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A Challenge of a Different Sort

I’m happy to report I survived my day of advanced driver’s training and even managed to develop a little more confidence behind the wheel along the way. However, in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, I have another stomach-churning challenge to face this summer… this time one I did not choose.

The “nice” way of saying it is that I have a spot near the corner of my eye that has tested positive for basal cell carcinoma.

The not-so-nice, far more intimidating way of saying it is that I’ve been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer.

glassesThe good news, I’m told, is that this is a form of cancer so common they don’t even track stats on how many people have it. (I’m not sure why that’s “good” news… I guess I’m supposed to feel strength in numbers or something along those lines.) More reassuring is the fact the cure rate is particularly high, especially if caught early, which we believe is the case with mine.

However, the nerve-wracking part is that because of the location of my inflicted area (the spot is right next to the top of my nose less than a quarter inch from the corner of my left eye), I will be undergoing removal by a Moh’s surgeon in a process that could take just a few hours or all day, depending upon what they find as they go along.

Sounds simple enough … it’s an outpatient procedure in which the surgeon numbs up the area, removes a layer of cells, does some testing and scrutinizing under a microscope, and then determines if they got it all. If they did, congrats… they’re done. If not, it’s back under the knife for another layer. This process repeats for as long as necessary until they are sure they’ve gotten every last little cancerous bit. Once that point is reached, they either let the area heal on its own (the hope) or go forward with some sort of reconstructive work.

The stomach-churning, I’m-trying-not-to-think-about-it-too-much part is what happens if the nasty cells are lodged closer to my eye area than they first appear.

We’re just not going to go there right now. (And hopefully the surgeon won’t have to either!)

In the meantime, I’m armed with a pair of what I’m calling “vanity glasses” to help me survive the first few weeks post-op. (Stare at the glasses all you want… just don’t stare at the hole in my face.) And I’ve been jokingly promised a bedazzled eye patch from my walking buddy who has been nice enough not to complain about my frequent updates and nervous chatter during our daily breaks the last few weeks. (REALLY hoping I don’t need that eye patch… at least not for long!)

My surgery is scheduled for this Thursday starting at 9:30 a.m. in Billings. For the second time in less than a month… (please) wish me luck!

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