Thursday, January 10, 2013

So...

Went to the Mohs surgeon yesterday.

He was a nice guy, very confident. I like confidence in a man who's going to be taking a knife to my face.

He spent the time alternately assuring me that I had nothing to worry about, that his goal was that there not be any visible scarring, and scaring my pants off by telling me that there was no telling how deep or widespread the roots of this carcinoma had gone, but if too much tissue had to be removed, then there was always the option of a good ENT...

I'm not at all good with the whole Lon Chaney, Sr. Phantom of the Opera look.

Surgery's scheduled for next month.

He was a lot better at scaring than he was at reassuring, or maybe I'm just a lot better at being scared than reassured.

64 comments:

rremington said...

With all the lawyers running around out there, they just about have to give you the worst cast lecture.

We're hoping for the best!

Anonymous said...

Tam , In 2008 I had a cancer surgery every five weeks form feb.14 till sep.(by then I didn't keep tack of dates anymore)I was in treatment till 2010. All of it head and neck. You will have scars, On your face and in you heart. They will heal. So will you. Cry, scream, go to the range and shoot something, it helps. Then kick cancers ass.--- Ray

Don M said...

Hugs and love. As cute as you are you can afford to add a smidge of character, but they really are very good at not scarring these days.

My tissue removal can not be seen at all. If only the tissue they didn't remove looked as good as where they removed it!

Wolfwood said...

I'm not a doctor, but as a defense attorney I regularly have to tell my clients things that aren't likely to happen but are nonetheless possible.

As an example, let's say someone has violated the law for the first time by shoplifting a pair of socks from Wal-Mart. Under Virginia law, they could receive a maximum of twelve months in jail. If a judge were to sentence a first-offender with a year in jail for that crime, it would be upheld on appeal. That said, even thirty days (of which, in Virginia, you serve half) would be news throughout the Virginia legal community. The more likely outcome is a night in jail, or community service.

I'd imagine that your doctor is doing the same thing.

ProudHillbilly said...

They have to give you worst-case, but when I had to have surgery on my face they were very careful about how they did it in order to avoid scarring. You have to really, really look to see the incision.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for healing of your body and spirit. You are not alone. Blessings of Strength and Peace be upon you.

perlhaqr said...

*giant hug*

I'm giant. My hugs are great. ;)

Especially now that I've got a beard again. Big fluffy hugs.

Jennifer said...

You are going to be just fine. I'm certain. Your surgeon doesn't want to answer to the internet, after all.

BobG said...

Best wishes for a routine operation, and a quick recovery.

NAVIGATOR said...

MAY YOU GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
KEEP A POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND
DO NOT RUMINATE OVER NEGATIVE "WHAT IFS" YOU HAVE THE SUPPORT GOOD WISHES
AND PRAYERS OF LEGIONS OF YOUR FRIENDS
WHO DEPEND ON YOU BEING YOU HUG YOUR CRITTERS HAVE SOMETHING NICE TO EAT
SEE YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE READ YOUR FAVORITE BOOK LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE
MUSIC SEND 50 ROUNDS OF .45ACP DOWNRANGE GET THEM IN IN THE BLACK IN DECENT GROUPS COMPOSE A "WHAT-THE- HELL-GRAMME" VS A MAJOR INJUSTICE
SLEEP THE SLEEP OF THE RIGHTEOUS GET SOME REST YOU HAVE A MISSION PIECE OF CAKE!

Farm.Dad said...

Hugs from FarmMom and I . We have been and will be thinking of ya .

JimB said...

Tam, You will survive and be cute as ever.. You have so many people wishing you well and saying a prayer for you that it couldn't turn out anyy other way

armedlaughing said...

No sweat! I did it, and everything looks great!

Not every doctor with skills includes among them a bedside manner!

gfa

Sport Pilot said...

Your good people Tam, through and through, pretty and smart to boot. Keep your chin up and remember people are praying for you.

Anonymous said...

As Old NFO would tell you, nobody wants an indecisive pilot flying the aircraft.

You be fine Tam.

Gerry

Benjamin said...

Just explain to the doc that there are a lot of folks interested in you being satisfied with the outcome.

That most of them are armed.

Some of them are even competent with their chosen tools.

Doc is a smart guy. He'll connect the dots. ;)

BGM

RWC said...

Best wishes Tam. Had a dime size chunk taken from my cheek/jawline. No scar at all. I was rather amazed by there not being one.

Benjamin said...

Oh, and I may be asking for your input on an old Mauser.

WWII bring back but it isn't a K98.
I'll email pics if I can get some.

Heck, if I can talk my uncle into handing it over I'll have another reason to make it to a blogmeet.

The local pubs won't object to a scruffy looking guy walking in with an old bolt gun will they? :)

BGM

Earl said...

No matter what the very well trained folks do, no matter how terrible you feel - I will still thank them, love you from afar, and pray that your world is better than your fears.

I like having you healthy and around, or just around, or where you are at peace with you and upset with the world... I just like you.

and to think, I don't really know you but what I know I really like.

Chris said...

I've had several growths removed from my face, though none proved to be cancerous. No one can tell where they were, now. Although, with my face, no one cares to look too closely, anyway. Best hopes for a perfect outcome!

DJ said...

I've had nine surgeries in the past ten years. In my experience, the goal of a surgeon in talking to a patient is, "No surprises, and no worries."

I'm certain that you understand the difference between possibility and probability. "No surprises" addresses "possibility". "No worries" addresses "probability".

It sounds like you've found the right surgeon. You know what you're doing with guns, and he knows what he's doing with knives. Trust him. No worries.

goober said...

Chicks dig scars.

Oh, wait, you are a chick, so that doesn't work does it...

But you DO drive a Subaru now, so...

Chcks dig scars!

OK, being serious now...

Good luck. Don't worry. You'll be fine. My dermatologist says that basal cell carcinoma removals are like getting a tooth pulled. Everyday mundane stuff to a Guy that does it three times a day before breaking for lunch. Worrying wont change the results, because no matter how you look at it the results will be what they are, and chances are they'll be good.

Stretch said...

My sister's fight against cancer was heavily augmented with chocolate.
I suggest the same course of treatment for you.

Robin said...

You are going to come through fine, and afterwards you'll have even more clumsy gun geeks hitting on you than before.

Wait ... that was supposed to be reassuring ...

Anonymous said...

My specialty is OB/perinatal, but I recognize this speech because I do the OB version of it all the time. There are two parts to the pre-procedure "what is going to happen" speech. Part One is titled "What Usually Happens." Part Two is titled "Crazy Freaky Stuff that Almost Never Happens, but My Lawyer Wants Me to Mention."

That's how you get "Walking from the sidwalk to your front door is a piece of cake; you'll be indoors before you know it. Or, you might get crushed by a giant meteorite."

The fact that we devote roughly equal amounts of time to Part One and Part Two does not mean they are equally likely.

Don't stress about the giant meteorite, Tam. It's not going to happen.

Alath
Carmel IN

Old NFO said...

Confident and honest works... Sounds like this guy is both. And yes, thoughts and prayers...

velcr08ball said...

I have some experience with a cancer of this type in the area you describe. If I may, Be less concerned with cosmetics and highly concerned with getting it all the first time. The internet allows for a sense of familiarity where none exists. Virtual loss is still loss.

rickn8or said...

Late to the party as usual, and all the good stuff has already been said.

(Wait. What's this note in the bottom of my pocket? Oh, good grief. "Tam doesn't get cancer; cancer gets TAM!" Whuzzat supposed to be?? Well, if that's all I got...)

You know that we're all pulling for you.

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

I don't have any scars from the two surgeries I went through. Mind you, I was working on a story involving Heidelburg for the spot in my eyebrow, but I didn't get to use it.

The first surgery was really boring, it did go deeper than he originally though, so I had to go through a second pass on the same day. It was a really long day, most of it spent sitting in the waiting room. Take a couple of books with you.

Sleeping may be a challenge. I recommend you get a week's worth of really good painkillers. Also, your face will probably swell up when you lay down for any extended length of time. I found it really annoying, but not painful.

You should do fine as long as you warn you roomie that pointing and laughing could be unhealthy...

JustSomeGuy said...

Other folks familiar with the process have already mentioned it, but...

If he scared better than he reassured then his lawyer is a happy man. Don't sweat the meteorite, that date on the calendar is the day you get to put this all behind you and rev the snark-o-meter to max.

In the meantime, suck the marrow out of life. Be a life-i-vore. Gnaw your way through a big hunk of life steak with a heaping side of "OH HELL YEAH!!" and a beer. Not a bull testicle beer, but a good stiff one that bites back so you can kick its ass and suck its beery blood...

Is it lunchtime?

Anyroad. My internet energy rays are aimed your way.

JSG

Just My 2¢ said...

Reminder -you already know this:
The good thing about Mohs surgery is that when the Doc finds clear margins, he'll stop. You won't lose 1mm more tissue than necessary.


Anonymous said...

Tam,

I had the Mohs surgery done to the outside of my left nostril a few months ago. My doctor had to go deep and wide to get it all. She had to take a graft from my jawline to close the divot. I was convinced I was going to be scaring children and small animals more than usual for the rest of my days.

You'll go through a process by which the band-aids get smaller and smaller. Then you sleep with a silicone pad taped to the wound site. Then you buy a tube of Mederma scar cream over the counter.

Guess what? 120 days post-op and it's getting difficult to see that there was anything ever done.

It's more of a pain in the ass than a life-altering event. I know it's scary. Trust me. BTDT. But you'll be fine.

Xman

Rustmeister said...

Keeping you in my prayers, Tam.

Temnota said...

We'll have a candle lit for you on your Big Day.

Kevin said...

Wait until you get the "informed consent" form if you want scary. But in fact the vast majority of operations works out just as planned and desired, so the odds are really good yours will too.

Moriarty said...

I was involved in a few Mohs procedures as a resident, back when we took our Hippocratic Oath from Hippocrates.

In general they go very well. My colleague (above) is entirely correct in his explanation of how risks are discussed.

Something else: Although extirpation of basal cell is the primary goal of Mohs, a good cosmetic result is very important. No surgeon wants their patient sporting the "Phantom of the Opera" look.

If I prescribe you a drug and you end up in the ICU, at follow up we'll discuss what a terrible drug that was for you and how I'll never give it to you again. If you have a surgical complication that leads to a bad outcome, the blame is laid squarely at the surgeon's feet.

No one wants any part of that. No surgeon is going to schedule you for an elective procedure if they're not confident they can put you in a better place than you are now.

Brad K. said...

Tam,

Bandages, scars -- not even a regular or cute face defines who you are. Healthy people fear and resist battle scars, but usually deal with them.

At the least, wait to see the size of the mole hill before starting mountain construction.

And if your doctor hasn't mentioned/recommended contacting one or more cancer patient groups or services, kick the scary doc next visit! A local pastor can also be good touchpoint to find support and information.

Blessed be!

phlegmfatale said...

Having enjoyed the segmenting, rearrangement and bolting of my maxilla a month ago, I can relate to your anxiety. In this litigious age, MDs have to cover their asses, but I think you have every reason to have a very positive outlook, darling. You'll get through this and you'll get better quickly. Meantime, moar beer!

Canthros said...

1. Keep calm.
2. Carry on.

Apply booze, range time, junk food as needed. Repeat until done.

maddmedic said...

MDs lay the worst out. As above there are a few litigious types out there.
Been there, listened to them.
Sending prayers and good thoughts thatta way.

Ted N said...

Any possible scar could only make you more awesome. You rock, Tam.

Steve Skubinna said...

If I hit the tip jar, will you use it to buy a hockey mask?

Kick its ass. I'm adapting some Chuck Norris facts to you even as we speak. Type.

Benjamin said...

@Steve

You mean like...

When Chuck Norris goes to sleep at night he keeps a Tam under his pillow for protection.


BGM

The Freeholder said...

Tam, the medics have to give you all the potential bad news these days. When the Big C is involved, there is a lot of potential bad news.

The good news is that the worst of it usually doesn't happen.

Hang in there and keep as positive an attitude as you can. It's not only important for your morale, but for your recovery as well. You're going to beat this thing and then get back to your life.

Borepatch said...

“For long the two enemies looked at one another, Hook shuddering slightly, and Peter with the strange smile upon his face.

"So, Pan," said Hook at last, "this is all your doing."

"Ay, James Hook," came the stern answer, "it is all my doing."

"Proud and insolent youth," said Hook, "prepare to meet thy doom."

For long the two enemies looked at one another, Hook shuddering slightly, and Peter with the strange smile upon his face.

"Dark and sinister man," Peter answered, "have at thee.”


When you go in for the Deed, I hope that you do it with a strange smile upon your face.

J.R.Shirley said...

Hang in there, sis.

Jeffro said...

Hang in there, kiddo.

Anonymous said...

God help you, Tam. May He heal you completely. Now, fight that balrog like a pissed- off redhead with pms!

Ulises from CA

Turk Turon said...

What Borepatch said.

Ed said...

-What does not kill you only makes you stronger.

-Tell the doc that you want the package deal that includes the facelift.

-A facial scar never slowed Tina Fey down.
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20243538,00.html

-Just tell people it was from a failed Beretta M9 slide during super secret squirrel training with the SEALS.

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

Ed, I thinks Tam is much more likely to be playing with otters than seals. They just strike me a much more the kind of folks she would hang around...

Micki Mahoney said...

Yeah, don't worry about all that worst-case-scenario stuff. After all, if you believed the "worst case scenario" for the drive to the damn hospital, you'd never leave the house again, would you?

Look at it this way: there's a cinema in your head and, as manager, YOU get to pick which movie they show. So, you could watch Phantom of the Opera, or you could watch something cheerier. You're the boss, Boss. What would you rather see?

In a couple of months, you'll be musing about the minor inconvenience of surgery and challenging people to find the scar. So stop scaring yourself and start making plans about how to treat yourself when it's all over!

Best wishes,

MJ

Brad K. said...

@ Benjamin,

"
When Chuck Norris goes to sleep at night he keeps a Tam under his pillow for protection."


. . so, like Tam could think of the to-be-removed stuff as a "hidden gusset"? (as per Rachel Lucas' "Chuck Norris Hidden Gusset Award", based on a 1980's ad for Chuck Norris' "action" jeans intended for action and martial arts).

That might be reassuring, I guess, kinda. . No, the analogy doesn't reach that far, for me.

brionic said...

Sorry to read about this troubling odyssey of yours. Our five year old, Dashiell, is fighting a transitional carcinoma, and it's been a real bear. Our thoughts are with you. Next time we drive through (around) Indy on our way to Cincy we'll toot the horn for you.

Karl said...

Fingers crossed that it'll be no big deal for you.

Karl

Gewehr98 said...

Wife #2 got a free facelift courtesy of the skin cancer doc.

They were very aggressive in treating and removing those bits, wasting no time at all from initial biopsy to full-blown excavation.

I'm surprised they're waiting as long as they are to relieve you of said malignancies...

Tam said...

Gewehr98,

It all depends on the kind of cancer, I guess. Apparently Basal Cell Carcinoma is pretty slow-growing. It had probably been there for years before I noticed it wasn't just a bleeding scar.

Melanoma, on the other hand, they jump right on that.

Wilson said...

Best wishes for a quick recovery!

Anonymous said...

Stay positive!

Brad K. said...

Tam,

Chrunchy Chicken ("Putting the Mental in Environmental") as some words about support and cancer. I hope her experience is way more intense that you have ahead.

Blessed be,

Brad K.

Kristophr said...

If you need a Tycho Brahe prosthetic, I'm sure we can raise funds for one.

Or maybe even a gold nose plug?

( Hopefully this will be easily treatable. )

Justthisguy said...

Tam, may the Lord God Almighty guide the hand of your surgeon so that he cuts just enough, and no further, and that the necessary cutting does no harm to your marvelous snarky visage. In the name of Jesus, that's what I pray.

I am not kidding.

Justthisguy said...

Dammit, Kristophr, this is not the time to be a smartass!

Evyl Robot Michael said...

I don't blame you for being scared. However, I'm sure everything will turn out fine in the end.