Now that I’ve gotten the all clear from my doctor, I feel like I can unload what’s been occupying my every thought, every hour, every minute, every second of every day: I had some cancer scooped out of my scalp.
Basically, I had a half dollar-sized birthmark on my scalp that went haywire and required a chemosurgery called Mohs Technique. Sometimes it’s not a good thing, the Internet, because I spent the week preparing for surgery doing Google image searches of Mohs and generally freaking myself out. Even though the survival rate of Mohs is quite high (upper 90s percentile a/k/a seriously-ridiculous-to-worry level), I had planned a very elaborate funeral and Scott & Brian called dibs on my dog Paquita.
After the surgery, I sent Mom and a few close friends a wrap-up which I’ll share part of here:
Subject: De Pain, Boss! De Pain!
So that sucked, but thank God it’s done. Despite some minor downsides, I think it’s all good.
It went from “Do you have Tylenol at home?” to “Have you ever taken Tylenol with Codeine?” to “Are you allergic to Percocet and Oxycontin and Tramadol?”
I was awake for the whole thing and, um, yeah, it’s surreal to hear your scalp getting cut away with scissors and to know it’s not going well. Close your eyes and imagine the sound of chewing a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch except the crunching, tearing sound isn’t cereal, it’s your head. Still hungry? Neither was I.
To put my Humpty Dumpty scalp back together they called in Oliver, a Spanish fellow who thinks Lil Rounds is going to win this season American Idol*, to push and pull and grunt and hold my scalp in place while they clamped it shut. WTF? How far we’ve come with medicine but it takes some hairy man arms to pull me back together. He did everything except use his feet to leverage more strength. Barbaric / Awesome.
The major downside is that due to the extra scooping and cutting they had to do, an extra week was tacked on before the stitches can come out. I am only allowed to walk two blocks at a time but, since I’m on the 4th floor of a walk up they said that’s definitely out. So, thank heavens for DVRs, DVDs and the Internet. But Facebook + Wordscraper + Percocet + Tramadol + Oxycontin = zero writing on my book.
Late Thursday, I learned that I’m all clear. No further surgery, chemo or radiation required. So now, I just have to get the stitches out and grow my hair back. For the non-squeamish, here’s a link to a photo of the scar in the making. It’s not a small area as you can see and two and half weeks after the surgery, my hair is only 1/8 of an inch long. I haven’t gotten a haircut in months and my hair is scraggly and patchy and awful. I’ll be glad to see my hairstylist Daniel again and have him whip up some magic around the gash.
Christian’s DVD tour will be starting soon and I was looking forward to traveling with him to Texas to see old friends — some for the first time in 20 years. And while I would rather not sport a short ‘do, it’s better than being bald or, you know, dead. So, instead, I’ll see y’all soon wearing a snappy new spring beret and pretending I’m your French cousin.
*Clearly Oliver is there for his braun not brain. Lil Rounds has as much of a chance of winning American Idol as I do starring in a shampoo commercial. Ain’t happening.
**No sooner did I praise him before he got on the radio and said my wound looked like a second vagina. Bloody gash, indeed!