Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm not smiling

Warning:  This post contains a number of pictures of me.  I'm not in love with myself.  I am on a mission to spread the Gospel of Sunscreen.  This Truth can save you from face hell.  I am clawing my way up, but it has been no fun down here.

I'm not smiling, because I can't. Think: Mrs. Doubtfire.  She can't fully emote because her meringue (uhh, make-up) will come off. 

I wish my carac ointment tasted like pie.  I wish I could open my mouth that wide.  (TWSS)

I am in week 4 of a chemotherapy cream treatment to remove a number of AK's or precancerous cells from my face.  I have had 4 Mohs (2-forehead, 1-scalp, 1-collarbone) surgeries to remove full-on squamous cell carcinomas.  I am writing about this experience to vent a little, communicate perspective I have gained and to encourage regular use of sunscreen.

The experience.  There are many aspects to this.
  • applying a cream that can burn layers off your face onto new fresh raw skin every morning.  (Cuss, anyone?) 
  • watching as my face progress to gross
  • deal with children in public call me "Creepy"
I realize this is temporary means to a healthy end and that people have it much worse and that essentially I will have undergone a chemical peel and will look a decade younger when I am done.  (Don't be jealous.) 

Kim Cattrall, Sex in the City - did you see that episode?
But, In general I have felt like a prisoner of my face for a month.

Here's the rub, pun intended:  I was/am not a sun-worshipper.  I like a healthy, sun-kissed look and had a couple of Cancun sunburns in college.  But I never could sit still long enough to 'work on my tan'.  My tan, however did work on me. 
This morning.

I have used sunscreen everyday now for a number of years.  You can be sure, it is my mantra from now on; most especially with my children.  THE DAMAGE IS REALLY DONE WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG.

Certainly, I haven't been able to stop working, teaching Yoga or running my children (the nanny is in Aruba)  so it's been interesting to say the least.  BTW, I look good in these photos.  It was alot worse, a creepy mess. 

Before a Bikram Class, yesterday.  The lipstick makes me feel better.

And so...  I go to the doctor on Tuesday to see if any yucky spots are left that need surgery.  My skin will heal.  My children and I have forgotten what I used to look like when they let me come to the bus stop.  They like me to stay at the front door for now.  It's very, very temporary and a relatively short span of time.  Not like real burn victims who undergo months and months of painful treatment.  Every time I get called creepy and want to cuss as I apply the medicine I send healing energy to the burn unit 25 miles away where a young boy, a hero who saved his best friend in fire recovers from his burns.

I will be back at the bus stop soon.  Smiling because I can.


Beth (i run like a girl) said...

Ouch! I am so sorry to hear/see this. I can imagine it is as painful as it looks. :(

brg said...

i have been a sunscreen fanatic for over 25 years. My sister is a derm PA and I've heard all the horror stories. I know i look like a dork with my sun protective clothing and white sheen from 3 layers of sunscreen on my face - but she's definitely put the fear in me. hope you heal quickly!

amy said...

No wonder Celeste forgot the eggs. If I were her I might have forgotten to get out of bed. Heal quickly, I hope you never have to do that again:(

Anonymous said...

Thank you so, so much for posting these pictures with your commentary. I searched Google today (8/25/14)for images of Carac treatment cuz I've been worried I'm reacting to the medicine too strongly....I look awful and hurt like your blog, which came up when I clicked on your image, is extremely reassuring and consoling. Two weeks down, two to go....YOWL! OUCH! ARRRGGHH!

Anonymous said...

PS: Thanks for mentioning that these were the "good" pictures, and that you'd looked even worse.... I'm at the "worse" stage. And it was reassuring to the really dark scab area by your eye...I have one in the same location and was worried about it.