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com

Fred4
Posted by

Best wishes for your procedure on Monday. You have certainly had a tough journey so far.  

I am just beginning my journey and am researching alternatives. At this point I am leaning towards MOHs microscopic surgery where the patient only has local anaesthetic and the surgeon cuts and examines the specimen as they remove the cancer. I have an infiltrative bcc on the tip of my nose so it has a high risk of recurrence and disfigurement so this process only removes what is necessary and is the least intrusive. 

My problem is I will have to travel over 1000kms as it is only done in the capital city.

I can certainly understand your mixed feelings. I have downloaded an app - Glenn Harrold which has helped with feelings of anxiety and given me breathing techniques to practise. 

Sharkey2007
Posted by

Thank you Fred for your good wishes. Mohs was discussed as an option for me. However as this is a relatively new procedure in the UK the waiting list meant I wouldn't be able to begin treatment for around 9 months and so the chances are my bcc would have grown further and negate the benefits as the area to clear would be larger...as I just want this thing off my face and having great confidence in the surgeons dealing with me I am confident long term that they will do a great job in keeping scarring to a minimum. Although I am ready for a long haul to get to that point. Good Luck with your procedures. I have started a blog to help get my feelings out there as far as anxiety etc goes and it is helping me greatly. 

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com

PuttinontheRitz
Posted by

Good luck Sharkey2007 hope all goes well on Monday (I had a short notice BCC removal last month and was grateful that I didn't have that long to think about it!)

I've had 5 BCCs removed from my face in the last year and can honestly say that the scars fade so quickly - even the one with an H flap.  Bio oil has worked wonders!

Someone said to me that scars are tattoos with more interesting stories - so something to talk about when you meet new people?  So far I have been attacked by a shark, a bengal tiger scratched my face and I had a crazy game of conkers - you can imagine the looks I get but it makes me smile :)

x

barbaral
Posted by

I have a 3 inch long scar at the base of my neck - two bouts of thyroid surgery for cancer - and it's very rare that anybody notices it and even rarer that they say anything.

I'm quite disappointed as I'm always keen to trot out a story of a knife attack (you should see the other guy!) or claim a Casualty 'emergency tracheostomy with a bic biro and a penknife'. 

I once told a diving instructor in Tobago that my Compeed blister plaster (that I was wearning because my fins rubbed) was the plastic surgery reconstruction after a shark bite. 

I also rate BioOil very highly - but recommend that even if you're covered in moles that might need to be removed, only buy the smallest bottle. I bought two big ones and didn't get more than an inch into either.

Best wishes

Barbara

“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

Sharkey2007
Posted by

Yeah I keep saying to myself the old (not PC) adage 'chicks dig scars'. And as my user name suggests my nickname is Sharkey. So many people ask why and I have trotted the 'bit by a shark' story out so many times I believe it myself (a scar from a car accident up my arm helps bring it to life). So it may be just more fuel for the fire! Thanks for the bio oil advice. I will definitely be getting involved in that.

My blog where I will be keeping track of my progress is here... I will be posting another chapter tonight theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com/

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com

Sharkey2007
Posted by

Thanks for the positive comments. Haha another Shark bite story...that is 3 of us so far! Cheers for the heads up on the Bio Oil I would hav3 definitely just gone as big as I could get. 

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com

barbaral
Posted by

That's a 'boy thing' Sharkey - bigger isn't always better and it isn't always cheaper either (if you don't use most of it).

I should say my sister couldn't use BioOil - it brought her out in a rash. So if you know anybody who has a half used bottle knocking about, see if you can scrounge a dab or two before you part with your dosh.

Best wishes

Barbara

“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

Coffeegal
Posted by

 Good luck tomorrow Sharkey!

Sharkey2007
Posted by

Thank you Coffeegal...Came down a day early as didn't want to risk it with the bad weather. So sat trying to chill in a hotel room with my big bro. 

https://theoveractivemindofmarkcurwen.wordpress.com