Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Told You I Was Bad At Math

As I said to Pony Express today, my calculations, they were mis.

I expected that the biopsy would come back as cancer and I strongly suspected it would be basal cell carcinoma. (FYI, squamous cell was the other choice that I couldn't remember.) I also expected that upon finding that out the doctor would have me lay down, cut out the carcinoma, stitch it up and send me to work. I was sort of annoyed that I'd have to deal with the whole stitch business for another week but at least it'd be all over.

Part of the above paragraph was correct.

Any guesses?

Yeah, so it's just not that simple. Never is.

Weirdly enough later in the day I was reading Dooce and she linked to Mihow who is having the same procedure done today. She has kindly written a whole post with links and stuff about the procedure. Please go and see her and give her some good vibes and read up on all those links so I don't have to do all the googling.

Here's the run down, on the 27th at 2pm I'll go to some hoity toity office on the Upper East side. They'll prep me and cut out what they think is the whole carcinoma. I'll go to the waiting room and, well, wait while they look at the sample and see if it has good margins. If there are good margins I'll get stitched up and sent home. If they aren't adequate then they'll take out more and send me back to the waiting room for more waiting. Apparently a typical patient gets 2-3 rounds before they get to go home.

I'm OK with it being cancer. It's my fault (I'll give you the PSA on sunscreen later) on some level so it's not a huge surprise and it's something that can be dealt with relatively easily.

I'm not so OK with the surgery factor. They have to tell you all the worst case scenarios because of the liability. They have to. Even if you kind of don't want to hear. I mean, yeah, I'd rather hear because I don't want to be surprised, and yet there's a lot to think about.

1. Since the spot is on my face I might get black eyes. They might get so black they swell shut. It might happen as late as 3-4 days after the surgery. I'm OK with black eyes. I'm really not OK with going blind even for a short time. Fortunately if I keep my head elevated and ice the shit out of my forehead and eyes I can probably avoid the swollen shut part.

2. Pain. I don't like pain. Totally against it. I can't take any A1eve for 2 weeks prior to the surgery and even after the surgery I get only Ty1eno1. Fortunately if that doesn't work he gave me a prescription for Ty1eno1 with c0deine.

3. Ripped stitches. The idea of ripped stitches has been freaking me out since I got the biopsy stitch and now I'll have to think about it some more. These will be in for 1-2 weeks.

4. Baldness. The trauma of the surgery at the hairline may keep the hair from growing back. Sweet. I think it'll only be an elimination of my widow's peak but really who knows how far back it'll go.

5. Prophylactic antibiotics. I hate taking antibiotics. I hate yeast infections which are part and parcel of antibiotic ingestion for me. I've got a plan for trying to head it all off at the pass but I'm not optimistic.

6. I'm supposed to wear something in dark colors that does not go on and off over my head. Seriously? Seriously? The only shirts I have that are warm enough for this time of year that are dispensible and fit the other criteria are some quite elderly flannel ones. I'm going to have to dress like the last standing member of the Curt Cobain fan club.

7. Did I mention more stitches? I am sort of wigging about having to have more put in. I don't want to be awake for that. The sound and the intense yanking around of my scalp is gross. Though I may get a mini face lift out of the deal. If the spot stays centered on my forehead they'll do a horizontal scar by lifting up from the bottom. If it goes off to the side then they'll have to go vertical because horizontal would result in one eyebrow higher than the other. I've always wanted to be able to raise just one eyebrow but apparently a permanent look of skeptical disdain isn't recommended. I think anti-anxiety meds are in order but I'm having a little trouble getting the prescription.

8. I'm not supposed to go to work for the rest of the week. On the one hand that's cool 'cause I'm not a huge fan of the j.o.b. but on the other hand that's a long time to be out of work for one small spot on my forehead. I have a bunch of unwatched DVDs and, swollen eyes willing, I'll catch up.

9. I have to have someone come with me and take responsibility for me when I leave. This is so complicated and weird and hard to deal with. I'm very good at waiting on my own, I am not very good at waiting with other people. Fortunately Pony Express is having none of my protestations. She's running the company she works for entirely on her own for the month of November. When I told her I didn't want to be responsible for the demise of theatrical lighting that day she basically said "Shut Up." She couched it in some nice stuff about how she'd just be thinking about what was going on all afternoon so there was no point in her being at work. She'll come home with me walk the dog, feed the pets and make sure I ice myself and that the remotes are within reach.

10. I have to have a dermatologist check me out every 6 months for the rest of my life. I find this annoying and depressing, which I know is silly but you know, it's a blog, you're supposed to be honest.

Hey, look, that turned into my 10 Things Tuesday. Though I'm sure you haven't heard the end of this tale, there's plenty more whining to be done.


  1. Well. That sucks. Poor sweet baby -- I'll be sending gentle vibes your way (perhaps I should be sending them the surgeon's way?)

    PS -- I think you should totally go for the perpetual sardonic look. It works for Jon Stewart.

  2. I am the comment elf. No I ain't no fairy. I'm handing comments to all the nablopomo people I can find. Here's one for you.

  3. I got your back sis. Pony Express is THE PERSON for this job. Everyone else, or additional persons will only add to your stress and that is NOT acceptable. So. Instead of buying a ticket right this minute, I shall sit here, be here to listen and or to comment, plan your goodie box...ie the brail porn of Joshua Jackson and lot's of pudding, and figure out what the fuck you're supposed to wear to this fiesta. Pony Express will do the rest. You are in good hands my dear...hey do you want i should send a white walking stick?

    big big big fat ass monkey love coming your way from the Frontier.

  4. You can make up some really fun stories about why you have two black eyes...'cuz you know that's all you're going to hear four days later at the bodega..."Oh, my god, are you alright? What happened?"

    and then you say......?

  5. I don't like this one little bit. I'm sending good vibes all the way from the great state of Washington. I hope everything goes smoothly and that they give you serious pain killers...and that your widow's peak remains intact--I have spent my whole life wanting one.

  6. Anonymous11:41 PM

    Good vibes emanating from PA, too. So sorry about this.

  7. Anonymous12:03 AM

    And more from Washington... I agree. Pony Express is just what the doctor ordered, or would have, if he/she knew Pony Express.

  8. We IMed about this yesterday - just know I'm right here if/when you need anything that I can provide. Oh, and Zelda? I LOVE the idea of braille porn!

  9. Lookie here!! Lookie here at ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU!!! at ALL the people who took time out of their life to say a little prayer and leave a little comment.



  10. Anonymous8:46 AM

    I'm so sorry to hear it. Support and good energy is coming at you (and the surgeon!) from sunny New England My mom had this procedure done - on her nose - years ago and apart from a character-enhancing divot, she's none the worse for wear, AND she has a fabulous conversation piece.

  11. Argh, yuckadoodles. But look on the bright side: the mini facelift and also the chance to wear some groovy headscarves. We will help out in any way possible during this ordeal. Also: I have painkillers.

  12. Yes, many people do love you.
    We would all give the other one a kidney if they needed it.
    I am going to think about you and this a lot. And its just going to be fine.
    Just fine.

  13. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Here's hoping everything goes as swimmingly as possible - but this is in no way your fault! I guess you could go around in a big brimmed hat, but there's been some studies recently that indicate that sunscreens cause more cancers than they prevent! (And sun exposure actually aids in prevention of some cancers.) So no guilt allowed!!!