Well, it’s been 10 weeks and 5 days since my surgery. During that time, you all know that my skin graft turned into a keloid and on January 13, I had it injected with a cocktail of steroids. I just had my followup with the ocular plastic surgeon on February 16 and it is smoothing out rather nicely.
As you can tell by this photo, it is not as hard or puffy as before and has attached itself rather nicely to the rest of the skin around my eye. I am to continue with the massages daily but don’t have to use the steroid ointment 24 hrs a day.
This photo is the site at my ear where the skin was harvested. It too is continuing to heal up well. At first I was putting Vaseline on it but after a month decided to try using my moisturizer once the stitches were out and I thought it was good a time as any to start. I use Éminence Organic Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer blended with Juice Beauty Organic Hydrating Mist and will continue doing so as I think it’s helping. Only time will tell!
And now I want to point something out to you with this next photo below. If you look at the graft, take your eye up to right under my eyelash between the 2:00 and 3:00 position. You will see a tiny translucent papule. This is how my BCC started out. I noticed this a couple months ago but was too sidetracked to mention it as I had other things I was worrying about. Hmmm..I wonder what?
Well…on January 23, I had another biopsy done on the site at my nose where my glasses sit because of a spot that was sore and bleeding. It wasn’t healing up. Now mind you, I wouldn’t have been too too worried except it was at the same site of a previous BCC! So I had a biopsy done and fortunately the results came back negative and it was a dilated pore. Whew!
So, at my visit with the ocular, I pointed this out to him and we are watching it. It measures 1mm x 2mm and it is too small to biopsy at the moment. I am waiting to see if it starts bleeding then that will be my cue that all is not well in Hollywood here.
I remember one of my readers, Rebecca, asking if I had a picture of the first BCC and how it started. Well Rebecca, very innocently enough, huh? So I go back mid April for a check up on the graft and if it needs another injection, as well as a biopsy of this little guy.
To further complicate the healing process, I noticed since day one that the entire left side of my face hurts from the temple down to the jawline. The sensation of a burning icecube running down my face is the best way to describe it. My face feels hot AND cold at the same time! It is exacerbated by the cold air and I have pretty much been housebound for these entire 10 and a half weeks because guess what?! It’s winter here in Pennsylvania! I mentioned this to the doctor and of course, it’s not normal……I told him that getting a keloid was not normal either but I did! So the possibility of hitting a sensory nerve during surgery could be the reason. I’ll reserve judgement until the weather warms up and see if I feel a difference.
I enlisted my mom to get groceries once and my dad has been good about calling to see if I need something while he’s out as well as a dear friend Tina. We have this awesome farmer’s market here, The Green Dragon, and he gets this fantastic fresh spinach for me and a shoo fly pie for him, so when I feel the need to escape for a change of scenery, I go down to their house and eat his pie!
Once again, I am leaving you with a smile!!! No makeup because I have to get back in the workroom and get started on cornices for a client project that is going to be so awesome it will be the subject of a future post here. This project incorporates my new leather tiebacks, Le Cuir, and is the center of my advertising campaign revolving around this project.
Have an excellent day my dear readers! I greatly appreciate you and your commenting.
Your graft is looking VERY good! Sorry about the new worry spot, it certainly does look “innocent” but we know better. Glad you’re keeping watch on that. The sensation you’re feeling on the left side of your face must be quite unpleasant. I hope something can be done if that continues after some time passes.
I have come to embrace no-makeup smiles! You look great and it’s nice to see how well you’re healing.
Your leather tiebacks sound intriguing, and that shoo fly pie sounds delicious.
The next post I do about this will probably be mid April after my graft check. I have decided that I will make that last photo of me with makeup and hair! I don’t usually wear makeup while working because it would be a pity to have a pair of bright red lips on a white silk drapery panel!
I can’t wait to share the story about this current house I am working on. Stay tuned….
I have a small lesion near the site of my old CA and graft too! I thought I was imaging it–but made an appointment to have it and a scalp lesion checked. Much more vigilant now, post CA and graft. Hoping for your answer for my new “thing”.. I don’t have much more room for a new lesion to be dug out via MOHs (or the fortitude to do this all again). Your keloid looks much improved! Good luck with the nerve problem which is exactly what it sounds like–sorry.
Oh dear Joyce!
Yes, I thought I was seeing things at first too and kept blinking my eyes since I’m blind as a bat, but sure enough there was that tiny lump. So sorry to hear about yours but I’m glad that you can get that checked along with the first “worry wart”! I too hope you get those beautiful words – it’s benign.
You bring up a good point about having the fortitude to go through it again. While I do not look forward to that possibility, I am much more equipped mentally and emotionally for it having had the experience I’ve had. It would still suck bigtime though if that is the inevitability but we have our cats to get us through 🙂 AND Valium for sure!
Please keep me posted since you will be getting your diagnosis before I get mine.
Dick Gentry said:
I think you are NOW ready for the cover of Vogue! Good job and good healing!!!
In entertaining the idea of being on the cover of Vogue, I know exactly what I will wear! My draperies made out of your fabrics!!!!!!! 🙂
louAnne Kirkwood said:
Hi, Glad to find your blog. Sorry you went through that, but its helpful to me that you are sharing your thoughts and feelings. I understand your feelings. I don’t think most of the people in my life do, not that its their fault. Only someone going through this can.
I am 2 weeks tomorrow with my graph. My plastic surgery didn’t happen the same day as it should have, but 5 days later, so…may be some extra issues. I wonder how your keloid started? Was it just little bumps (which I have developed). Its got me very upset, weepy all day yesterday and this morning. I feel guilty for being so upset about this, so many people suffer worse things, but this is my current issue and its been a nightmare. My graph was taken from behind my ear, which is very painful and will be tight, apparently for months. But not visible. I was surprised yours came from the front.
Yours healed very well, even with the keloid. It looks really good for 10 weeks!! Now I am a little worried about that the bumps developing into a keloid. They downplayed everything. Mine is very close to the eye, but not as close to the duct, and much bigger. I emailed the Dr a photo today, and they said to start massaging with vit E cream
I think you look wonderful, and I love your drapery work. I live in PA too, near Mildford. Good luck and thanks for sharing.
Dear Lou Ann,
I am so sorry to hear that you are going through what you are. The purpose of my blog was to share my crazy ramblings about the thought process and like you said, the only way to really understand what we are going through is to really have gone through it yourself. Please allow yourself to grieve and to cry and have all those feelings you are currently feeling and not feel like you are being selfish. We all have situations that could be much much worse but everyone has a different threshold of tolerance and this is what you are going through. Don’t discount your pain and don’t let anyone else discount it either.
When my keloid started, it did have a small bump. Because my graft was in 2 sections, it started on the bottom half and has continued to stay. Your timing is impeccable, because just this past Wednesday I had my checkup and had to get the keloid injected again and I am now sitting here with a beautiful bruise and red marks and not really enjoying the fact that it hurts. I had to have another biopsy done right next to the same spot so I am awaiting the results from that. I have good days and bad days still because of the keloid and new spot as well as nerve damage that makes it incredibily sensitive to the cold. I get what I call freezer burn on the whole left side of my face now with damp cold days. Not pleasant I can tell you as sometimes I feel like I could rip the side of my face off and be done with it all. 😦
Please feel free to continue to reply and communicate. You are only 2 weeks out and time does take care of some things. Stay with the massaging like your doctor recommended. My graft looks great on the upper section where it has attached itself to the rest of the skin. Just a stupid keloid is getting in the way with the bottom half. The graft site at my ear does continue to hurt from time to time.
Where is Mildford?
louAnne Kirkwood said:
Oh geez, another one eh? I seem to get those little bumps near the eye lashes, but they go away. Maybe yours will be nothing! I hope so.
Thanks for the encouragement. I have bumps in several places. The Dr doesn’t want to see me for a month, to make sure it doesn’t get hard he said. He never mentioned the word keloid. When I asked what if it gets hard, he said, “Oh we’ll have to inject it with something,” and changed the subject. I understand the thinking, why make me worry if I don’t need to, but these new bumps have me uneasy.
I am so sorry anyone has to go through this.
I really didn’t want to be cut, so when I first got my diagnosis 2 yrs ago, I found a dermatologist that had me use this cream that brought it out and killed it (supposedly). That was a month of hell, but we thought it worked. He only looked at it and said it looked good but if anything comes back, if I feel anything, to say something.
Well, I did feel something again a year later, so went to a different dermatologist, recommended by a friend. He did another biopsy, which was bad enough. It couldn’t be stitched because it pulled my eye down, so it was left open, but healed. So, he knew once they did the MOHS, I’d need plastic surgery. By the time they finished it was the end of the day, then the surgeon was away, so it was 5 days later. I guess that wasn’t ideal.
So its good to know something can be done about the keloid, though I’m sure its uncomfortable. Why is your graft in two pieces, I guess that is due to the keloid? I’m sorry you are dealing with further scares/biopsies and complications. Nerve damage? That’s adding insult to injury. Maybe that will heal in time. Have you researched that? I am thinking to do acupuncture soon, I know they can help with everything.
Thanks for listening.
Best of luck, and I hope you hear soon!
It took 3 weeks for my keloid to form but because I got those from previous mole removals, I knew what it was right away. It sounds like you should have had Mohs from the beginning. I could not do the cream therapy as it was too close to my eye, Mohs was the only alternative. My brilliant plastic surgeon placed the graft in two sections because as I would start aging, there would be a wrinkle forming in the area at my eye. This way, when I do get that wrinkle, it won’t be noticeable.
Keep me posted about your recovery process.
louAnne Kirkwood said:
Yes, I probably should have had the Mohs right away, was just trying to avoid having my face cut.
I’m glad your plastic surgeon was good. My graft looks disgusting. He did do one thing right, he allowed for swelling to go down and not pull my eyelid with it, but it looks like someone sewed a big blob of skin on my cheek (which is what happened, but…) It will be 3 weeks on Tues. Its hard, he said to massage the hell out of it, but I can barely stand to touch it. Its awful. He took a q-tip and rubbed the hell out of it, its been really sore ever since, and the lumps are still there. Maybe its not a keloid, but its just WEIRD. Struggling with my feelings. Felt a total lack of support from the people in my life too…most just didn’t get all the gravity of the situation. Hard to have to work on my own acceptance of this, and forgiveness of my friends and family. Insult to injury.
Weren’t you waiting for results of another biopsy?
you are still in the early stages of acceptance and your emotions will be conflicting at times. It’s hard not to look at it first thing in the morning when you wake up, I know, to see if it’s getting better! That’s why I took pictures because now that I am almost 5 months out, I can see the progress even though it has been very slow.
Yes, I had another biopsy and got the results so when I get time, I am planning on blogging about it and giving a 5 month status update. I am still bruised 2 weeks later from my injection so haven’t noticed any significant progress and maybe this is just how it’s going to be. There are bigger things in life I have to focus on now, which is another blog post, so I have to keep myself focused on the bigger picture.
And that is: for now, no more cancer 🙂 Please keep me updated on your progress and feel free to email me personally if you like. I am here to help you heal.
louAnne Kirkwood said:
Yeah Tammi!!!!! (on the no more cancer!) Maybe you should not say “for now.” Just a thought. I had some Reiki this weekend, and the woman said to send my tissues love and acceptance. That’s not easy, but makes sense.
You are cancer free!!! I don’t even think in those kind of possibilites, too soon and I don’t believe its going to happen again. For both of us!
Look forward to the blog post. You are very kind. Its SO nice to be understood!
louAnne Kirkwood said:
I don’t easily see your email, so I’m just posting here again. I found your blog from “Things Happen'” blog. She mentioned it, and I’m experiencing the same problem with massaging. Were you successful in massaging? I reread hers, just now and it helped to hear she experienced the same feelings. I am so weepy and down! I don’t feel like anyone understands except you two. I am sure there are others out there, of course. I know people have written to you both. I don’t see how massaging can break down this tough tissue, and it hurts so much. Mine still hurts, stingy and burning. Feels like something is crawling under there. 3 weeks today. Think I will take more photos so I can see progress….looking hard for it, but not seeing it. Maybe I need to stop looking.
sally smith said:
Hi, my name is Sally and I’m sorry I never found your name in your journal. Yes….wasn’t I also the sun worshipper! I found a little growth on my lower lid feb 2014. I had it looked at twice, had meds and in june 2015 was told possible skin cancer. It took 2 months to have surg done due to ins. I had a Hughes procedure done, similar to Mohs. All is well and preparing to finish the reconstruction and BAM, a little pimple thingy nnext to the incision site. My Dr did an awesome job and now in distress due to the pimple. He gave me instructions. That was on a Monday. By Sunday night there were five little pimples that were growing together and over the eyelid. First reconstruction finished and biopsy of the growth which were of course BCC. Long story short I had another surgery with a skin graft from my chest and its was done in the hospital and God. I do not know how you did that in the doctor’s office I would have been insane. So like you I am nervous about any future growth And he was worried there you could have possibly going to the eye socket. So now I’m a mental case because all I can think of is that if it comes back and its by the eye socket how will I know if it came back because you cannot see it.
I am having some discomfort with the colder weather on my eye and skin graft. I guess I might be homebound awhile. My lid is sewed shut halfway so might as well stay in. I hope the little pamphlet under your lash is neg. I’m so grateful for your journal. It’s helping me to know someone actually knows what I’m going through and scared of the unknown. …will it come back etc. Thank you once again.
So sorry to hear you are going through this too. As I read your comment this morning it brought tears to my eyes because I know those emotions all too well. And I still suffer from the nerve damage 4 years out. There is no rhyme or reason, never know when it will act up, sometimes it’s cold out, sometimes it’s not and it acts up. Distressing at times and hard to figure out but I just blink back the tears and frustration and try not to let it get the best of me.
I am glad that I was able to help you out. I’ll be honest, a couple years ago I was rereading some of my posts about this when I was in a stronger frame of mind and thought what a neurotic girl I was……until you posted your comment……and then the emotions came right back and that’s why I teared up…..you see, there are days where you will not even be aware of what you’ve been through with this and those are far into your future at this point, but I was reminded that what I was feeling at the time was and still is legitimate.
I hope you have a good support system and if I can be of any future encouragement please post here again. I have had several people that have been through this keep in touch and this reminds me that I need to follow up with one of them. I wish you the best and know that you are not alone.
Sally Smith said:
Hi louAnne, Sally Smith again. FINALLY after 7 wks of my eye being shut it’s done!!! I’ve never been so glad to even have ONE eye! So far, no more cancer! It feels mostly normal and my graft looks like yours. I asked my Dr if it were to come back by my eye socket…..how will I know? He said it will start ON the skin first and invade down. Relieved!!!! My wonderful Dr Shah has just taken a position as assistant professor of ocular plastic surg at University of Chicago. I’m so happy that he can pass on his knowledge. I’ll let you know how it’s going. Hope you’re well and you look GREAT!!!
Thanks for giving me your update!
bob lanini said:
Thanks for posting everything you have so far. I had MOHS on a bcc on my nose about three weeks ago, a skin flap process(used to fill in the hole in my nose ) removed two weeks ago, and the stitches removed a week ago. I do have a somewhat pronounced lump on my right nostril where the bcc was removed. I received keloids from a shoulder injury years ago as a teen but not sure if the nose bump is that or not. I have an awesome dermatologist who recommends i pinch down on the bump regularly after healing a bit and she said steroid injections might be needed and helpful later. The healing you’ve experienced on your keloid is really amazing and gives me hope that mine will get better over time also. Thanks again for sharing.
Thanks for taking the time read my blog and sharing your experience with me. To this date, I still have nerve damage when the cold air hits it so it’s my reminder to stay out of the sun or cover up good 🙂
Phyllis Smith said:
Hi Tammi just read I, II and now IV Thank you again for your words, you are helping me so much as I prepare myself for this scary journey I am about to take. I have a BCC Mohs and reconstruction surgery scheduled for 10-30-2017. You have helped me the most with your words about giving up control and trusting the doctor. Being the control freak I am, this is the hardest part.
In my case my biggest concern is the final scar, and will I be able to cover it with make cosmetic tricks. My Ocular Plastic surgeon has only said Oh you will have a scar but I can’t even describe what it will look like because everybody is different, he makes total sense but, not helpful with my freak out factor. This is why I am so grateful you posted the pictures, you look beautiful now and I only pray 10 1/2 weeks out I look as great as you do. My mohs is going to involve all the way in the corner of my eye area, hopefully the plastic surgeon will not have to reconstruct my tear ducts, I know you said that you had a tear duct doctor standing by, did you need tear duct work done? Again, Thanks so much, You’re the BEST Phyllis