Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surgery on my face - A new experience

I sit here looking through one eye of my bifocals trying to type.  In August I bloged that I had to have a mole removed from my nose by a special procedure. 
Well the day has passed and I've had the surgery.  It was a long procedure 7 hours, give or take a bit, but was broken up into sections.  For the first hour it was mostly an assessment by the team and a q&A about all sorts of stuff, like medications, that could affect the outcome and talking pulse oxygen and blood pressure.  Then it was waiting time.
With this type of surgery you do a lot of waiting and if you are the "ants in the pants" type you will go crazy.   After another 45 minutes I was called in to the operating room and huge amounts of anesthetic was injected into my face.  I was literally numb all over.  They drew some lines on my face with a felt marker and then it was time to start the cutting procedure.  Having never gone through anything like this I didn't know what to expect.  There was no pain involved at all but it felt like they were pulling chunks out of my skin, a very strange sensation.  You could feel the scalpel cutting and the forceps pulling and when they cauterized the bleeding it made the end of mu nose itchy.  Then back to waiting while the new pieces of flesh were sent to the lab for analysis.
45 minutes later the results were in and it was back to the operating room.  The nurse was holding a piece of paper with a big map of my face.  In the center was this big red circle.  That area was still cancerous.   The whole area BTW.   This started out with a mole that was smaller than the end of your little finger now it as a hole about the side of your index finger and still cancerous.  The temporary patch was removed and I was numbed up again.  The surgeon started to cut away for another hour.  This time the hole was the size of your thumb if you look at it from the fingerprint side.  Then back to waiting.
Like clockwork after 45 minutes the nurse arrived and informed me that they had cut out all the cancer and that they would stitch me up in about 5 minutes.   In I went.  More anesthetic, and way more cutting.  She cut for the better part of an hour, more about her later.  The head plastic surgeon came in and they had a discussion about skin flaps and where to put the stitches and to cut a bit more, "here and here".   Then it was stitch up time, she stitched and stitched and stitched.  I was thinking of asking her if she would stitch the hem of my jeans at one point.  That took another hour and a half.
At one point she told me I was going to look like I'd been in a fight and I told her that I'd look just like one of my clients.  (A tidbit for all those who don't know what I do in Canada to pass my time - I have an interest in a gym and do personal training)  We got talking about the UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championships and Mixed Martial Arts. Seems she's a big MMA fan.  Strange, I wouldn't have guessed that in a million years.  She's very professional, about 6 foot, blond, incredibly pretty and has a body like a super model with very long legs.  This young woman with a blood thirst patched up people all day it was just surrealistic.
I was all done and the nurse patched me up with this huge compression bandage, and I was on my way.  I was glad I brought a huge bottle of  Tylenol for when the freezing wore off. 
The surprising thing is that it really didn't hurt much at all.  I took the Tylenol just in case but I really don't think I needed it at all.
My Right eye did swell shut and I iced it continuously for the entire evening.  The next morning I could just see out of it.  Today it's a bit better and my wife (It's nice to have a health care professional in the family)  took off the old dressing and put on a less bulky one.  It's feeling much better now.
The prognosis, Cancer free maybe 98%, The swelling should go down in a few days, only one black eye although they predicted two, and I can finally go for a new eyeglass prescription in a month or so.
Now for some pictures.  This one is from 2 hours after the surgery, taken by my 5 year old.
This one is from 48 hours after the surgery when the compression bandage was removed.  Somewhere in the 40 - 50 stitch range.
Next week I have to go to have them all removed.  Rats!!!!!!


I've had my stitches removed and everything is healing well.  Still swollen but the stitch line down the side of my nose is almost invisible although a bit reddish.

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