Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Some People Collect Stamps ....

.... and I get to collect cancers.


We all know about the Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma I have.  About a year ago my doctor diagnosed me with two more.  One is a Basal-Cell Carcinoma and the other is a Squamous-Cell Carcinoma.  Both are skin cancers. Both are related to sun exposure.  They're fairly common.

I decided i really didn't want to know a whole lot about these additions to my "collection".  I just wanted the fucking things gone.  Fortunately these cancers are fairly easy to deal with.  I had the Basal-Cell and one occurrence of of the Squamous removed late last summer.  I had another Squamous-Cell removed from my right temple just the other day.

I went through what's called "Mohs Surgery".  It's fairly straightforward.  They numb you up with Lidocaine.  In my case they used a Lidocaine cocktail of sorts, tailored to reduce the bleeding that would occur because of the Coumadin I take.  Anyway, they numb you up, and then proceed to cut away the affected skin.  They bandage you up and send you back to the waiting room for a couple hours while they send the tissue to the lab for analysis.  If the lab says they got all of the cancer, they stitch or staple you up and send you home.  If the think some cancer was missed, they repeat the process and continue with that until they get it all.

They got mine on the first try.

So they stitched me up.  They had removed an area about the size an almond.  Fortunately the doctor is a plastic surgeon and does a great job making sure I don't end up looking like Frankenstein's monster.  They covered it with a dressing that made it look like I'd been gun-shot, gave me a prescription for Vicodin and sent me home with instructions.

The instructions were of the usual sort.  They included things like keep the area dry, no bending over, keep my blood pressure down ......

And stay off the bike.  For two weeks.

Two fucking weeks.

I was pissed.  Bad enough to loose a day's pay to have somebody dig a almond-sized hunk of flesh off your head.  But to leave the office with instructions to cease a beneficial and fun activity was bordering on the intolerable.  I have a couple centuries in June to train for.  The weather is starting to warm up.  It's glorious out there, and I'm stuck with doctors orders to take it easy.


But what can you do?

You contemplate your growing collection of cancers and follow doctor's orders.


On the bright side it's less that two weeks till I'm back in the saddle.  I have a dressing change on Friday and maybe the doctor will see that I'm healing beautifully, relent, and let me get back on the bike.

With my luck they'll want to biopsy a suspicious spot on the other side of my face and plan the next Mohs Surgery.

I can hardly wait.