Life

All done

I’m a little late with this. Here’s how my head saga ends. Ten days after my Mohs procedure, I returned to the doctor to have the staples removed. There were 38. I asked if they were going to numb my head and the nurse said it wouldn’t hurt. She was right except for a couple where the skin had started to grow over them. The doctor came in and checked the wound and said it was looking great. He wanted to see me in a month and in the meantime I was to continue to wash it daily and keep it moist with petroleum jelly. I did and since I had to wear a bandage, I wore hats to work. Although it was nice not to have to style my hair, wearing hats became tiresome.

When I returned for my next visit, the doctor said the wound was healing really well and fast. He had to remove a few hairs that were embedded in the new tissue. That hurt more than the staples. I was given a prescription for cream to put on the wound twice a day for a week and released. Yep, the surgeon didn’t need to see me again unless there was a problem. He said to follow-up with my regular dermatologist. I followed the instructions and continued to wear a hat while using the cream. Now I am able to go without a hat and my hair has grown long enough for a comb-over. But, I gladly show it to anyone who asks. I want everyone to be aware of what could happen from too much sun exposure.

Life

The Saga Continues

One week after my January 6th surgery, it was back to the dermatologist to get my stitches out and get the results of my second biopsy. Not good. He still didn’t get it all. So, he scheduled another surgery for the next week. I was really disappointed. Of course, there was nothing I could do about it. My second procedure was the same routine as before, he numbed my head and explained how he was going to proceed. I asked what would happen if the wound was too big to cover. He gave me four options (none of which were appealing) and said he wouldn’t know until he “got in there.” He put a cloth around the area and started cutting. As I’m sitting there listening to him do his thing, I wondered what the skin/meat was like – was it like cutting into raw chicken or pork? Sick, I know, but what else did I have to think about? When it was time to stitch up the area, he really had to pull the skin to get it to close. I could feel the skin tighten on the right side of my head. Now I have a slight idea of what it is like to have a facelift. When he finished, he left so the nurse could clean up the area. I asked her my question about chicken or pork and she said “No one has ever asked me that before. Now every time we do this, I will be thinking ‘chicken or pork’!” She assumed it would be like chicken. When Doctor returned, I asked him. He didn’t hesitate and said pork.

I had more pain this time. Mostly because of the taught skin. Not only did the top of my head hurt, but I had pain in my right ear. Ear pain is one of the worst pains there is. I took the prescribed pain pills this time, and it only cut the pain in half. So, I took Ibuprofen too. I also massaged the right side of my head trying to loosen up and stretch the skin. It helped. I was so glad to get the pressure bandage off, they make it as tight as they can to stop the bleeding. I must admit I didn’t wait the full 24 hours like I was supposed to.

Continue reading “The Saga Continues”

Life

A Hole in My Head

I was never a sun worshiper.  Laying around sweating to get a tan wasn’t my thing.  So I was very surprised the first time I was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 27.  Luckily, it wasn’t Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.  My skin cancer was Basal Cell Carcinoma. BCCs are slow-growing.  The doctor told me it was probably from sun exposure when I was a child.  When I was little, not as much was known about skin cancer.  Blue, green or gray eyed, fair-complexioned children are more at risk, but all children should wear sun screen and hats when playing in the sun.

My first BCC was on my back and grew quite large.  I had always had a mole there.  I used to rub it subconsciously, like people who play with their hair.  One day I noticed that it was larger than it used to be so I asked my gynecologist to look at it during my normal yearly exam.  He said I should see a dermatologist and recommended one.  I called the next day to make an appointment, but the recommended doctor was on vacation.  The receptionist asked who had recommended me and I replied “My gynecologist.”  She said the associate could see me and she was female so I would probably feel more comfortable any way.  I mentioned to Paul later what the receptionist had said and added “Why would she think I would be more comfortable with a woman?”  Paul said, “Think about it, Sharon.  Your gynecologist recommended you.”  I was so naïve in my younger years.

When I arrived, I explained to the dermatologist that I had the mole for as long as I could remember, but that it was larger than it used to be.  She looked at it and said, “I want to remove that; do you have time?”  I said “Today?”  She said “Yes, we really need to get it analyzed.”  So, I agreed and she removed the entire mole in the office and sent it for a biopsy.  I was familiar with Melanoma and moles because I had a sister-in-law who died five years after having a mole removed.  The Melanoma had spread to her brain.  I expressed my concern to the doctor and she said I shouldn’t worry, it was probably a more common, less dangerous form of skin cancer or nothing at all.

A couple of weeks later, I was visiting my mom at her house when I was surprised by a call from the doctor.  She said she had called my house and Paul told her where I was and gave her the number (no cell phones back then).  She said the cancer was basal cell and that she had gotten all of it, but I needed to come back in so she could examine me all over for any other suspicious moles or lesions.  Wasn’t that nice of her to call on a Friday night.  Now remember, she had told me on that day not to worry, it was probably nothing.  When I arrived for my follow-up and checked in, the receptionist said “Dr. *** was so excited when she got the results of the biopsy, she was so worried.”  After a thorough exam, she even used a hair dryer to blow my hair so she could see my scalp, I was pronounced suspicious spot free.

Continue reading “A Hole in My Head”

Life

What are your fingernails telling you?

I noticed tiny ridges on my fingernails and I have been getting a lot of hang nails lately.  I’ve heard before that your fingernails indicate your over all health so I decided to research it.  I turned to the internet, of course.  I found this article and thought it worth sharing (after I corrected some typos).

From Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch & Balch

The nails protect the nerve-rich fingertips and tips of the toes from injury. Nails are a substructure of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and are composed mainly of keratin, a type of protein. The nail bed is the skin on top of which the nails grow. Nails grow from .05 to 1.2 millimeters (approximately 1/500 to 1/20 inch) a week. If a nail is lost, it takes about seven months to grow out fully.

Healthy nail beds are pink, indicating a rich blood supply. Changes or abnormalities in the nails are often the result of nutritional deficiencies or other underlying conditions. The nails can reveal a great deal about the body’s internal health. Nail abnormalities on either the fingers or the toes can indicate an underlying disorder.

The following are some of the changes that nutritional deficiencies can produce in the nails:

A lack of protein, folic acid, and vitamin C causes hang nails. White bands across the nails are also an indication of protein deficiency.

A lack of vitamin A and calcium causes dryness and brittleness.

A deficiency of the B vitamins causes fragility, with horizontal and vertical ridges.

Insufficient intake of vitamin B12 leads to excessive dryness, very rounded and curved nail ends, and darkened nails.

Iron deficiency may result in ‘spoon’ nails (nails that develop a concave shape) and/or vertical ridges.

Zinc deficiency may cause the development of white spots on the nails.

A lack of sufficient ‘friendly’ bacteria (lactobacilli) in the body can result in the growth of fungus under and around nails.

A lack of sufficient hydrochloric acid (HCI) contributes to splitting nails.

DISORDERS THAT SHOW UP IN THE NAILS

Nail changes may signify a number of disorders elsewhere in the body. These changes may indicate illness before any other symptoms do. Seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms are suspected.

BLACK, SPLINTER LIKE BITS UNDER THE NAILS can be a sign of infectious endocarditis, a serious heart infection; other heart disease; or a bleeding disorder.

BLACK BANDS from the cuticle outward to the end of the nail can be an early sign of melanoma.

BRITTLE, SOFT, SHINY NAILS WITHOUT A MOON may indicate an overactive thyroid.

BRITTLE NAILS signify possible iron deficiency, thyroid problems, impaired kidney function, and circulation problems.

CRUMBLY, WHITE NAILS near the cuticle are sometimes an indication of AIDS.

DARK NAILS AND/OR THIN, FLAT, SPOON-SHAPED NAILS are a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency or anemia. Nails can also turn gray or dark if the hands are placed in chemicals such as cleaning supplies (most often bleach) or a substance to which one is allergic.

DEEP BLUE NAIL BEDS show a pulmonary obstructive disorder such as asthma or emphysema.

DOWNWARD-CURVED nail ends may denote heart, liver, or respiratory problems.

FLAT NAILS can denote Raynaud’s disease.

GREENISH NAILS, if not a result of a localized fungal infection, may indicate an internal bacterial infection.

A HALF-WHITE NAIL WITH DARK SPOTS AT THE TIP points to possible kidney disease.

AN ISOLATED DARK-BLUE BAND IN THE NAIL BED, especially in light-skinned people, can be a sign of skin cancer.

LINDSAY’S NAILS (sometimes known as ‘half-and-half’ nails), nails in which half of the top of the nail is white and the other half is pink, may be a sign of chronic kidney disease.

NAIL BEADING (the development of bumps on the surface of the nail) is a sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

NAILS RAISED AT THE BASE WITH SMALL WHITE ENDS, show a respiratory disorder such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. This type of nail may also simply be inherited.

NAILS SEPARATED FROM THE NAIL BED may signify a thyroid disorder (this condition is known as onyholysis) or a local infection.

NAILS THAT BROADEN TOWARD THE TIP AND CURVE DOWNWARD are a sign of lung damage, such as from emphysema or exposure to asbestos.

NAILS THAT CHIP, PEEL, CRACK ,OR BREAK EASILY show a general nutritional deficiency and insufficient hydrochloric acid and protein. Minerals are also needed.

NAILS THAT HAVE PITTING RESEMBLING HAMMERED BRASS indicate a tendency toward partial or total hair loss.

PITTED RED-BROWN SPOTS AND FRAYED SPLIT ENDS indicate psoriasis; vitamin C, folic acid, and protein are needed.

RED SKIN AROUND THE CUTICLES can be indicative of poor metabolism of essential fatty acids or of a connective tissue disorder such as Lupus.

RIDGES can appear in the nails either vertically or horizontally. Vertical ridges indicate poor general health, poor nutrient absorption, and/or iron deficiency; they may also indicate a kidney disorder. Horizontal ridges can occur as a result of severe stress, either psychological or physical, such as from infection and/or disease. A horizontal indention in the nails (Beau’s line) can occur as a result of a heart attack, major illness, or surgery. Ridges running up and down the nails also indicate a tendency to develop arthritis.

SPOONING (upward-curling) OR PITTING NAILS can be caused by disorders such as anemia or problems with iron absorption.

THICK NAILS may indicate that the vascular system is weakening and the blood is not circulating properly. This may also be a sign of thyroid disease.

THICK TOENAILS can be a result of fungal infection.

THINNING NAILS may signal lichen planus, an itchy skin disorder.

TWO WHITE HORIZONTAL BANDS THAT DO NOT MOVE AS THE NAIL GROWS are a sign of hypoalbuminemia, a protein deficiency in the blood.

UNUSUALLY WIDE, SQUARE NAILS can suggest a hormonal disorder.

WHITE LINES show possible heart disease, high fever, or arsenic poisoning.

WHITE LINES ACROSS THE NAIL may indicate a liver disease.

IF THE WHITE MOON AREA OF THE NAIL TURNS RED, it may indicate heart problems; IF IT TURNS SLATE BLUE, then it can indicate either heavy metal poisoning (such as silver poisoning) or lung trouble.

WHITE NAILS indicate possible liver or kidney disorders and/or anemia.

WHITE NAILS with pink near the tips are a sign of cirrhosis.

YELLOW NAILS OR AN ELEVATION OF THE NAIL TIPS can indicate internal disorders long before other symptoms appear. Some of these are problems with the lymphatic system, respiratory disorders, diabetes, and liver disorders.