Saturday, December 28, 2013

Third Year, Week Forty - Photo Shoot.....

The doctor opened the door, catching my mom in profile view.  He stopped, turned around, and told his nurse, "Bring me my camera, please!" 

Not an auspicious start to an office visit with a plastic surgeon.

My mom moved in with us in mid-May.  I can't recall if the lesion on her face was already there, or if it started a month or two later.  It initially looked like a cross between a wart and a skin tag.  Over time it gained a cystic appearance and continued to grow.  It was clear to me that it was going to need to be removed, but then we had the broken pacemaker wire, and Dad and Aunt Squirrely came to visit, and things were generally crazy.  During that October visit my brother came by, noticed it and expressed concern.  It was about half an inch in size at that point.  I don't recall that he noticed it two months ago  during beach week in its earlier incarnation.

The lesion is located on her cheekbone, slightly below eye level and towards the ear.  In the past 3 weeks it has begun to interfere with the position of her oxygen tubing, which must no go uncomfortably either above or below it on its way from her nose to her ear.  When she went in to have her pacemaker wire changed, the cardiologist looked at it, then at me, and said, "What the HECK is THAT?"  I dunno, dude, and we took the same classes, right?

The doctor took measurements:  3 cm x 3 cm x 2.5 cm.  More than an inch wide/high/tall.  It's like she's trying to grow a second head.

The plan:  Remove it on January 14th, local anaesthesia with sedation, and repair it with a skin graft.

The diagnosis (pending actual biopsy report):  Squamous cell carcinoma, an ugly but not ordinarily life-threatening form of skin cancer.  It's going to leave a fairly good sized scar, but it isn't near any of the facial motor nerves, so we shouldn't see any facial paralysis. 

In the meantime, the lesion has taken up residence in the good doctor's photo collection in the "holy crap" section.


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