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You know when you’re young and you have absolutely no fear of anything? Well that was definitely me when it came to the sun. A day spent cooking with little or no sunscreen anywhere in sight… That was a pretty usual weekend… Sometimes even adding a bit of coconut oil in to the mix in search of the perfect tan!

If I had a $1 for everyone who would look at my sun burnt skin and chastise me for being so silly I could have bought myself a lifetime supply of sunscreen!

I guess I always thought that I’d be right that skin cancer happened to other much older people with very fair skin…

I WAS WRONG!!

At 32 I’m definitely a lot older and certainly a little wiser than I was back then, my days of chasing the sun long behind me but here I sit writing this note in the hope that it saves someone else the trouble I have / am going through…

It was earlier this year when I noticed a small flesh coloured lump off to the side on the bridge of my nose, it looked a lot like a pimple… except it just didn’t seem to be going away…

Fast forward a few months (having a baby can do that to you – no time for anything!)… And the lump was still there… Pretty inconspicuous really only that I had noticed it’s existence earlier did it even bother me now…

I finally decided it was best to go and have a skin check done, thinking that I would let the doctor look at it, be told it was fine and that would be the end of it…

I WAS WRONG AGAIN!

The doctor looked all over my skin, which surprisingly was in reasonable condition considering all of those years of baking…

Then I pointed out the little ‘stayer’ on my nose to which he referred to as being ‘suspicious’ and after administering a little anaesthetic promptly took a punch biopsy of the area… The results of which would be back in a week…

I left the doctors surgery that evening with a charming little round band aid on my nose and high hopes that the results would come back clear and perhaps I had nothing to worry about…

The next weeks appointment came… And you guessed it…

I WAS WRONG!

The doctor informend me that tiny little white lump was in fact a skin cancer known as a Squarmous Cell Carcinoma and that it would need to be removed… He did re-assure me that we had caught it nice and early and that everything would be o.k…

All I heard was carcinoma… cancer… and unlike me, actually had a little cry…

I left the doctor that day with a referral to a plastic surgeon ‘just in case’ I would need a skin graft once the cancer was removed…

Now there was a comforting thought…

I waited slightly more than a month before getting the appointment with the plastic surgeon…

The first words he spoke to me were ‘You’re too young to be here’… The rest of me might have been too young but it was certainly the right place for my sun-damaged nose…

He looked at it, explained how he was going to cut it out (after re-iterating how lucky it was that we’d caught it early) – A week later I came back for the procedure…

A local anaesthetic was given before the doctor cut out an oval sized piece of skin from the bridge of my nose (much larger than the actual cancer to ensure that none was missed)… Thankfully I felt nothing other than a slight pull of the skin as the scalpel went in…

Nor did I feel anything as he did a little bit of cauterisation inside the cut (to kill of any remaining cancer cells) however the smell of burning flesh was not the most pleasant…

After stitching me up and applying a glob of Vaseline to the now almost 1 inch long scar down the middle of my nose I was sent back out in to the world looking nearly as foolish as I felt, knowing that really I had done this to myself…

The stitches came out a week later…

The biopsy results came back clear…

The scar healed really really well… So well in fact, that I thought myself really lucky…

WRONG SOME MORE!

A month later as I rubbed sunscreen (as I now religiously did all over) into my nose I felt another little lump… It reminded my a lot of the first one really… So back to the plastic surgeon I went… Another punch biopsy taken from right next to the scar…

So sure was the doctor that this was another cancer, he booked my in for surgery a week later, without even waiting for the results to come back… So when I got a phone call from him that weekend (very diligent on his part, making weekend phone I calls I must add) I was very please to hear that this time….

HE WAS WRONG!!

It wasn’t an actual cancer, so no need for more cutting! Thank God! I was beginning to think my poor old nose might end up looking like a game of noughts and crosses!

However it was something called Solar Keratosis – Which are damaged skin cells that have the potential to turn into skin cancers if not treated…

A referral to a dermatologist followed…

Now I wont go into the details of the dermatologists visit (I’ll just say it was an unpleasant experience)…

I left there with a prescription for a cream called Efudix which will kill any of those nasty little pre-cancers that are lurking about on my nose…

As I had to wean my daughter off breast-feeding before using the cream (I imagine anything that kills cancer would not be good possibly running through my milk) I have only just started it….

I am truly looking forward to having all of the skin on my nose blister and just genuinely look really nasty for a few weeks as the cream gets to work…

But, you know what I am seriously looking forward to??

The threat of more cancers being gone out of my life!!

Never again will I set foot in the sun without being covered head to toe in sunscreen, I plan on teaching my daughter the importance of sun safety as soon as she is old enough!

I was so lucky…Mine wasn’t a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer, I caught it early and hopefully with treatment it will remain gone…

I hope if you’ve read this incredibly long story the whole way through or even if you’ve just skipped to here that you take one message away from this …

Make some time to BOOK IN FOR A FREE SKIN CHECK…

And remember always wear your sunscreen…

Because as you can see from the length of my story… treatment to fix the damage lasts even longer than the tan itself!


Posted by kaz_123, 14th August 2013


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  • this story is good

    Reply

  • Now you’ve got me worried! I had so many sunburns as a kid.

    Reply

  • Thank you for the reminder !

    Reply

  • Really glad you took the time to write about this, my girlfriend just had a very similar situation with a pimple on her nose that never seemed to go away. Made me go and book an appointment with a clinic to get myself checked out.

    Reply

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