Friday, August 22, 2014

A Tale of a Nose, That Keeps Growing

Hello, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, to share another story of Brenda's life.
In fact, this is actually going to be 3 stories, surrounding the same subject,
her nose.

Brenda had the great pleasure of taking an online writing course that CreakyJoints
(I love that name) offered, taught by author, Lynn Lauber last summer. Here is an
excerpt from that story. This will be in my own words. I hope good old Trevor
here, can do it justice. BOL

Brenda's Mom, had told her this story many times. It seems while she was in the
nursery, the nurses would just stare at her nose, because it was turned up a tiny
bit and thought it was the cutest thing.

Her Mom always thought that her nose was her best feature, and when her deviated
septum was discovered years later, she was afraid of what might happen, to as she
put it "her beautiful nose." It was just a nose to Brenda that apparently got in the
way of a door, when she was in grade school and ended up breaking her glasses
in half. Apparently, she grew some excess cartilage, and that is why she ended
up with a deviated septum.

It was starting to cause sinus issues and bad headaches. The surgery was a success
and all an inside job, so her beautiful nose was still intact. She just sometimes has
problems getting glasses to fit properly because of the excess, that they took from
the bridge of her nose. As for the sinus issues, they came back in full force when
she was prescribed Methotrexate for her RA. Even though she no longer takes it,
her sinus issues remain, as that was confirmed by an ENT specialist. He did say
however, that whoever did her nose surgery did a nice job because it was so nice
and clean.

One thing her plastic surgeon said to her that could happen and it did, was a
perforated septum, which is hard to avoid. He said it would look like someone
who had snorted cocaine. She has 2 holes inside her nasal cavity, that she didn't
realize were there, until it was pointed out by another ENT specialist. You can't
see them unless you look real close into a mirror.

Several months ago, when she went to her PCP, she mentioned that she had this
lesion on the right side of her nose, that just wasn't healing. Brenda knew deep
down, that this was probably a type of skin cancer. She remembers in school
being told that if you ever develop a sore and it doesn't heal over time, it
probably is cancer. She had this for over a year, just thinking at first, that it
was just a deep pimple, and just needed to come to a head and would go
away. That was not the case here. It would bleed at times and was hard to
stop and it looked ugly. So when her PCP said, it looked like basal cell,
which is the most common kind of skin cancer and the most treatable,
she was not surprised.

She was sent to a dermatologist, initially for a shave biopsy, where the result
came back as a basal cell carcinoma. She was then referred to a dermatologist
who specializes in the MOHS procedure, where they take a layer of skin and
then look under the microscope, to see if they got all of the cancer. If not, this
is repeated again, until this is accomplished.

Brenda had the procedure done on August 21st and thankfully, they got all of
the cancer, with just removal of the first layer. She did have to wait about an
hour for the result.

The next step is to repair or reconstruct the area, that the MOHS procedure was
performed on. There was no way they could take any skin from her nose, as
she has small nostrils and it would be difficult to breathe. There were several
options and all of this was explained to Brenda. Those discussed were around
her cheek, and behind her ear. None of these sounded appealing to Brenda. They
discussed her skin tone and wanting to match as closely as they could, so it was
decided mutually, to take from her forehead, as this was a pretty good match,
with regard to skin tone, pores, etc.

Of course this will not be a 100% match, so the surgeon suggested, she use
some type of cosmetic concealer.

She ended up with about 7 stitches and she has to cleanse the wound area
twice a day, as well as change a dental roll, in her right nostril daily.

She is doing pretty well, with minimal pain, which she has pain pills on hand,
to use if needed. She has taken a couple and will for sure at bedtime. She
cannot lift, push or pull, anything greater than 10 pounds for 2 weeks. Only
bending with the knees. She has pretty much everything set up high, so she
doesn't have to be concerned about bending over.

She had a wonderful dermatological surgeon, who explained every step in
great detail. They even shared a laugh or two, along the way.

This MOHS procedure has a 98% cure rate. You really cannot get much better
than that, can you?

This is Trevor, signing off, but before I do, we just want to thank everyone for
your prayers, phone calls, cards and positive thoughts, during this time. Brenda
is going to rest and regain her strength and go on, just like she always does. She
is getting geared up for her 6th Craniversary on September 8th. This blog is a
result of her becoming a brain tumor survivor in the first place, so she has a
lot to celebrate and look forward to.