Tag Archives: moh’s surgery

Some Stuff.

24 Apr

Here’s, a fast update on my Costco/Kroger budget attemtps. You may remember my goal was $200 monthly at Costco, and $50 weekly at Kroger. Well the Costco trips have been more like $278, and the Kroger has been more like $64 (in one recent case it was $96, but we’ll blame that on needing cat litter and dog food). Whenever my grocery bill is more than I expected I always attribute it to a pet cost. It’s easy to blame the animals – they have no idea what’s going on.


“Kiwi food for pay dollar money? Huhh???”


I would post a picture of my cat, but she won’t sign the photo release. I’m also not allowed to look her directly in the eye, so that makes things difficult too.

So, I’m attempting to learn about essential oils to combat my anxiety issues, which is in turn, causing me more anxiety. The whole thing reminds me heavily of when I first started looking into cloth diapers. Oh, so many words. Article upon article, each with a dozen links to more articles. How far into the future do we have to get before that smell-o-vision technology is available? It would be really helpful if I could experience these oils while I’m feeling overwhelmed at learning about them. That would be the true test. When I speak to people about essential oils, I find this: one-third swear by them for any and all ailments, another third think they’re basically scented water placebos, and everyone else just shrugs. Up until very recently, I was a shrugger. However I’m at a point with my OCD/Anxiety where I have to do something new, and I have absolutely no interest in anti-anxiety medication. The whole train wreck is loads better right now than it’s been in months (since the Moh’s surgery), but I know that’s because I’ve recently had an assortment of medical testing done, producing a temporary peace of mind that my body is functioning as it should. That will go away eventually and I’ll be back to scrutinizing both sides of my rib cage in the mirror for 20 minutes, obsessing over why they’re not perfectly symmetrical. Confession: that has already happened. So maybe oils will help. Plus, yes – I am going to make an appointment to talk to someone who doesn’t already love me, to get some objective counseling. You guessed it…that makes me anxious too.

You may wonder why someone who knows and loves Jesus, from whom all peace and joy flows, would suffer from anxiety and worry. I don’t know. I will say I’m usually safe during times of centered prayer, or when I’m immersed in the culture of my amazing church, or when I’m deep in conversation with treasured friends, or during peaceful moments at home with my family. My anxiety ultimately creeps in when I least expect it and jumps on me, like some crappy snake. I never know when it’s going to be there until it’s there.

I believe God has given me access to tools to combat this. Maybe the tools are essential oils, maybe it’s a counselor, maybe it’s something else I haven’t discovered yet. Either way, He’s with me, I can feel it as clearly as I can feel the clothes I’m wearing.






The one where I had skin cancer

5 Jan

So, on January 2, 2014 I had two facial surgeries. The first surgery was to remove skin cancer cells from the space between my upper lip and my nose, and the second surgery (plastic) was to repair the damage done by the first surgery. Here’s how it happened.

Back in September I went to the dermatologist for what I thought was a suspicious bump on my scalp. Cute story: I have skin that, if left in the sun for longer than 10 minutes, will burst into flames, so I’m on guard about every new bump or discoloration that pops up on my body. So after a few days of hanging upside down over the bathroom mirror trying to see my scalp, I finally booked some time with my dermatologist to see what was going on. She tells me, after looking at my head for less than a second, that the mysterious bump is an infected hair follicle and nothing to worry about. I exhaled for the first time in days. I figure since I’m there, I’ll get my money’s worth and ask her a few other questions.

I had had a very very small black dot above my lip for months. Six, maybe eight. I was convinced it was a blackhead. I normally have pretty clear skin, acne-wise (holla, Noxzeema!), so I was confused at why it wasn’t going away. I asked her if she thought I would need to get special blackhead cleanser to make it go away. She looked at the spot, made a face, and leaned waaaaay in with her little magnifying glass/light thing. She made another face and said “hmm. I would let me biopsy that if I were you.”

As you can imagine, I’ve had a number of skin abnormalities removed, frozen, scraped, what-have-you, over the years. Doesn’t really bother me too much, so we did the biopsy with little fanfare. She remarked at how teeny the sample was and said it was probably nothing to worry about and she definitely didn’t want me losing sleep over it. The biopsy took all of the teeny dot away, so once it healed up in a week or so, there was absolutely nothing there to the naked eye. I kind of forgot about it.

Until I got the call. Basal Cell Carcinoma. I would need Moh’s Surgery. I would probably need to see a plastic surgeon afterwards, depending on how many cancer cells there were. SURPRISE!

Now, my mom has had two Moh’s surgeries herself, so believe  me when I tell you that talking to her was the ONLY thing keeping me hinged at this point. Here’s how Moh’s is done, in case you don’t know: The surgeon numbs the patient with local anesthesia, and removes a small amount of skin from the offending area. The sample is taken immediately to be analyzed to see if there are any remaining cancer cells. Patient waits. If cancer cells are found, surgeon removes more skin, and the process is repeated.

Going into the procedure, I was dauntlessly sure I would only need one pass with the knife. You can’t even SEE anything!  Plus I was in denial that I would have to do plastic surgery. I had previously discussed with my doctor the hope that, if I only needed one removal, I could maybe get away without it. “I can live with a small scar”, I said. Truthfully I was terrified of the plastic surgery because I knew I would have to be put to sleep for the operation. I’ve never had to experience general anesthesia before and the thought of helplessly losing conciousness crippled me with fear.

Well, NOPE to all of that. Guess how many dates with the knife I went on to remove a bunch of angry cells that were invisible? THREE. More than  my mom needed for angry spots she could actually see, more than either of us ever thought I would need, more than would let me escape the plastic surgeon. I had a hole in my face about the size of an M&M.

So I was booked that evening with one of the prominent facial plastic surgeons in Texas. My amazing wonderful best friend Michelle took my kids without hesitation, and my amazing wonderful husband drove me to the hospital in Plano. I trembled the entire way, trying to figure a way out of this.

Hospital bracelet on my wrist, one step closer. Hospital gown, another step closer, hair-net, a particularly unfortunate step closer. IV in arm, it’s over. No matter how much I struggle, they have access to my bloodstream now. I wonder if I’m being crazy. My husband grips my hand and remarks at how cold it is. He cups my IV’d hand to his mouth and blows warm breath on it, which makes me want to cry. I ask him if he’s worried about me. He says “Yes, of course.” This somehow makes me tremble harder. They bring me warm blankets to quell the shivering.

Prominent Facial Surgeon came in to talk to me. Here’s how it went:

Me: I’m freaking out. Do we have to put me to sleep?

PFS: ‘fraid so. You don’t wanna be awake for this, trust me.

Me: What if I don’t wake back up?

PFS: You will. Everyone does. I promise you’ll be fine.

Me: No! Don’t promise!! On Grey’s Anatomy whenever the doctor promises the patient they’ll be fine, they die!

PFS: <laughing> Oh please! Let’s not talk about how fake that show is.

(Anesthesiologist comes in)

A: You ready?

Me: No, I’m scared of being put to sleep

A: Do you get scared at night when you fall asleep?

Me: Well, no, but that’s different. I have control over that.

A: It’s not that different, really.

Me: What’s the name of whatever you’re using to incapacitate me?

A: Propofol

Me: Um, isn’t that what killed Michael Jackson?!

A: <Cringing> Yes, but his doctor was a moron. Trust me, I give this to elderly patients, frail patients, and they all come out fine. You will be fine.

Me: If you say so. Guess I  can’t live with a hole in my face. Let’s do this.

The nurse asks if my husband and I want to say any last minute I love yousor give eachother one more kiss, which makes me want to punch her. I thought you people said I was going to live!!

They wheel me into the operating room, which looks almost exactly like the OR in Grey’s, so I no longer believe the doctor’s claim that it’s “fake”. I lay there making nervous chatter with whoever will listen to me. I wish they would just give me the dang Michael Jackson drug already! Just do it so I’ll finally stop freaking shivering! I look up at the ceiling and it starts to spin a little. I ask my anesthesiologist friend if he’s started:

A: Yep!

Me: Oh shoot! Okay, what should I do?

A: Just relax

Me: Okay, I think I’ll just close my eyes and pretend I’m falling asleep at night

A: Okay, good.

Me: Or wait – should I count back from 99?

A: You watch too much television


The next thing I remember is someone calling my name. And asking me something about Christmas. They were asking me about my kids, about what I did for Christmas. I think someone said they have a 4 month old. I can’t remember what I said, but I remember feeling very well rested. I asked a nurse how long the operation had taken. Less than 30 minutes. I felt rested like I had been asleep for hours. Go propofol, I can see why Michael liked you so much.

I vaguely remember being very chatty with everyone on the way back to the recovery room. Probably just really happy to be alive. I was a little foggy, but for the most part no worse for the wear. Except I now looked like the illegitimate love child of Angelina Jolie and Frankenstein’s Monster.

Do you wanna see pics? Really? If you don’t, just stop reading. This is pretty much the end of the story. It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t wanna see. I might not want to see them either if I were you.






Just in case you accidentally scrolled this far, but don’t really want to see the pics, I’ll post this picture of a baby chick. You can still turn back.


Cheep Cheep! Turn back!!







Okay, here it is.



Scary, huh? Here’s what it looked like later that night.

Later that night

Later that night

And the next day:

a little less Angie

a little less Angie

Anyway. There it is. I never posted anything on Facebook about it because I never thought it would be such a big deal. I get my stitches out on Thursday and the goal is that in time, it will just look like a wrinkle.

Here’s the takeaway. PLEASE use sunscreen. Everywhere. Go to the dermatologist yearly, or if something pops up. Even if you think it’s nothing. And don’t use propofol unless you’re under the care of a responsible doctor.



my quest to establish the new "me"

Daily Crave

Daily Crave By Chef Natalie Lewis

The Good Greatsby

Paul Johnson's comedy blog: I didn't get into comedy to be rich or famous. All I've ever wanted was to be loved...by somebody rich and famous.

Simon C. Holland

some things are awesome, some not so much.