My journey began in early 2016. I was putting my makeup on in natural light like I always do. That day I noticed an area on my nose that seemed to be a fairly large bump under my skin.
Since I have had several basal cells throughout the years, I am familiar with what they look like. I didn't think this was one, but I made an appointment for the Mohs Doctor to take a look at it. The Doctor thought it was some sort of cyst. She took a biopsy and it came back a basal cell. I thought, "Oh no, here we go again". I was thankful though it was just a basal cell.
To see my journey with pictures of my progress, go to the link at the bottom of this page.
I was also thankful that God had it show up the way it did. It seemed to appear over night, which was not typical for a basal cell. If the bump had not raised like it did, I would not have known it was growing under the skin and I could have lost my whole nose! If you have a spot on your skin that is suspicious, do not hesitate! Have it checked out immediately!
I was sent to Dr. Chi for a consultation on how he would repair my nose once the basal cell was removed. He mentioned several options. He explained to me that depending on the size of the lesion, a forehead flap may be needed. He explained it was the best option for large lesions on the nose, and that this usually leads to the best results. I sat there crying hoping that it would not come to that.
Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains.
Mohs surgery was scheduled to remove the basal cell. The Mohs Doctor said I should plan to be at the surgery office all day. That sent a signal to me that it may be much larger than it appeared on the surface. After 4 passes, margins were clear and the basal cell was gone!! Praise God!!
Repair was supposed to be the day after my Mohs surgery, but since I had a urinary tract infection, Dr. Chi did not feel comfortable putting me through the surgery with a risk of infection. Surgery was rescheduled for a week later in the morning.
The day of surgery came and I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. I was so thankful that there was a way to repair the lesion and that I would not have to walk around with part of my nose gone. I had done some research on line and found pictures and stories from others that had forehead flap surgery. That helped ease my mind.
I was in recovery for several hours. My husband was with me and he drove me home around 7 that evening. I could barely walk! My son came over and he and my husband helped me get up the steps into our house. Even though they had given me something so I would not feel nauseous, I still got sick from the anesthesia as soon as we got home. Once I got sick, I felt much better. I was sent home with pain pills that I only took for a few days.
The next morning I looked in the mirror and it was pretty traumatic seeing the flap for the first time. It looked like I had a finger growing across my nose. I was not surprised, since I had seen other images on line. It was still disconcerting though. I followed the Doctor's orders and took care of the surgical area like he instructed me too. I wanted to get through this with no complications if at all possible. I thought for the best outcome, I should follow the Doctor's orders. I also prayed that God would heal me quickly!
When I went to see Dr. Chi a week after my surgery, he removed some stitches and bandages. He and his nurse were both amazed at how good everything looked. He said he could tell that I was taking such good care of the surgery areas. I thought to myself, "Doesn't everybody take care of themselves after surgery? Why would you not??" I asked him if he was going to close up the area on my forehead and he reassured me the skin would regenerate and that it would heal up on its own. I kept it covered until it was completely healed. He said I could leave it uncovered, but I felt better not having it exposed in public.
I learned quickly that I was not immune to feelings of despair. A couple weeks after surgery, after looking in the mirror, I had a thought that I could not do this anymore! The feeling, or thought, was gone almost in the same instant. I trusted God to take care of me, had faith that He would heal me, and I knew He would. I reminded myself that it could have been so much worse! I thought, "I can do this!! Day by day, keep moving forward and get to the end of this journey!"
I had my surgery to disconnect the forehead flap one month after the initial surgery. That surgery went well. It was so nice to look in the mirror and actually see my nose again!
As I was healing from the flap disconnection, there seemed to be a knot forming by my left eyebrow where the flap had been connected. Dr. Chi said it was probably an osteoma benign growth.
He scheduled another surgery to remove the osteoma and revise the scar on the tip of my nose. He also decided to lower my left eyebrow so it was more in line with my other one. The surgery would need to be done in the hospital under anesthesia again. That surgery also went well. He put a splint on my nose during surgery and at post op visit one week later it was removed along with the stitches. I looked like I had been hit by a Mac truck, but I healed up quickly.
I went to Dr. Chi six weeks after the revision surgery. He was very pleased with the results and so was I! He told me to stay out of the sun and always wear sunscreen and a hat if I am going outside.
I may need one more surgery to thin the tissue/bump near my left eyebrow where the flap had been connected. My Doctor said he could do that surgery in the office. He wanted to wait three months to see if it would go away on its own. He said if it does not, he will fix it for me. I go back to see him in May 2017.
I am so thankful that the basal cell is GONE and I am on the back side of this journey.
I am hopeful that my story may help others that are facing forehead flap surgery. If you ever have an area on your skin that just doesn't look quite right, don't hesitate!! Make an appointment and have it checked immediately! Getting it checked out quickly may not only save you from many surgeries and possible scarring, but it could also save your life!
If you would like to contact me I would be happy to hear from you.
With God's healing touch, the love and support from my husband and the excellent care I received from Dr. Council and Dr. Chi, I am able to proclaim that my journey was a complete success!
Email Sue firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see pictures of my progress. Warning - Graphic!