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December 5, 2009

Three days ago I had Mohs surgery for a recurrent basal cell carcinoma on my nose. The previous surgery had left a rather noticeable dimple across the center of my nose even though it was a relatively small area removed. This surgeon referred me to a plastic reconstructive surgeon for repair of what he planned to be a generous excisement.

The process is fairly involved with pre-operative testing at St. Luke’s, the surgery itself in a lovely office suite with other patients all sitting around with huge white bandages mostly on their noses. Several cuts are sometimes required to ensure complete removal of the lesion; mine was complete with the first cut.

So then I was left to sleep off the Valium and occupy myself until the next morning when the reconstruction was to be done. We decided to stay in the Hilton across the street from the hospital—it was a lovely suite with a wonderful view overlooking Rice Village. Houston now has a train that runs from the Astrodome area through the Medical Center to Downtown. A nice Spanish lady with a small child in tow helped us figure out how to buy tickets and we rode down to the Museum of Fine Arts.

We toured the Moon exhibit—I was surprised at how many German painters had captured the various cycles of the moon—and the wide variety of solar system models—and the number of paintings and studies commissioned by the Church despite the belief that the earth was the center of the universe. And now that I think about it—isn’t that really true? Each of us is indeed the center of our universe and certainly I was quite conspicuous that day.

Reconstruction was on Thursday the next day; Versed is a wonderful drug and so I don’t remember much about that day except that I left with an even larger bandage on my nose. We watched bits and pieces of the weather announcing with great excitement the snow predicted for the following day. I seem to remember a lot of serial TV programs in which the hero/s always solved the case with remarkable ease and in the space of an hour.

I managed to eat some breakfast and lunch the next day amidst the admiring and quizzical looks of other diners. By now I had a black eye obvious even at a distance. The surgeon removed the dressings; told me that I looked great (I did request no Bozo the Clown or Michael Jackson nose). Instead I now look like Karl Malden with two black eyes and long hair—and a long zig-zag line of stitches down the side of my nose.

I’m not supposed to do much—just rest—and since I can’t fit my glasses on my head well enough to see much of anything beyond a blur, I’ve spent the day editing photos from Hawaii—and taking naps.

My husband has taken photos of me each day—in one I’m clutching a Teddy Bear given to me after my last surgery by some dear friends. I think we’ll put all these photos in my medical marvels album on smugmug—along with my knee surgery pics—and maybe my Schwannoma images.

On Tuesday, the stitches come out—and maybe then it will be a better day.

Subsequent note: The stitches are out and I’ve been back for two rechecks. My nose feels like it is huge—the size and shape of Bozo the clown. The black eyes reappeared after the next surgery—to take out the pins and wire in my knee that had come undone and were poking at most inopportune moments. Glen tells me that my nose looks normal—that people have to get very close to see that there is something strange about it. Still, I find myself turning my head and looking down to avoid looking people directly in the eye. From a distance I keep a wary eye out for people who might want to brush up against my face—about three feet away is a comfortable distance. My knee is still quite tender and people have a tendency to reach over and squeeze it. Our middle son’s two rather large dogs indulge in enthusiastic tail-wagging—at just the level of my knee. It has been an interesting month and I am quite ready for an incredibly boring month of regular work and finishing up some projects.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Connie F. #

    Sylvia…You are leading a too adventurous life…get well soon, speedy recovery actually, and I hope to see you at SAQA in January

    December 30, 2009

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