April 17, 2010

April 2010 Update

April 2010 pictures, seven months after skin graft on cheek. Perimeter is softening better, ridges and bumps less noticeable. The grafted skin seems to dip since there's not a layer of dermis underneath any more. I will be seeing my dermatologist in two weeks again. Last month the plastic surgeon told me this graft will probably start to blend better by September of 2010 which will be a year after surgery.

5 comments:

  1. Hi there, I think you are so brave to be so open about your experience and I thank you for sharing it with us. I have just discovered that I have melanoma in situ in practically exactly the same place as you had yours, except that mine is a little bigger unfortunately. I am scheduled for surgery on 20th May for the removal of the melanoma and a graft to be taken using the skin on my collar bone. I would love to communicate with you directly if you are interested so is there any way of obtaining your email address, if you would like to be in touch. I hope to hear from you and thank you again for your courage and inspiration. Incidentally, I am from New Zealand.

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  2. I can not even believe how similar our stories are! We could be twins! I too had a brown spot in the same location on my face – mine a little darker than yours. It showed up only 3 years ago – at first smaller and lighter in color.

    The biopsy by the dermatologist showed severe dysplasia. The 1st surgery was to remove the spot with a small margin. The surgeon was able to do a skin flap leaving a 2 inch or so scar. I was okay with that. Unfortunately, the pathology report from that came back worse – melanoma.

    A second surgery was required with larger margins and a skin graft. The surgeon took skin from behind one ear and in front of the other. I came out of that with the same yellow bandage as you and sutures around my ears. The yellow bandage came off a week later. The doctor handed me a mirror and I quickly handed it back feeling sick and faint. He cleaned it for me and covered it back up with a bandage. I was happy to not have to look at it, or maybe worse, have other people look at it. This time I felt more emotionally wounded.

    I swallowed my pride and went back to work 5 days after surgery with the yellow bandage on my face. I was always surprised at how comfortable strangers were with asking me what is on my face. I know they are curious but it feels so insensitive, especially when I just want to forget it’s even there.

    I was happy to hide behind the white bandage for a couple weeks. The idea that a time was coming when I would not be able to hind behind a bandage created so much anxiety for me. The funny part is before all this happened I wouldn’t have wanted a bandage on my face at all.

    Today is my first day going to work without a bandage. Trembling with anxiety and scared as hell I held my head up and thought of your bravery.

    Sharing your story has been so courageous. I wish I could feel as brave as you seem. By the way, I too recently purchased 2 very large pairs of sun glasses and a big hat :o) It has helped for me to see your progression and know it gets better. Thank you so much for that! I will be thinking of you and hoping you continue to heal well.

    Three of my mother’s siblings have developed varying types of cancer. One of them passed in her 40’s because hers was found too late.

    I do feel fortunate that this was discovered and that I had the means to have it cared for. I also feel fortunate to have excellent doctors helping me. In addition to being great at what they do they have also been very kind.

    I am 36. I have been told that I will have to be checked regularly going forward and it is highly probable that other spots will develop that too will have to be removed. No one wants to hear that, but I do acknowledge that it’s better to be aware and proactive of the situation.

    Thanks again sharing!

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  3. Hello. I just checked in today after not looking at my blog for about a month. Thank you for your kind notes. I feel somehow comforted by them...I guess just knowing other people have had similar experiences is helpful as I have not yet met anyone in my locale who has had a graft on their face in similar location. The receptionist at my plastic surgeon's office had a graft done close to her ear 8 years ago and it looks terrific now. I will be posting more pictures soon. Thank you.

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  4. To the Anonymous post from New Zealand on April 25: I can't seem to figure out a way to communicate with you directly and I'd rather not put my email address on here. But I hope your surgery went well and I would be very glad to stay in touch with you as you heal. Skin was used from my collar bone also. I wish you well as you recover from surgery. And one little bit of advice--this may sound silly but try not to smile big or laugh at things the first week because I think when I was laughing at something 3 days after surgery it may have torn apart slightly and took a very long time to heal there (near my nose side). That is where my scar looks the worst. I hope to hear from you again.

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  5. Nicole, I wanted to respond to you because I am so glad my blog has been helpful to you. We do sound almost like twins in this unfortunate experience!! I completely agree about being glad to have the white bandage and wanting to keep it on (to hide behind). And isn't it funny how the large sunglasses are our new favorite accessory!

    I appreciate your saying I was courageous to post these pictures, thank you. I would love to see other people's photos, but haven't found any showing the healing process on the face.

    I'm so sorry you've had to go through this so young...and I thought I was young at 48 to have this already! Such disappointment you must've felt when the flap surgery wasn't enough.

    I still look in the mirror and sometimes just groan. Ugg. It's such an obvious thing and people really do notice it when in close proximity.

    I feel honored that you thought of me when you went into work the first day without your bandage. You were very brave! Please keep in touch.

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