Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wear Sunscreen...A Public Service Announcement

This week's Life's Healing Choices series will be postponed in order to bring you a public service announcement from the Layman family. Wear Sunscreen. Period. No Questions. Everyday.

For what seems like as long as I've known Hubby, he has had a mole in the center of his forehead right between his eyebrows. However, in the past several months I had noticed it was changing and even growing quite a bit. I encouraged him to at least have it looked at, so he made a phone call to a dermatologist only to be told that he had to have a referral to even make an appointment. Unfortunately he didn't have a local primary care physician either and it took about 4 months to get an appointment as a new patient. So...in January he saw his new primary care physician who then promptly referred him to a dermatologist.

On February 2nd he went to see Dr. Swann and came out minus the mole. At that time, the dr. immediately thought the mole was probably basal cell skin cancer which would requre more treatment at a later date. The mole was sent off for biopsy and was positively identified as basal cell. A second appointment was scheduled for Friday, February 19th during which Dr. Swann would perform a surgical procedure called Mohs Micrographical Surgery. You can read more about it with the link provided, but based on the biopsy they will remove a layer of skin cells, perform an immediate biopsy to determine if all of the cancer has been removed and then repeat until they are positive that all cancerous cells have been eliminated.

I went with Hubby to his appointment and I'm happy to say that we were out of there 2 hours later. After just one series of the procedure, Hubby walked out with 13 stitches but most importantly cancer free. I won't even begin to act like what we've been through is anywhere close to the cancer issues that face so many people, including our friends & family. However, had we not caught it when we did...the situation could be much worse & much more cosmetically damaging to Hubby's face.
His bandage that he had to wear for the first 48 hours...remember, our busy weekend? Yup, he was out in public the whole time...Love you Hubby!
We've learned a lot in this process...most important that you can never underestimate the importance of suncreen or the damage that sun exposure can cause if you don't protect yourself. Hubby is a huge golfer so most of his sun damage normally comes from being out on the course and failing to reapply his sunscreen during the round. We've both spent time in tanning beds in the past but I can tell you that will NOT be happening anymore. The C word is definitely scary, no matter how small a spot and even if they are able to completely remove it. It's been a huge wake-up call & we'll be taking much better care of our skin in the future.

I also became a hairdresser over the weekend as Hubby wasn't allowed to get his bandage wet during the first 48 hours. So...I remembered back to my childhood and had him lay up on our island with his head over the sink & washed his hair. It was definitely an experience to remember & quite the hilarious sight I'm sure.

Yesterday, Hubby was able to take off his initial bandage and replace it with something a little smaller...just a little. He'll wear that until Friday when his stitches are taken out. With my incredible squeamish stomach, my dear daddy & my sister-in-law (who's a nurse in practice) changed and cleaned his head the first time & thankfully he'll be able to do it the rest of the time on his own.
Contemplating the next step...

If you have a weaker stomach than me...which I can't hardly believe would be possible...you might want to close out now. I've included a picture of his stitched up head. The incision looks so much better than we expected and with proper treatment I think the scar will become much, much less visible in the coming weeks & months.
Right down the middle...at least it maintains the symmetry of his face! ;o)

The moral of the story and the finale of this public service announcement is to wear sunscreen & please, please, please avoid those tanning beds!!! And also, if you have a mole or a spot on your skin that you are concerned about...have it checked out because you just never know! Sure, we still have plans to go to Mexico in May & soak up some sun...but sunscreen will be in our routine much more prominently than it would have been before & we may enjoy the ocean from the lovely shade of a palapa instead of baking ourselves out near the water. Hubby & I would be the first to say that we were naive and young and never dreamt we would have to deal with anything like this so early in life. Thank goodness that God put us with the right doctors to take care of things.
Ladies & Gentlemen of the class of '99...If I could
offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term
benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my
advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

~ Baz Luhrmann


Jennifer said...

Wow, what an ordeal! I'm glad he's okay - and your'e so right about sunscreen too. My Father in law has had a lot of skin issues lately and it's definitely encouraging me to be more careful for when I'm out in the sun. And in San ANtonio, there is usually plenty of sun.

Glad all is well and your hubby is on the mend!

Stephanie Hartman said...

AW your poor hubby well at least you guys caught it when you did..

Alissa said...

Wow that's scary. I know it's so hard to get in to see any doctor it's super furstrating. I'm glad you guys caught it and did something about it before it could get any worse.

Heather said...

Bless his heart, I hope everything is ok. So glad you noticed it when you did and convinced him to call about it. I don't do tanning beds anymore and use sunscreen.