Thursday, November 01, 2012

Ow. And more waiting.

Spraying a jet of liquid nitrogen on the back of your hand stings a bit. That's good, though, because then it doesn't come as a surprise when they spray it on your cheekbone, right below your right eye.

"Seven seconds, it takes seven seconds. Let me know if you need a break..."

"I'm... good..." I gritted through clenched teeth, between mewling noises.

Then came the spot on my upper lip, just under my right nostril. You have a lot of nerves in your upper lip. That hurt like a sonofabitch. I've fallen asleep while a dentist was drilling on my teeth and that squirt of liquid nitrogen on my lip was the longest seven seconds I've experienced where I wasn't actively engaged in falling off a motorcycle.

It rendered the next blast, just under my left eye, positively anticlimactic by comparison.

I wandered out to the waiting room in a freezer-burned semi-daze. Brigid, who earned my undying gratitude by taking a day off work to hold my hand, asked how I was doing. I couldn't rightly say, because I wasn't done; next came the biopsy.

If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, I can give a hearty disrecommendation to anything involving getting lidocaine needles stuck in your snout. They proceeded to scrape at the side of my nose to get material (read: my skin, which I use to keep the blood in) for the biopsy. My nose then did like noses do and bled like a fountain, requiring some extensive time spent with the electrocautery needle in an area that guaranteed a good view of the sparks and hearty whiffs of burning skin.

And...?

And...?

And now I get to wait "as much as a week or two" for the results from pathology. (The words I kept hearing were "basal cell"...)

Meanwhile, I have a bandaid on the side of my schnozz which I am under orders to not peek under 'til this afternoon. Given my general reluctance to look at my own blood, I asked if we could maybe give it another month or two, but no, the boo-boo must be washed. Joy.

99 comments:

Carteach said...

For what little they help.... my thoughts will be with you. If I could carry some of the bad for you, I would.

Scott said...

What he said and let me know if you need more kittens.

docjim505 said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Some of us have been through that before - and some of us a few times - and understand completely.

You have good friends, and a pile of sympathetic & empathetic strangers who are all wishing you the best. We'd all send chocolate & hugs if we could.

The waiting for me was the worst part. I hope it is good news for you.

Kirkster said...

Also keeping my fingers crossed for you. My best buddy's wife is going through kemp right now. Not fun..

doubletrouble said...

Let's hope for the best!
Best wishes from here.

Robert said...

You're a tough lady Tam. Hang in there.

Yrro said...

So what I want to know is, why do they not give you novocaine *before* shooting you with the liquid pain hose? Getting my foot nitrogen sprayed was easily one of the most painful things I've ever done. I think they gave me a handful of ibuprofen beforehand.

Hope it heals up nice and turns out to be nothing serious.

Tango Juliet said...

Hang in there Tam! Keep that frozen upper lip stiff!

Anonymous said...

Prayers sent, Keep a stiff upper lip and all that.

Chris said...

Good luck with all that. Fingers have been crossed.

Jay G said...

Still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Tam. Here's hoping it's nothing to worry about, and I'll make some "official" chatter to The Big Boss on Sunday, too.

Being "less than 100%" sucks. Here's hoping you're back to kicking ass and taking names in short order.

Anonymous said...

Tam,

I just had Mohs surgery two months ago for a Basal cell carcinoma smack dab on the outside of my nostril. As cancers go, a BCC is quite common and not the same immediate danger as a melanoma. If it comes back positive for a BCC and you opt for the Mohs where the doc sort of pecks away at it little by little, the procedure and the recovery is really more of a mild PITA than a life-altering thing.

If you're getting at it early, there won't be much digging involved and they can close you up with a couple stitches and just a tiny scar. In my dumbass case, I waited until the roots had spread out and the doc had to take a thumbnail-sized divot which had to be closed with a graft from my jawline lest I end up sporting the Half-Waxman look. It looked a little ugly for a while, but it's healing and looking better every day. I'll be back to not scaring children and small animals any more than I used to very soon.

Xman

Comrade Misfit said...

Sending my best thoughts and wishes your way.

Anonymous said...

Yeh, when they did my biopsey the stuck a VERY large (1/8in) needle in my right vagus nerve. No local. That only hurt 1/10th as much as the first 4 surgerys. IF you have cancer (and I hope you don't) You got a very long road ahead. MORPHINE GOOD. Find your rock, hold on tight. This is the scarryest thing you will ever do,And you CAN do it. If the worst come and you need Anything holler for hillbilly we'll help any way we can.

Borepatch said...

Ow. Me, I'd be at the medicinal Bourbon.

Fingers crossed.

Fred G said...

Yes that liquid nitrogen does sting. Just had my annual skin check and zap festival with the dermatologist last week. Nine nitrogen zaps on the face and scalp and three moles removed from my back for biopsy--all benign. One of the added benefits of being of Norwegian heritage and growing up under the blazing Texas sun-not! Fortunately most skin cancer is slow growing and very slow to spread. I have had two basel cell and one squamous cell carcinoma cut out of my temple and forehead area and once they get it all that is it except for the healing. No chemo no radiation. So hang in there! Hopefully they got it all and you will just be left with a small blemish that you will forget about in time. But, do go to the dermatologist annualy for a skin check. The sun damage is done when you are young and starts showing up as you get older--its the gift that keeps on giving.

Fred G

Justin said...

I'm glad you have friends like Brigid.

Boat Guy said...

Prayers inbound. The "medicinal bourbon" might not be a bad idea either. Glad Brigid was there...

phlegmfatale said...

You are young and we live in an age of amazing medicine. I love you dearly and know I'm not alone in that, so I hope you are comforted by the support of your friends. I dropped a little change in your paypal account in case it's needed, but I'm hoping you're buying yourself a very speckial IPA with it to celebrate in a week or two. If the worst happens, every spare dime I have is yours, okay? Again: you are loved.

Matt G said...

^^^^^^^
Well said. Just hit repeat on all points.

Aaron said...

Hang in there.

I give you a lot of credit for facing it and doing something about it rather than going into denial and hoping it will go away on its own.

Good luck, and here's to continued hoping that it's a lot of discomfort suffered for something that turns out to be nothing serious.

ToddG said...

There's a line about "comforting, not comfortable" that would fit the scenario well.

Cliche or not, the waiting really is the hardest part. Everyone wants you to be positive because, hey, they want to be positive. No point moping around when it could just be an ingrown snark cell, right? But fwiw, what worked for me was smiling for everyone else while working up a plan in my own head for what I'd do if things came back bad. That way, when the day came and the docs said "no worries," hooray, it was a bonus. When the docs said, "sorry, bad news," I had already gone through it all in my head and was perfectly calm about it. At that point, it's far better to focus on solutions. With modern medical care, solutions are usually pretty awesome.

Firehand said...

Dad had a basal cell carcinoma removed from under his left eye about a year ago: short procedure, and he's still clean. That form is one of the most treatable/curable forms known, so if that's it, feel relief.

I know, but I'm hoping it helps some

Scott said...

Good Luck and endeavour to persevere. Been there and have the T-shirt, as do every blood relative. Tis the weakness of being Scoth-Irish and living in the South.

Anonymous said...

hang in there!

Joseph said...

Good thoughts your way my friend. I'm hopeful that this is the worst of it.

Anonymous said...

Dear St. Jimmy Durante, patron saint of noses, please protect and heal the proboscises of our dear friend Tam.

Amen


Gerry

Brian G. Heyer said...

May the Lord be with you.

BobG said...

Hang in there, lady. Our best wishes go out to you.
Might be time to make up a hot toddy for medicinal purposes.

global village idiot said...

I read what Brigid and you did before the appointment. Going to a meat market like that is the grown-up version of a sucker for being such a brave patient.

Just one question - do they have kiszka?

Hope it all works out well for you.

gvi

rickn8or said...

Late to the party AGAIN. All the good stuff said. I'll just go with what Ancient Woodsman said.

Hang in there and be grumpy if you want.

sobriant74 said...

Being a pale faced irish I've been through this myself twice (waiting for the test results I mean) and I am dearly glad I had my wife to lean on. Hang on to B and RX and SB and all the gang and even though its nearly impossible, try not to think about it until the results come back. Stay busy. Wish I had something useful to say.

Frank W. James said...

You are NOT alone. We're praying for a good outcome and the very best for you. I don't stop by as often but you're still the queen of snark and everyone wants you well.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Frank W. James said...

You are NOT alone. We're praying for a good outcome and the very best for you. I don't stop by as often but you're still the queen of snark and everyone wants you well.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Will from Bama said...

Tam,

If it is indeed basal cell, take comfort from the fact that this type of skin cancer is highly - I mean HIGHLY - treatable. My Dad had several of those cut away over the years, beginning in his sixties. And he lived to his late eighties! (Note: the skin issues were not related to why he passed away, either.)

So I hope to be reading this blog several decades from now. :-)

Chas Clifton said...

Stay strong. The odds are in your favor. And what Frank James said.

MeatAxe said...

Hang in there, Tam. We're all pulling for you.

Don said...

Double and re-double what everyone's saying. Apparently, a good number of us are Scots-Irish or Scandihoovian. Be careful to get checked regularly.

NAVIGATOR said...

MAY YOU GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH!

NotClauswitz said...

For other fun things to do that *might* prep you for round-two, try plucking nose-hairs one by one with a tweezer. Good luck.

JohninMd(help!) said...

What Farmer Frank said. 3 times. O:-) Hope Brigid took yer heater befor you went in back, shootin' teh Doc is SO bad form! My son's girlfriend got "exploratoried" this morning, cervical cancer in her case. +1 on the "medicinal Jack Daniels", I prescribe 2 fingers. THOSE 2 fingers ( index finger of 1 fist, atop other fist w/ pinkie extended), in a small washtub. I'll join you from here. Stay strong.

Crotalus said...

"basal cell" are far better words than "malignant melanoma". At least you have that in your favor.

velcro8ball said...

Reading what you write I can't help but laugh, knowing what you are going through I can only offer prayers. Bless you.

Steve Skubinna said...

The good news is that skin cancer (if that's what this is) is easy to treat and takes a long period of being very obtuse (like ignoring growing holes in your face) to become really threatening. The bad news is, there's no such thing as a cancer that cute and cuddly. So best case scenario is... dunno what. Just hang tough and get through whatever it turns out to be.

For what it's worth, you are the toughest of all my Pretend Internet Friends and I have no doubt you've got the intestinal fortitude to bull through this issue and kick its ass. And people, while Tam doesn't bleg, note the PayPal button on the right.

Ted N said...

Happy thoughts!

The Freeholder said...

Hang in there. If you had to hear anything related to skin cancer other than "not", basal cell seems to be the best alternative.

Go to the range and have some "Tam time". Best medicine is to keep your mind occupied.

Andie said...

Thinking good thoughts, and remember, "Recalculating!" can apply to GPS as well as Plan B.

Anonymous said...

good thoughts going your way...

TheMinuteman said...

All I can think to do Tam is give you a digital hug... *hug*

I'm here and I'm listening and as useless as it seems, hoping and praying for the best... If you need anything don't be afraid to ask.

fast richard said...

I hope this all turns out to be a big nothing. If not, I hope you've caught it in time to stop it cold.

Windy Wilson said...

Burning skin Euwwwwwww.
I've been the provider of burning hair (don't ask) and burning tooth at the dentist, and friends and family and loved ones (those terms overlap, honest!) have been in the waiting thing (except when my mom got a breast biopsy waaaaay back in the late 70's when they didn't make you wait, but you had to take the gas and wonder), so my thoughts and sympathies go to you.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

I'll put in a word upstairs, and hope for the best. Next time we get to Indy, beer's on me.

Anonymous said...

Tam, I hope it is a comfort for you to know that even those you love to hate, *love* you; we have been and will be there with monetary and moral support if needed.

When I talk to God these days, it's mostly about the tribulations of me and mine, but I'll drop your name in there too. Also, no need to wait for a 'cane in Vegas to consider breaking your own self-imposed incommunicado.

PB

Don said...

Waiting along with you . . . .

Eck! said...

With a little help from your friends.
Hang in there Tam and good luck!


Eck!

Richard Blaine said...

Research has shown all those positive thoughts will be more effective if you can stay positive yourself.

Yep, it's really hard when your scared - been there, will probably be there again.

Thinking good thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It's ok to have a good cry, it's ok to be scared, and when you are done with those moments: you'll still be strong enough to zoom through it like a warrior. Wishing you good health vibes and strength and positive thoughts. I have no doubts you will be ok, you've been through worse things and are still snarking :)

Ken said...

Keep calm and carry on. We're all pulling for you, and those of us as are inclined are praying.

Rob Reed said...

Thinking of you. Hope all is well.

Rob (Trebor)

Jay said...

Been there, done that.......every six months or so. Take care, and be good to yourself. It's the price we pay for being fair-skinned, and growing up before sunscreen was mandatory.

BGMiller said...

I really can't say anything that hasn't been said by those above me on the page. And more than a couple have said it better.

That said I still feel that I should raise my hand and add my name to the rolls of those taking a few moments from the day to let you know you do not stand alone.

BGM

Ed Foster said...

Medicinal alcohol, applied liberally inside, might almost make it all worth while. Almost.

Galway Irish and Hebridean Scot here, from a family that's a third redheaded and spends as much time on salt water as possible. Lots of minor nasties removed from plenty of relatives over the years, and they all died from something else or pure meanness if they aren't still around.

I don't know many men I would prefer to cover my back in a fighting hole if you were an option. A couple of little scrapes here and there are something you'll snark about in a month or two.

You are our Snark-Mistress, and you are invulnerable. Nothing else is allowed.

Brigid said...

Phlegmfatale - Before I headed home she was armed with some Gnaw Bone Beer, some kahlua and I brought over an entire homemade dark chocolate cheesecake with espresso sugar ganache.

Well "entire" except for that square off the end that mice with climbing gear and exacto knives got to during the night). That may not take the edge off that liquid nitrogen up the nose, but it doesn't hurt.

Tam - you were a trooper, always have been. And thanks for the introduction to the Goose!

Anonymous said...

If it helps at all, we are all rooting for you.

We like you for you, not just for the free ice cream!

Guffaw said...

Just get better!
I've been where you are and understand.

gfa

Hobie said...

Sounds as though you came through this phase as well as can be expected. Prayers said for you in the wait interim and beyond.

Hank said...

Welcome to Geezerland.

Darrell said...

Good luck and best wishes, Tam! :)

DaddyBear said...

My wife went through that a couple of years ago. It's painful and a bit scary. Be strong, you're not alone.

Old NFO said...

Thoughts and prayers Lady!

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you!

PJ

Anonymous said...

My thoughts, prayers and general well wishes upon you.

Regular Lurker

The Jack said...

Best wishes and hoping you'll have many years to learn to "enjoy" such checkups.

And as trite as it sounds you're not alone.

And hats off Brigid, you're a good egg.

Robin said...

I think you need a much better story for explaining the wounds ... probably involving you and a gang of bikers debating .40S&W vs. .45 ACP ...

Just kidding - glad to hear you got it done.

phlegmfatale said...

Brigid - Ganache is the cure for many an ill, imho. I'm glad Tam had a lioness to go along and to bring the comfort of such treats. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Tam - it's been years since I've last commented and turned into a lurker. I'd like to break the seal by wishing you good health and joining the ranks of those who will keep you in our prayers.

&@$# cancer.

- another gun guy Brian

Mick Havoc said...

I am both praying and sending positive thoughts to you Tam.

drjim said...

You're in tonight's prayers, Tam.
I've had the same thing, and I agree, it sure wakes you up.

eiaftinfo said...

Thoughts and prayers headed your way Tam. I'm sure Ms. B will keep a good eye on you!

Larry said...

All I can do is add my well-wishes to the pile.

Rebecca Dion said...

Tam - We love you and are praying for you :)
Brigid - so glad you are by her side...give her a huge hug from us :)

Weer'd Beard said...

Best Wishes. You've been in my thoughts since you first mentioned this.

I was going to tell you this in person, but we were having such a good time I didn't want to be a debbie downer.

John B said...

hoping for a happy outcome!
Stay Strong Sister!

perlhaqr said...

So... a bad time to play the "I've got your nose" game with you, then? :D

*hugs*

Turk Turon said...

Tam,
You're in my thoughts.
Turk

Alien said...

BTDT, one survives. Living in FL, and after a childhood of "go outdoors, the sun is good for you," I'm a very regular 6-month visitor to my dermatologist who has not failed to find stuff to freeze off for the past 15 years. Occasionally, he finds stuff, almost always on the face, to biopsy and gets to practice his scalpel skills. Usually, it's negative, twice it's required more - thankfully, quite minor - scalpel work. They now have interesting tools to excise suspect spots with a great deal more efficiency and almost no scarring. Technology, and a skilled doctor, are great.

I understand how worrying the wait is. Sorry, there's no magic wand to make that go away. You'll get through it, and we're right here no matter what.

Wilson said...

Best wishes!

Cybrludite said...

As everyone else said, best wishes!

Mark Alger said...

I have to echo Art. I'm at a loss as to what I can say that will make you feel better, but -- trust me -- I'm sayin' it at the top of my voice.

M

RabidAlien said...

Prayin!

Marzine said...

you are an inspiration to us out here in Texas. We are praying for you and asking Jesus to heal you. We have seen Him grant wonderful, marvelous and miraculous answers to our prayers.

KurtP said...

Thoughts and prayers.

Justthisguy said...

I am late to the conclave here (I won't call it a party), but rest assured, Tam, you are in my prayers, which beg that you be perfectly healed.

Julie said...

Thoughts and prayers for you Tam

secondamendmentliberty said...

Fingers crossed and prayers. Other goodwill techniques upon request.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

Oh jeez, that sucks! Know that your friends are thinking of you and I'm saying a little prayer.

Pat St. Jean said...

We're keeping you in our prayers down here in Texas. Get well soon!

aczarnowski said...

I should've been here sooner to wish you the best possible outcome here. Break legs (or whatever the kids are saying for good luck these days).