Saturday, October 27, 2012

Skin Cancer Redux

Another week, and another visit to my dermatologist.  Seems like these days I can't go a week without visiting my dermatologist for yet another "procedure." Yesterday's procedure was to take a bigger chunk of flesh from my left forearm.

A few weeks ago a wart-like growth appeared on my left forearm, almost overnight.  During one of my regular visits to my dermatologist I ask them to check it out.  They determined it was actinite keratosis, which a precancerous skin anomaly.

Two weeks ago they removed the growth and sent it out of a biopsy.  Last week I got the news, the actinite keratosis was "medium" which meant it was "moving."  "Moving" meant that it could change into real skin cancer.  Thus I had to schedule yet another visit to my dermatologist for have a larger chunk of meat taken out of my forearm.

My doctor came in with a student (why do I almost always have a student observer?)  Injected my forearm four times with a needle (it hurt) to numb up the area designated for surgery.  He left, giving time for the anesthetic to take hold.  He returns, puts a towel on my lap, and paper over the top of the area to be cut, with a hole cut out in the paper for surgery.

He begins his incision. I look away because I cannot abide the sight of blood (I faint).  I feel the pressure of his cutting into the flesh of my arm.  He continues to cut, and cut.  Finally he finishes.  He tells me his assistant will be in to "clean up" and bandage my arm.  They (the doctor and the observer) leave).  I wait for the assistant, feeling no pain but woozy just the same.  I get that way when I am cut upon.

The assistant comes in.  She removes the paper towels and clothes and discovers I have blood on my pants (near the crotch area...of course) and on my shirt.  She complains that the doctor didn't place the surgery papers properly.  I got the feeling he's done this before.  I don't care.  I just want out of there.

She cleans me up, bandages my arm.  She gives me instructions how to bath (showers are all right but don't soak my arm in water).  Before I leave I make an appointment for next Friday to have the stitches removed.  Yet another weekly visit to my friendly dermatologist.  I notice the now drying blood on my pants, near the crotch (naturally).  I don't care.

I leave and meet Bill, who was waiting for me in the lobby.  He looks at my pants and says "It looks like you peed yourself."  I don't care.

On the way home I stop at the thrift store looking to check out any new books.  I know my crotch looks bloody.  Again, I don't care.

I then stop at the grocery store to stock up to prepare for Frankenstorm (the subject of my next blog post).  With my bloody crotch in full view, I must have looked like a deranged escape from the local prison.

I returned home and removed those bloody pants.  I sprayed the bloody area with "Spray and Wash."  I'm washing those pants (and shirt) now.

My arm didn't hurt yesterday but it is hurting now.  Yep, it's hurting and I'm feeling a bit woozy.  I don't know if my wooziness is from my bloody episode yesterday or the knowledge that Frankenstorm is on it's way to cause major disruption here on the east coast of Delaware.  Yes Virginia, we are the entry point of this Storm of the Century.  Oh joy.

"Frankenstorm" on its way


anne marie in philly said...

gah! I am concerned about all my DE boyfriends so close to the source.

Tony said...

well, what a life you lead, ron! all fun and games, i tell you! i do hope that the storm causes little damage and simply gives your area a good soak. i like reading these stories of yours on "getting older". as you know, i just turned 50, but sometimes i feel it already, and i am super healthy! despite my health, i have high bad cholesterol (hereditary), so my doc has me on statins. well, after a couple weeks on them i noticed some nasty side effects--i felt weak and exhausted, even though i was now having trouble sleeping at night. one day i was so tired after work i felt as though i were decomposing!! well, i stopped the meds, and after 48 hours i feel like myself again. we will have to figure something else out for the 'ol cholesterol! anyway, a chatty comment, but hope you are feeling better today, and good thing you got that taken out. good luck with the storm!

Anonymous said...

I know the never ending saga that is pre-cancerous skin growths. My family is all Irish and growing up - my parents and aunts and uncles who all grew up on the ocean in Long Beach, NY, were told to "get burned" on the first sunny day of summer so that they'd be tan all summer and not burn again. This of course was before people knew about skin cancer. What actually happened to my parents and aunts and uncles is that they didn't tan as much as they became on big freckle. By the time I came along, my parents knew about and used sun tan lotion. I never really liked tanning but loved being in the water so I didn't get as much exposure and have so far avoided any problems. (Duh! Jinx!)

You haven't mentioned it but is your dermatologist doing M.O.H.S. on these removals? It is a more through testing - it makes the removal procedure longer and more tiring and involves more excavating but it help insures complete removal. Also, trust your in stinks. Twice my mom thought the doc was wrong and insisted he test and proved him wrong when they came back stage 1 and stage 0. She had to do that face treatment too and it was so painful that she took some pain pills to endure the treatment longer but it was also like getting a bit of a facelift.

Hang in there!

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

I never lay on the beach which is ironic because I always wanted to live near the beach so I could "bake" all day. Now that I'm here I take a nap at the height of the sunny day. No beach time for me.


Ron said...


Never, NEVER a dull moment down here in Slower Lower. I have never been bored one minute. There is always some kind of drama unfolding. I yearn for a week or two of just nothing happening. Coast for a while. Doesn't happen though. Especially now with this election coming up and the threat of power outages. In fact we get a lot of storm threats here on the coast. Too many hurricanes and windstorms for my taste.

I know all about those meds that cause unwanted side effects. As soon as I detect something like that I stop taking the meds. I just did that recently. I feel tired enough as it is.

I"m glad you like my stories of getting older. I try to stay away from that subject matter because I think it is boring to some but it keeps cropping up in my life so I'll just go with it. At least I'm not boring you.


Ron said...


There are a lot of things I wouldn't change in my life but one thing I would change is all those days I used to lay baking on the back working on that perfect tan. I am now paying the price for that foolishness. It hurts.


Randy in NEB. said...

Hi Ron, So what you're saying, this is what I have to look forward to in 20-25 years. When I was in my late teens and all of my 20's I was out in the sun and got very burned a dozen times. My face already showes it at 53yrs. I'm with you we should have covered up more while out in the sun. Your doctors, it sounds are really trying to get rid of you a piece at a time. I'm with Sean hang in there. Randy. P.S. You get hurricanes we in the midwest get tornadoes, no place is safe.

Ur-spo said...

I had one of these last year; no fun in this.
I am curious to speak with you this weekend; find out if all this Sandy hype is real or not.

Ron said...


Yes, you will DEFINITELY be paying visits to a dermatologist when you're older. Guaranteed. I always thought I played it safe by not burning. Apparently not. The warnings about skin cancer are the one warning that is true. Unfortunately there are so many overhyped warnings, that most people don't pay attention to them. But the warnings about early exposure to sun resulting in skin cancer later in life are true. Believe me, I know.


Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

I am getting SO TIRED of being cut. It seems like every Friday I have an appointment with my dermatologist to have stitches removed. It's getting REAL OLD.


Unknown said...

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