Tuesday, 13 December 2011
How to be invisible
Take a look at this innocuous looking spot on the nose. Doesn't look much does it? Perhaps you've got one just like it?
Well it might not look much, but this is a skin cancer. If you have something that looks like this, then go to your doctor. Better safe than sorry.
If you're lucky, they may be able to freeze it with liquid nitrogen and get rid of it. If not then they will need to cut it out. Depending on where it is and how big it is, you may need a skin graft. And if you get through all that and you get even luckier, it might not be malignant.
Mrs D had one pretty much where the one is in the above picture. They cut a hole about the size of a 1p piece in her nose and put in a full thickness graft taken from behind her ear to plug the hole. For a week she had a humungous dressing stitched onto her nose. This is known by the nursing staff as a 'bee' because it's black and yellow from a mixture of ointment and dried blood. It was a great relief when it was removed.
The resulting wound is healing, but initially could be accurately described as a bloody mess. We smeared it with greasy antibacterial ointment twice a day for ten days or so and are now slowly backing this off.
How well all this turns out is mainly up to a mixture of luck and the skill of your plastic surgeon. I'd advise you to get the best you can. It's very upsetting. I would hazard a guess that it's even more upsetting for a woman than a man because of the cosmetic implications. It's really not nice at all.
But the most interesting thing about this whole experience is that after hiding away for a couple of weeks, Mrs D plucked up the courage to go out in public and face people she knows. I admire her greatly for this as however we dress it up, it's a large, unsightly open wound right in the middle of her face. It can't have been easy.
But what really upset her was that in a room full of people the majority of whom we are on at least speaking terms with, not one of them could see the wound or had the decency to ask her what had happened or how she was. One woman whom we know very well even did a double take when she saw her, and still the wound was invisible...
...and we both think that's appalling!