Biographical Non-Fiction posted September 22, 2019

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An unsuspecting killer lays in wait.

Get Checked!

by Mary Wakeford

Basil cell cancer is a killer. Take it from me. Two years ago I nearly lost my husband to its clenches.

In his case, denial, stubbornness, and a case of self-managing arrogance nearly cost him his life. Four surgeries later, and two months in-hospital, he is on the rebound, but daily downs a chemotherapy pill at the cost of $14,000.00 a month (Thank God for insurance) for the rest of his life. It comes with its own vices--baldness, muscle cramping, weight loss, nausea.

What follows is my own recent brush with this potentially mass killer--Basil Cell Carcinoma.


Just a reminder to get checked for skin cancer regularly. Mine was the size of a blackhead on the side of my nose and occasionally pin-point bled when picked at. (bleeding is an indicator).

Though my family doctor wasn't concerned two years ago during my physical -- advising to have it checked if it changed in appearance followed by a non-commital shoulder shrug. I had a sense it wasn't right and wish I acted on it then.

Two years later, though no change in size or appearance, I had it checked. Sure enough, basil cell carcinoma-Stage1.

It took four hours and three dips to get clear margins. Then, suppressing fight or flight reflexes sitting still in a chair, my face was carved up in a zig-zag pattern from my inner eye to the bottom of my nose. It took sixty inside stitches and thirty external to close the wound.

I am a new member of my dermatologist's every-six month-get-checked-patient brigade.

I saw the doctor last week and he was pleased. I see him again in January when we will talk about options to fix remaining roughness. The bumps are caused by the internal stitches working their way out. I am supposed to knead the area to help dissolve them. I may even sprout wiley escapees topside. Dr. Pimple has nothing on me.

I keep it plied with Vitamin E mixed with lavender and geranium oils to minimize scarring.

Six weeks later, my schnoz is on the mend. It looks a little wonky, but on a positive note, it's cancer free! The photos show the healing progression. The final is with makeup.

I'm sharing in the hope my journey, not to mention my husband's who was nearly lost to this disease two years ago having tried unsuccessfully to self-manage his for two decades, is to urge anyone on the sidelines to get checked.

Skin cancer is invasive and has the potential to kill you.


I wasn't able to upload the photo progression here, but have on my Facebook page:
Mary Wakeford, Author.

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