Adventures in being fair (or TNF inhibitor side effects)

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When your RA is stable, you make time to handle all the other things. Or at least I do. Not that I put them off at other times, it’s just I have more time and emotional bandwidth to stay on top of things.

Did you know that some of our medications can increase the incidence of skin cancer? Because RA is the gift that keeps on giving. Or perhaps because, like many of my family members, we are not a people of the sun. I am pale like a vampire.

Or maybe a bit of both.

This past week, I had my third basal cell carcinoma removed. From my face nonetheless. This is my second one on my face. Enough with the face already!

Because it’s on my face, insurance approved me to go to a plastic surgeon for Moh’s surgery. Unlike an excision, which is where they just cut it out, Mohs surgery removes only a few layers at a time to minimize scarring. They send those few layers down to radiology to confirm if they got it all or not while you wait with a gaping hole in your face bandaged face in the waiting room.

If they didn’t, they take a few more layers and repeat until radiology gives you the all clear.

The nurse asked me if I wanted to see it before they stitched me up and I asked her to hold a mirror 10 feet away. The hole was about as wide as a dime. From what I saw at a distance with no glasses/contacts, I said HELL NO DON’T COME CLOSER.

I wound up getting 4 internal stitches and 8 external. I had a minor freak out when she said ‘I need to shave your head a bit.’ Ladies, that is never what you want to hear, right? But she shaved a tiny bit so that she could stitch it up in a way where a lot of the scar will hide in my hairline.

That is basically the only reason I’d ever be ok with someone shaving my head. She finished up, put a super attractive pressure bandage on me and sent me on my merry way.

So I didn’t see what the final result looked like until the next morning when I unwrapped it.

Because I’ve had this procedure before, I know what to expect this time around aka I didn’t freak out when I finally got to get a look at it the next morning.

2019 (if you look up and to the right, you can see the faded scar from my last one)

2018 (also shows shoulder excision, redness is contact dermatitis from sutures)

Last year, all I could think was I HAVE A HARRY POTTER SCAR! How will this ever fade? I almost cut bangs y’all. My friends thankfully intervened on that.

This year’s stitches look much better from last year. And I know it will fade significantly.

I get the stitches out in another week and then *hopefully* this is it for awhile. It’s an easy, painless recovery.

Y’all. I know we deal with a lot but please get your yearly dermatologist scan. My spots weren’t moles, they actually looked like small scratches. It’s easy to remove but can be very disfiguring if you let it go. And with basal cell, there is no follow-up once it’s removed.

And if you’re fair like me, wear your sunscreen. And possibly a sombrero!

3 responses »

  1. Amanda, I wonder if you would post this in the RDBlog week category for everything else? I thin it is very important that it be available for the community. Here is the link,

    https://www.radiabetes.com/prompts-for-2019-rdblog-week/

    go to the last link and post the name or your blog or your name or both and the address of the blog. This year we are acing a drawing and if you sign up for blog week and post at least one blog you are entered to win one of three amazon gift certificates. The sign up page is

    https://www.radiabetes.com/2019-rdblog-week-sign-up-page/

    and to round it out you can read about RDBlog week is:

    https://www.radiabetes.com/about-2019-rdblog-week/

    I think the blog is amazing and the information is so important. I hope you will post this one and any other blogs, new or old you might like to help out.

    • Rick! I just did- I meant to sign up for that and lost track of time. I should be able to get another post in over the next few days. Thank you for doing this, I’m getting ready to settle in and read!

  2. Once the wound (half dollar size on my cheek) had healed, I put a silicone patch on it whenever I was home – for about three months. During the day, I used silicone cream. The scar is barely visible today.

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